What's Happening in Space Policy April 11-15, 2016

What's Happening in Space Policy April 11-15, 2016

Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of April 11-15, 2016 and any insight we can offer about them.   The House and Senate both are in session this week.

During the Week

The Appropriations Committees on both sides of Capitol Hill will begin marking up the FY2017 appropriations bills this week and adopting the “302(b)” allocations that dictate how much money each of the 12 subcommittees can spend.  Usually that step comes after the House and Senate have passed Budget Resolutions to set the overall amount of money Congress can spend in a given year, but no Budget Resolutions have passed yet and it is not clear that any will.  Congress has ways around the Budget Resolution process (this wouldn’t be the first year that Congress could not pass one) and since the budget deal worked out last fall between Congress and the White House covers FY2017, the total spending figures exist already.  Tea Party Republicans do not like them, though, and want a new deal to reduce spending for non-defense programs, which is complicating House action on a Budget Resolution.  Time is marching on, however, and the appropriations committees need to act so they are going to get the markups underway.   Those scheduled for this week do NOT include Commerce-Justice-Science (which includes NASA and NOAA) or the main Defense Appropriations bill, although both will mark up the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill.  (The other bills scheduled for markup at subcommittee or full committee level this week are Energy-Water in both the House and Senate, and the Agriculture bill in the House.)

TOTALLY unrelated to space policy, but perhaps of interest to our readers who are U2 fans, Bono is scheduled to testify to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations on Tuesday at 2:00 pm ET.   The topic is “causes and consequences of violent extremism and the role of foreign assistance.”

Most of the space policy action this week will be in Colorado Springs, CO at the Space Foundation’s Space Symposium.  There are many interesting sessions at the conference itself, including the Space Agencies Leaders panel Tuesday morning and Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s talk just afterwards where he will release his draft American Space Renaissance Act.  Side events also will be of interest, starting tomorrow (Monday) afternoon when Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance will announce a new partnership at 4:00 pm Mountain Time (6:00 pm Eastern).  That press conference will be webcast.  (There is no indication that any sessions of the conference itself will be webcast.)

If you can’t get to Colorado, ASCE is having an interesting conference in Orlando this week on engineering in extreme environments, including space.  A pre-conference 8-hour short course on “Space Mining and Planetary Surface Construction” kicks that conference off tomorrow.

And, of course, Tuesday, April 12, is the 55th anniversary of the launch of the first man in space — the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin.  “Yuri’s Night” events are scheduled around the world to celebrate his April 12, 1961 historic achievement of orbiting the Earth one time.  (Alan Shepard was the first American to reach space, which he did three weeks later on May 5, 1961, but his was a suborbital, not orbital, flight.  The first American to orbit Earth was John Glenn on February 20, 1962.)

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

Monday, April 11

Monday-Thursday, April 11-14

Monday-Friday, April 11-15

Tuesday, April 12

Wednesday, April 13

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