Rep. Horn to Make Debut as Space Subcommitee Chair at Commercial Space Conference

Rep. Horn to Make Debut as Space Subcommitee Chair at Commercial Space Conference

Newly-elected Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) will speak at next week’s Commercial Space Transportation conference (CST2019) in Washington, D.C., her first appearance at a space conference since her appointment as chair of the Space and Aeronautics subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.  A former Space Foundation official, she is well acquainted with the issues.

The conference is fortuitously timed between the record 35-day shutdown that affected the Department of Transportation (DOT) and its Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) and the possibility of another shutdown on February 15.  AST and other government employees should be able to participate.

AST originated the commercial space transportation conference 22 years ago, but the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is now the host (the two were co-hosts last year).   CSF is an advocacy group for the commercial spaceflight industry.

Horn was Director of Communications and Manager, Government Affairs for the Space Foundation, another space advocacy group based in Colorado, from 2005-2008.

Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma). Credit: campaign website.

After the announcement that she will chair the House SS&T Space and Aeronautics subcommittee, she said:  “The influential role the aerospace industry maintains in Oklahoma, coupled with my professional background in the space industry, positions me to be a positive and impactful voice for our state on the important issues of space and aeronautics.”   She also is a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), assigned to the Strategic Forces subcommittee, which oversees many DOD space programs, and the Readiness Subcommittee.

Horn represents the 5th District of Oklahoma, which includes Oklahoma City, and is the only woman and the only Democrat in the Oklahoma congressional delegation.  She is scheduled to speak at CST2019 on Wednesday at 10:15 am ET.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is also on the conference agenda on Wednesday.  A Republican, he represented the 1st District of Oklahoma in Congress before becoming the head of NASA and, like Horn, served on House SS&T and HASC.  Though they are from different parties, they may have shared interests in the future of space activities. [Update Feb. 7:  NASA tells us that Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard will substitute for Bridenstine at this conference.]

Most of the CST2019 speakers are from the commercial space industry rather than government, however.  Included is a panel discussion on airspace integration, the topic that doomed House passage of last year’s Space Frontier Act.  The incoming chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), circulated a letter urging a no vote on the legislation because, in his words, it compromised the safety of U.S. airspace, did not ensure all airspace users were at the decision-making table, created the risk of significant disruption to commercial aviation, and reduced transparency in important federal decision-making.

Moderating the “Airspace Integration in the Next Decade” panel at CST2019 is Lori Garver. She was NASA Deputy Administrator from 2009-2013 and then General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association until the end of last year.  Joining her on the panel are representatives of Space Florida, the National Business Aviation Association, and SpaceX, all of whom will discuss what capabilities the aviation and launch industries want to see in airspace integration over the next decade.

CSF will also present the inaugural “Commercial Space Leadership” awards, one of which goes to Bridenstine for his leadership as a policymaker.  Other recipients are Steven Collicott for the Patti Grace Smith STEM Award; Rachel Crane for the Excellence in Commercial Space Journalism Award; SpaceX for the Commercial Space Pioneer Award; and the late Paul Allen for the Commercial Space Business & Finance Award.


This article has been updated.

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