Today’s Tidbits: March 4, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: March 4, 2018

Here are our tidbits for March 4, 2018:  Reps. Rogers and Cooper still fighting for Space Corps; JAXA-ESA and Russia-China space cooperation agreements signed at ISEF-2.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Rep. Rogers and Cooper Still Fighting for Space Corps

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), remain united in their goal of establishing a Space Corps within the Air Force.   Their attempt to make that part of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) cleared the House, but the Senate did not agree.  The compromise was a study by an independent federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) on the best way to proceed.  The study is due to Congress by December 2018.

(L-R): Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL); Todd Harrison, CSIS. Screengrab from CSIS seminar February 28, 2018.

At Wednesday’s (February 28) CSIS seminar on the FY2019 budget request for military space programs, they made clear that a Space Corps is still their plan.  Rogers said he envisions it happening in three-five years in order to avoid being “disruptive.”  Cooper noted that “we fought and won World War II in five years.” He insisted that the timing “should not be determined by our convenience, but by what’s necessary. … Seldom has a great nation been so vulnerable.”

Rogers did not blame the Senate for the outcome in this year’s NDAA.  Two years ago he and Cooper did not realize just how bad the situation was and the Senate needs time to catch up, he said.  He is confident ultimately they will agree.  “Many people” in the Pentagon already do, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Cooper added.

The video of the CSIS seminar is posted on the CSIS website [].  Other speakers included two additional members of Congress (Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO, and Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, the co-chairs of the congressional Space Power Caucus) and experts from CSIS (Todd Harrison and Tom Karako), Steve Jacques & Associates (Mike Tierney), MITRE (Bill LaPlante), and the Aerospace Corporation (Jamie Morin).

We live-tweeted the entire seminar.  Check out our tweets @SpcPlcyOnline for a quick summary of what transpired.  It was an excellent meeting.

Space Cooperation Agreements Signed at ISEF2

Japan hosted the second International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF-2) yesterday (March 3).  We haven’t seen anything from the U.S. State Department or NASA yet, but press releases were issued jointly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), and jointly by Russia and China, expressing interest in cooperative activities, particularly with regard to lunar exploration.

ESA DG Jan Woerner (left) and JAXA President Naoki Okumura (right) at the International Space Exploration Forum 2 (ISEF-2), Tokyo, Japan, March 2018. Credit: JAXA website.

The press release issued by the President of JAXA, Naoki Okumura, and ESA’s Director General, Jan Woerner, recognized the “significance of future sustainable lunar exploration” and signaled support for the mission scenario laid out in the most recent Global Exploration Roadmap (GER) from the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG).  ISECG is a composed of 14 countries that have been meeting periodically for many years to discuss future human spaceflight cooperation.  It issued the third iteration of the GER in January 2018.

Okumura and Woerner also supported the cooperative study of a technology demonstration mission for future lunar exploration that is underway among JAXA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, and pledged to continue cooperation on Earth science missions and their joint BepiColombo mission to Mercury.  Read more at: []

Russia’s State Corporation Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) also jointly released a statement that referenced a November 2017 agreement the two sides signed on space cooperation for the years 2018-2022.  Among the areas where they plan to cooperate are Russia’s launch of the robotic Luna-Resurs 1 (Luna 26) spacecraft in 2022, and a Chinese mission to land a robotic probe in the region of the Moon’s south pole in 2023. Click the link in the tweet below to read the full press release.

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