What's Happening in Space Policy April 26-May 2, 2015

What's Happening in Space Policy April 26-May 2, 2015

This week’s space policy related events begin today (Sunday) with many more coming up for the week of April 26-May 2, 2015. The House and Senate are in session.

During the Week

It’s another busy week in the space policy business that begins today and runs all the way through Saturday.

Tonight (Sunday), the CBS 60 Minutes program will air a segment on Air Force Space Command and threats posed to U.S. satellites.  In a preview on the CBS website, Gen. Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, is asked if we will defend our satellites by force if necessary and he replies “That’s why we have a military.  I’m not NASA.”

Hyten will have a different kind of appearance later in the week (Wednesday) when he and Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces subcommittee about the FY2016 budget request for military space programs.  They will be joined by GAO’s Cristina Chaplain.  That same day the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will be marking up its version of the FY2016
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including recommendations on the military space program that were adopted by the HASC Strategic Forces
subcommittee last week
Full committee markup is typically a lengthy affair with many
amendments debated.  Check back here for a recap of any related to the
space program.  

Speaking of NASA, Dava Newman’s nomination to be NASA Deputy Administrator is scheduled for debate and (hopefully) passage by the Senate on Monday beginning at 5:00 pm ET.  The agreement between the parties is for 30 minutes of debate divided equally, so if all time is used, the vote would be at 5:30 pm ET.  Later in the week (Thursday) and across the Hill, the House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) committee will markup a new NASA authorization bill.  This one (no bill number yet) covers 2016 and 2017.  The House already passed a bill for 2015, so together they would provide a three-year authorization for the agency.  The Senate has not acted on a new NASA authorization bill, but indications are that they plan to do so, although the timing is not clear.  NASA’s most recent authorization act covered only through FY2013.

Meanwhile, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation will learn how its FY2016 budget request fares in the House Appropriations subcommittee that provides its funding.  The Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) subcommittee markup is on Wednesday morning.

Many more events are on tap, including one that is just plain fun.  If you’re in the Washington, DC area on Saturday, you and your family can enjoy Space Day at the National Air and Space Museum downtown.  This year it commemorates 50 years of spacewalks.  Astronauts will be on hand to give talks and there are kid-friendly activities planned.

All the events we know about as of Sunday morning are listed below.

Sunday, April 26

Monday, April 27

Monday-Friday, April 27 – May 1

Tuesday-Thursday, April 28-30

Wednesday, April 29

Thursday, April 30

Thursday-Saturday, April 30 – May 2

Friday, May 1

Saturday, May 2

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