What’s Happening in Space Policy August 22-September 4

What’s Happening in Space Policy August 22-September 4

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next TWO weeks, August 22-September 4, 2021, and any insight we can offer about them. The House will be in session for part of this week. The Senate is in recess until September 13.

During the Week

The House will meet in legislative session tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday. As discussed in last week’s “What’s Happening,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decide to call the House back into session in the middle of its August recess to vote on the Senate-passed budget resolution so committees can get to work writing the legislation needed to implement it, with a deadline of September 15. Those nine Democrats are still insisting they will vote against the budget resolution (which would doom it) unless they also get to vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package, so we’ll see how that goes. The House also wants to take up a voting rights bill in the short span of those two days.

Otherwise, it’s relatively quiet on Capitol Hill. The House will begin a three-week “committee work period” on August 30 with committees meeting, but the House holding only pro forma sessions. The committee meetings are only on certain days since those three weeks include various holidays. At the moment, the only announced committee meeting relevant to the space policy community is on Wednesday, September 1, when the House Armed Services Committee will mark up the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Lots going on elsewhere, especially this week with the Space Foundation’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. We highlighted some of the sessions in last week’s edition, but just to reiterate, Tuesday is when a number of VIPs are scheduled to speak including Gen. Jay Raymond (Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force), Bill Nelson (NASA Administrator), Sen. Jerry Moran, Frank Kendall (Secretary of the Air Force), Chris Scolese (Director of NRO), Gen. James Dickinson (Commander, U.S. Space Command), and Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, Commander of the brand new U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command.

On Wednesday morning, Chirag Parikh, just appointed as Executive Secretary of the White House National Space Council, will speak just before the international “Heads of Agency” panel with the top people from NASA, ESA, the Canadian Space Agency, the French space agency (CNES), the UK Space Agency, Germany’s space agency (DLR), the Italian space agency (ASI), and the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU), moderated by Space Foundation Chairwoman (and former astronaut) Kathryn Thornton.

There are many more excellent sessions throughout the week. On Thursday, for example, there are talks by Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Simonetta di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, as well as some really interesting panel discussions like Paving the Next Era of Space Exploration with Lisa Callahan (Lockheed Martin), Latonia Jones (MSI STEM R&D Consortium), Janet Kavandi (Sierra Space), and Bhavya Lal (NASA).

The conference is taking place in person, but there is a virtual option for those still not able to travel.

The International Space Station (ISS) continues to be a busy place. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide (currently ISS commander) will make a spacewalk this week, and their Russian colleagues, Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov will make one next week. NASA will hold a briefing tomorrow (Monday) to go over the plans for what Vande Hei and Hoshide will be doing, which is associated with installation of more new iROSA solar panels. NASA TV will cover that as well as the spacewalk itself on Tuesday and the Russian spacewalk on September 2, the first of several to outfit the new Nauka module (the next is on September 8).

Another cargo resupply mission will be on its way to ISS this weekend. SpaceX CRS-23 (SpX-23) is scheduled for launch very early Saturday (August 28). NASA will hold a briefing tomorrow on the science experiments that are aboard. A pre-launch briefing will take place Friday at noon. Then launch at 3:37 am ET Saturday and docking on Sunday at 11:00 am ET. All will be broadcast on NASA TV.

Next week, back here on Earth two of NASA’s science groups are meeting: the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) and the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG). These are not “advisory” committees, but bring together scientists in specific disciplines to discuss ongoing projects and research results. Always full of fascinating information.

Meanwhile, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are getting ready to launch the next in the Landsat series of earth observation satellites next month. NASA builds, while USGS operates, the satellites. This is the ninth in the series, Landsat 9, that started in 1972. One was lost in a launch failure (Landsat 6), but the others have provided almost 50 years of contuinous data about Earth’s surface for use in monitoring land use and land cover.

On August 31, NASA and USGS will hold a media briefing about Landsat and the upcoming launch (scheduled for September 16 from Vandenberg on an Atlas V), though the press release doesn’t indicate if the briefing will be livestreamed. USGS also will hold a three-day “National Imagery Summit” beginning that day to discuss “Landsat and Society.” The speaker line-up is superb. We’ll talk more about that next week.

Also on August 31, the Secure World Foundation and the British Embassy will co-host a webinar on “Space, Climate Change, and International Cooperation” as part of the lead-up to the U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that will take place in October in Glasgow, Scotland.

And ALSO on August 31 — a very busy day — CSIS will hold a conversation with the head of the United Arab Emirates’ Space Agency, Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri. It’s part of CSIS’s series on “Smart Women, Smart Power.” The UAE’s Hope spacecraft is currently in orbit around Mars.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning, August 22, are shown below.  Check back throughout the weeks for others we learn about later and add to our Calendar, or changes to these.

Sunday-Monday, August 22-23 (continued from August 21)

Monday, August 23

Monday-Thursday, August 23-26

Tuesday, August 24

Wednesday, August 25-Friday, September 3

Friday, August 27

Saturday, August 28

Sunday, August 29

Monday-Wednesday, August 30-September 1

Tuesday, August 31

Tuesday-Thursday, August 31-September 2

Wednesday, September 1

Wednesday-Thursday, September 1-2

Thursday, September 2

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