What's Happening in Space Policy April 4-8, 2016

What's Happening in Space Policy April 4-8, 2016

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of April 4-8, 2016.  The Senate is in session this week.  The House remains in recess; it will return April 12.

During the Week

If you haven’t registered already, you’ll miss one of the most interesting events coming up this week — a space weather symposium hosted by the State Department and the Secure World Foundation (SWF).   It’s at the State Department, so everyone had to register by last Wednesday to get on the list to attend.   Space weather is a hot topic these days with many forums for discussion, but this one seems especially interesting because it includes an international panel with experts from the UK, Europe and international organizations.  Moderated by SWF’s Laura Delgado López, it has representatives from the UK Met Office, the European Space Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and NATO.  It will be preceded by a panel of U.S. experts from NASA, NOAA, the Air Force, and the Department of Homeland Security, moderated by Bill Murtaugh from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  If you can’t make it in person, the event will be recorded and posted on the Web later.  C-SPAN also may cover it live.

SWF has another timely symposium on Friday.  That one is on the policy and practical implications of spectrum protection.  With everyone’s insatiable appetite for wireless broadband connectivity, other users of the electromagnetic spectrum — like military, civil, and commercial satellites — are under increasing pressure to surrender spectrum assigned to them.   James Miller from NASA, Scott Pace from the Space Policy Institute at the George Washington University, Jennifer Warren from Lockheed Martin and Christopher Hegarty from CNS Engineering & Spectrum will explain it all.   Lunch will be served, so please RSVP by Wednesday so they know how much food to order.

Later on Friday afternoon, SpaceX will attempt its first cargo launch to the International Space Station (ISS) since the SpaceX CRS-7 (SpX-7) failure in June 2015.   The Falcon 9 has launched three times since then, all successfully, but this is the first one with a Dragon cargo spacecraft chock full of supplies and equipment for the ISS crew. Among Dragon’s cargo is a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) that will ride in Dragon’s unpressurized “trunk.” Later it will be moved to an ISS docking port using Canadarm 2 where it will be expanded and used for tests over the next 2 years. (Mr. Bigelow insists it is “expandable” rather than “inflatable” even though it builds on NASA’s work on inflatables when it was developing the TransHab habitation module for ISS.  TransHab was cancelled by NASA, but Bigelow Aerospace picked it up for further development and has launched two test versions, Genesis I and Genesis II, already as free-flyers.)  Launch is at 4:43 pm ET and will be broadcast on NASA TV (and presumably on spacex.com).  SpaceX almost always tries to land the Falcon 9 first stage, but it has not yet posted a press kit for this launch, so we can’t definitively say that’s in the plan this time (but it’s a good bet).

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.   Check back throughout the week to see other events we learn about as the week unfolds and add to our Events of Interest list.

Monday, April 4

Tuesday, April 5

Thursday, April 7

Friday, April 8

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