Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: January 15-21, 2024

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: January 15-21, 2024

Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, January 15-21, 2024, including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

What’s Happening in Space Policy: January 21-27, 2024

January 21, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of January 21-27, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

Astrobotic “Emboldened” Despite Peregrine Failure

January 19, 2024. Astrobotic CEO John Thornton today acknowledged disappointment that the Peregrine lunar lander did not achieve its goal of landing on the Moon, but was upbeat about how they responded to the situation and what it means for the future. Later this year the company is scheduled to land a very expensive NASA payload on the Moon, the VIPER rover, and Thorton is confident that mission will succeed.

Japan’s SLIM Successfully Lands on Moon, But Will Have Limited Lifetime

January 19, 2024. Japan became the fifth country to successfully soft land on the Moon today. The Small Lander for Investigating Moon, SLIM, touched down as scheduled, but its solar cells are not delivering power. That means the lander’s useful lifetime is limited to how long the battery lasts. Nonetheless it is transmitting data back to Earth as are two tiny probes that were ejected just before landing.

Axiom’s Third Private Astronaut Flight Up and Away

January 18, 2024. Axiom Space’s third private astronaut flight is underway with the first all-European space crew. Astronauts from the Italian, Turkish and Swedish Air Forces are on their way to the International Space Station with Axiom’s commander, a dual citizen of Spain and the United States. After docking on Saturday, they will spend 14 days aboard the ISS conducting experiments and enjoying the experience.

Shutdown Averted for a Few More Weeks

January 18, 2024.  With no drama, the Senate and House passed another Continuing Resolution this afternoon to keep the government operating for a few more weeks. For the third time since September, House Republican leadership was able to get a CR passed despite strong opposition from the ultra-conservative wing of their party. Without the bill, agencies funded by four of the 12 regular appropriations bills would have had to close down operations at midnight tomorrow.

Astrobotic’s Peregrine Soon to Meet Its End

January 18, 2024. The first U.S. lunar lander since the Apollo era is about to meet its end. Astrobotic’s Peregrine suffered a mission-ending propulsion failure soon after launch earlier this month. Its trajectory brought it back towards Earth and Astrobotic was able to steer it enough to direct it to reenter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up this afternoon. Peregrine is just the latest of several small, comparatively inexpensive lunar probes to fail, but that has not deterred others from trying. Japan’s next attempt is tomorrow and several U.S. private sector probes are queueing up.

Artemis Gets Strong Support from House Committee Members, But Not Mike Griffin

January 17, 2024.  Members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee expressed strong support for NASA’s Artemis program today. Citing the need for U.S. leadership in space, especially to get U.S. astronauts back on the Moon before China does, Republican and Democratic members left no doubt about their enthusiasm for Artemis. Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, one of the witnesses, was the only voice for abandoning Artemis on the basis that a complete do-over is required if the United States does, indeed, want to stay ahead of China.

Musk Explains Starship Failure, Forecasts Humans on Mars in Eight Years

January 16, 2024.  SpaceX’s Elon Musk told company employees on Friday that the achievements they made last year are leading to his goal of establishing human settlements on Mars. He forecasts the first people will land there eight years from now. Well known for his overly optimistic timelines, Musk’s comments came just days after NASA slipped the date for U.S. astronauts to return to the Moon’s surface by a year in part because of delays in SpaceX’s development of the Human Landing System needed to take them down and back.

NASA Names Vogel New Head of Space Technology

January 16, 2024.  NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has chosen Kurt Vogel to be the new head of the Space Technology Mission Directorate. Vogel is relatively new to NASA, but had a long career in the Air Force and national security space before joining the agency in 2021. He takes over from Jim Reuter who retired last year.

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: January 8-14, 2024

January 15, 2024. Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, January 8-14, 2024, including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

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