What’s Happening in Space Policy April 1-6, 2018 — UPDATED

What’s Happening in Space Policy April 1-6, 2018 — UPDATED

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of April 1-6, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are on spring break (except for pro forma sessions) and will return the week of April 9.

During the Week

It all starts today, Sunday, with two pre-launch briefings for the SpaceX CRS-14 (SpX-14) cargo mission to the International Space Station.  They are at 2:30 (Science) and 4:00 (Mission Status) EDT and available on the NASA Live website.

Today also may be the day that China’s Tiangong-1 space station reenters. [UPDATE:  Tiangong-1 did indeed reenter Sunday.]

Today is a fast start to a week with a number of other interesting events.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the launch SpX-14 at 4:30 pm EDT, with a post-launch press conference at 6:30 pm ET.  ISS arrival is expected two days later.

On Tuesday, NOAA’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) meets all day in Silver Spring, MD.  The committee provides outside advice to NOAA’s commercial remote sensing satellite regulatory office.  The agenda is not yet available, but this could be a rather interesting meeting.  First, there may be an update on steps to move this function to the office of the Secretary of Commerce as recommended by the National Space Council and embraced by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.  Commerce will be gaining substantial regulatory authority over a wide range of commercial space activities, not just remote sensing satellites.  Second, it came as a surprise to many that SpaceX was required by NOAA to discontinue the live broadcast of imagery from its Iridium Next launch last week from Vandenberg when the second stage ignited because it needed a license to image Earth.  SpaceX has routinely shown images from its rockets all the way to orbit so the question is what was different this time.  SpaceX and NOAA each have issued statements, but the mystery of why this launch was different remains.  Perhaps some clarity will be offered at the ACCRES meeting.

The Space 2.0 workshop and summit will take place in San Jose, CA Tuesday-Thursday.  The workshop primarily seems to be a “how to” for new entrants on international and domestic regulation and investment.  The summit offers a potpourri of sessions on everything from satellite communications to commercial benefits from lunar and Mars missions.

Also Tuesday-Thursday, NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) has a face-to-face meeting in Arlington, VA.  The meeting will be available remotely via Adobe Connect.  NASA is getting ready to launch its next robotic Mars mission, InSight, on May 5 and Mars 2020 will launch in, well, 2020, but the question is what comes after that.

Washington Post reporter Chris Davenport begins a book tour on Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International  Studies (CSIS) here in D.C. for his new book “The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the Question to Colonize the Cosmos.”

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning are shown below.  Check back throughout the week for others we learn about later and add to our Calendar.

Sunday, April 1

Monday, April 2

  • SpaceX CRS-14 (SpX-14) launch, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL (webcast)
    • Launch, 4:30 pm ET (NASA TV coverage begins 4:00 pm ET)
    • Post-launch press conference 6:30 pm ET

Tuesday, April 3

Tuesday-Thursday, April 3-5

Wednesday, April 4

Thursday-Friday, April 5-6

Thursday-Saturday, April 5-7

Update:  This article was updated after Tiangong-1 reentered, deleting several paragraphs about how to keep track of it that no longer are relevant.

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