Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: March 18-24, 2024

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: March 18-24, 2024

Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, March 18-24, 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 24-30, 2024

March 24, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 24-30, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess except for pro forma sessions.

Biden Signs Final FY2024 Appropriations Package

March 23, 2024.  Six months into FY2024, Congress finally finished work on FY2024 appropriations early this morning.  President Biden quickly signed the bill into law. With the FY2025 request already pending before Congress, House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger suddenly announced she is stepping down from that role. She is retiring at the end of this Congress and wants her successor named now to take the bills all the way to their conclusion, which likely will be after her departure.

Soyuz MS-25 Lifts Off on Second Try

March 23, 2024. Russia’s Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft lifted off on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome this morning, two days after the first attempt aborted at T-20 seconds. The delay means the three crew members — a Russian, an American and a spaceflight participant from Belarus — need to take a different route to the International Space Station that will last two days instead of three hours. They will arrive on Monday morning.

Starliner Crew Test Flight Now Targeted for May 1

March 22, 2024. NASA and Boeing officials said today they are targeting May 1 for the launch of the Crew Flight Test of Boeing’s Starliner commercial crew spacecraft. If successful, the long-awaited flight could usher in an era where NASA has more than one domestic option to ferry crews to and from the International Space Station, what it calls “dissimilar redundancy.”

Mars Sample Return Dominates House Hearing on NASA Science

March 21, 2024. The fate of NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission dominated today’s hearing before a House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee on NASA’s science program. While committee members were supportive of the effort to bring samples of Mars back to Earth, they also were cautious about ensuring the program does not experience the huge overruns and schedule delays of past programs like the James Webb Space Telescope.

Space Force Gets Boost in Final FY2024 Appropriations, Though Less Than Requested

March 21, 2024. Congress and the White House have finally agreed on funding for the last set of FY2024 appropriations bills, which includes DOD. The U.S. Space Force did not get all of the almost $4 billion increase requested for FY2024, but fared pretty well all things considered. Congress is now racing against the clock to pass the “minibus” of six bills before midnight tomorrow when the Continuing Resolution expires.

Soyuz MS-25 Crew Launch Aborts Seconds Before Liftoff

March 21, 2024. Russia’s launch of a three-person crew to the International Space Station aborted 20 seconds before liftoff this morning. While last-minute launch aborts are not uncommon with U.S. rockets, they are extremely rare with Russia’s systems. The three crew members —  a Russian, an American, and a Belarussian spaceflight participant — are safe and Roscosmos is assessing when to try again. The next opportunity is Saturday, March 23, at 8:36 am ET.

China Launches Second Lunar Communications Relay Satellite

March 19, 2024. China launched a second satellite today that will orbit the Moon to enable communications with lunar landers on the farside, which always points away from Earth. Queqiao-2, or Magpie Bridge-2, will replace the existing Queqiao-1 and serve as a relay for China’s current farside lander, Chang’e-4, and at least three more planned over the next five years.

Apollo Astronaut Lt. Gen. Tom Stafford Passes Away

March 18, 2024. One of the most renowned astronauts of the Apollo era, Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford (USAF), died today at 93. Stafford made four spaceflights, but is probably best remembered for his last — the internationally groundbreaking Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Stafford remained involved in the space program long after his retirement from NASA and the Air Force, playing key roles in President George H. W. Bush’s Moon-to-Mars effort and continuing to serve as a vital link between the U.S. and Russian programs.

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

March 18, 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.

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