Space Policy Events for the Week of July 8-12, 2013

Space Policy Events for the Week of July 8-12, 2013

The following space policy-related events may be of interest in the week ahead.  The House and Senate both are in session this week.

During the Week

Near Earth Objects (NEOs) — particularly asteroids — are a major topic of debate in Washington space policy circles this week.  From the Secure World Foundation/American Association for the Advancement of Science (SWF/AAAS) panel discussion on Monday, to the day-long Target NEO 2 Workshop on Tuesday, to the markup of the NASA authorization and appropriations bills on Wednesday, to the two-day SBAG meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, what to do about asteroids will be on many minds.   Part of the discussion concerns searching for NEOs either for scientific study or to “find them before they find us” planetary defense scenarios, while another is whether to approve the Obama Administration’s latest human spaceflight goal — ARM (the Asteroid Retrieval Mission or Asteroid Return Mission or Asteroid Redirection Mission).  The FY2014 budget request for NASA includes $105 million to augment NASA’s NEO searches ($20 million in addition to an existing $20 million), develop technology to send a robotic probe to capture an asteroid ($45 million) and nudge it into lunar orbit, and perform studies ($40 million) on how astronauts could use the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System to visit that asteroid and return a sample.

ARM is a tiny part of NASA’s overall FY2014 budget request of $17.715 billion.   How much the agency will get for FY2014 is expected to be highly controversial in the House authorization and appropriation bill markups by the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology (SS&T) Committee, and the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, respectively.  The CJS subcommittee also will be marking up NOAA’s FY2014 budget, which is in the same bill as NASA.  The House committees are working under budget numbers in the House Budget Resolution that passed in March that generally protect defense spending by taking larger cuts from non-defense spending, like NASA and NOAA.  The draft House NASA authorization bill would give the agency $16.865 billion for FY2014 and FY2015, a significant cut from the request that would affect many NASA programs.  The draft House bill particularly singles out NASA’s earth science program for cuts.

Meanwhile, another House SS&T subcommittee will markup up the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act on Tuesday.  It is broadly focused on weather forecasting at NOAA, not specifically weather satellites, although it does include language that clarifies what the government can do in terms of commercial data buys and hosted payloads.

Monday, July 8

Tuesday, July 9

Wednesday, July 10

Wednesday-Thursday, July 10-11

Friday, July 12


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