Today’s Tidbits: March 22, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: March 22, 2018

Here are our tidbits for March 22, 2018:  House committee approves two space bills; Soyuz MS-08 crew on track to dock with ISS tomorrow; Cindy Hyde-Smith to become 23rd female Senator in 115th Congress.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

House SS&T Committee Approves Two Space Bills

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee approved two space bills without dissent this morning.  The markup was postponed by one day because the federal government was closed yesterday due to a snowstorm.

H.R. 5345 is the American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama), it designates NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to provide leadership for U.S. rocket propulsion and the U.S. industrial base.

H.R. 5346 is the Commercial Space Support Vehicle Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Florida), it allows the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation to issue licenses and experimental permits for space support vehicles such as airplanes, balloons, and the aircraft portion of hybrid space launch vehicles (such as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo).  In a statement, Posey explained that “Companies would like to utilize space support vehicles to train crews and spaceflight participants by exposing them to the physiological effects encountered in spaceflight or conduct research in reduced gravity environments” and this legislation will facilitate that.

Both bills were adopted by voice vote with no opposition.

Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the two bills “help maintain America’s standing as the world leader in space exploration by supporting NASA and the growing commercial space sector.”

Soyuz MS-08 Crew On Track To Dock With ISS Tomorrow

Three new International Space Station (ISS) crew members were successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome yesterday at 1:44 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) in their Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft.  Ricky Arnold (NASA), Drew Feustel (NASA), and Oleg Artemyev (Roscosmos) are taking the two-day (rather than six-hour) route to the ISS and will dock tomorrow, March 23, at 3:41 pm EDT.  NASA will provide live coverage on NASA TV.

Cindy Hyde-Smith to Become Mississippi’s First Female Senator

Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture & Commerce. Credit: Commission website.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to succeed Sen. Thad Cochran, who is retiring on April 1 due to ill health.  She is currently the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.

Hyde-Smith will be Mississippi’s first female U.S. Senator and, in fact, the first woman to represent Mississippi in either the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives.

When she is sworn in, she will become the 23rd woman Senator serving in the 115th Congress.

She will have to compete in a November 6 election to keep the job for the rest of Cochran’s term, which runs until 2020.  Mississippi’s other Senator, Roger Wicker (R), also is up for reelection this year so both Senate seats will be contested.  Under Mississippi’s election rules, if no one wins a majority, the top two vote getters in  each race, regardless of party, will compete in a runoff election three weeks later.

Mississippi is home to NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

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