Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: March 11-17, 2024

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: March 11-17, 2024

Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, March 11-17, 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 March 17-23, 2024

March 17, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 17-23, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

SpaceX Scores Many Successes on Third Starship Test Flight

March 14, 2024.  SpaceX is still collecting and analyzing data from the third Starship test flight, but it is clear it scored many successes. They may have lost Starship over the Indian Ocean, but the vehicle made it almost three quarters of the way around the world. The Super Heavy first stage almost made it to a soft splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico and various tests were conducted as Starship flew through the atmosphere including a propellant transfer and opening and closing the payload door. For most of the ride, SpaceX broadcast spectacular images of Starship in flight that were sent back through ground stations as well as satellites, including Starlink.

Fox Again Urges NASA Science Community To Stick Together

March 13, 2024. Nicky Fox, the head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, again urged the NASA science community to stick together in these tough budget times and not split into factions fighting each other. After years of steadily increasing budgets and projections maintaining that growth rate, SMD is suddenly facing a future with about $1 billion less each year. While it still will have $7.5 billion or more, tough choices will have to be made about projects still in the planning stages like Mars Sample Return.

Space Force Budget Could Drop For First Time in FY2025

March 13, 2024. President Biden’s FY2025 request for the U.S. Space Force is $29.4 billion, $600 million less than what he asked for in FY2024. Congress is still working on the FY2024 request. The Space Force and the rest of DOD are operating under a Continuing Resolution that expires on March 22. If the requested levels for FY2024 and 2025 are approved, the Space Force will suffer a two percent loss, the first reduction since it was created in 2020.

FAA Approves Third Starship Test Flight for Thursday

March 13, 2024. The FAA issued a launch license today for SpaceX to conduct the third Orbital Flight Test (OFT-3) of their Starship rocket tomorrow, March 14. The date was announced last week pending regulatory approval and that is what came today. This is SpaceX’s third Starship test in less than a year and will take a different flight path than the first two — both of which failed — to allow additional in-flight tests.

Crew-7 Splashes Down

March 12, 2024. Four international astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico early this morning completing a six month mission to the International Space Station. Crew-7 consists of astronauts from NASA, ESA, JAXA and Roscosmos, the first time for a NASA mission where all four crew members hail from different countries.

NASA’s FY2025 Budget Request Stuck at FY2023 Level

March 11, 2024. President Biden’s request for NASA in FY2025 is far short of the increases he has asked for in the past, reflecting the realities of the budget caps in last year’s Fiscal Responsibility Act. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson remained upbeat today, however, stressing that those caps are only for two years, FY2024 and FY2025. He is looking forward to FY2026 and beyond. For now, however, the FY2025 request is $25.384 billion, the same as FY2023 and two percent more than the FY2024 appropriation.

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: March 4-March 10, 2024

March 11, 2024. Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, March 4-10, 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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