What’s Happening in Space Policy August 28-September 3, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy August 28-September 3, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of August 28-September 3, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

THIS IS IT!!! Artemis I is finally ready for launch.

Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft at Launch Complex-39B as seen from NASA’s press site at Kennedy Space Center, August 28, 2022. Photo credit: M. Smith

The 46-hour countdown began yesterday for the launch of Artemis I on Monday, August 29, at 8:33 am ET. This is the uncrewed test launch of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, years late and billions over budget, but finally happening.

Bear in mind many things still can go awry and scrub the launch for Monday. That’s common with any rocket, but especially those launching for the first time. And then there’s weather. Your SpacePolicyOnline.com editor is at Kennedy Space Center for the launch and can personally attest to the intensity of the lightning yesterday. Two of the three lighting towers that protect Artemis I were struck. NASA says the strikes were of low magnitude and teams are assessing the impact, but as of this morning everything seems OK.

More storms are expected this afternoon and evening, but the forecast for launch at 8:33:00 ET tomorrow is 80 percent favorable, though it declines to 60 percent favorable as the two-hour launch window progresses.

The window closes at 10:33 am ET with a post-launch press conference at noon though that could change if it launches toward the end of that time period. If it’s a scrub, backup launch opportunities are on September 2 and 5.

Vice President Kamala Harris will be at KSC for the launch and is expected to give remarks afterward, but details on when have not been announced. Later she’ll take a tour of Artemis II and Artemis III hardware, but NASA will not provide coverage of that. She will be accompanied by a press pool (which, alas, does not include the editor of SpacePolicyOnline.com) so perhaps there will be photos or video or something that is released publicly afterwards.

NASA media events associated with the launch were listed in last week’s What’s Happening. In addition, Greg Autry at Arizona State University has pulled together a VIP list of participants in a seminar this afternoon (Sunday) on The Road to Artemis. Former NASA Administrators Jim Bridenstine and Charlie Bolden will be joined by Bhavya Lal, NASA’s current Associate Administrator for Technology, Strategy and Policy, and  former NASA and/or National Space Council officials. They include Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of the Space Council in the Trump Administration and Mike Gold, now with Redwire, who led development of the Artemis Accords. Gold just published an op-ed in The Hill about how “bipartisanship and global partners fuel humanity’s return to the Moon.”

The in-person event at Exploration Park just outside Kennedy Space Center will be livestreamed at 2:00 pm ET today.

The launch is not the only space policy event happening this week as August turns into September.

Krunal Joshi, Counsellor, Space and representative of ISRO is the guest on Start Here for Space on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Space Foundation will hold the next in its series of Start Here for Space webinars focused on international cooperation. Each Tuesday this month and into September, the Space Foundation is holding half-hour webinars with Washington representatives of non-U.S. space agencies to talk about what their agencies are doing and cooperation with the United States. This week’s guest is Krunal Joshi from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Previous episodes (archived on the Space Foundation’s website) were with Sylvie Espinasse from ESA, Masami Onoda from JAXA, Jill Smyth from CSA, and Nicholas Maubert from CNES. Coming up in September is Marc Johemich from DLR.

Those of you following Elon Musk’s announcement last week of a deal with T-Mobile to partner on satellite-to-mobile phone services, which they say will end cell phone dead zones around the world, may be interested in a webinar Thursday featuring Tim Farrar from TMF Associates on “Challenges and Opportunities in Delivering Satellite 5G.”  Farrar posted an interesting tweet thread (@TMFAssociates) analyzing the timing of the SpaceX/T-Mobile announcement, made with just one day’s public notice, and what other companies are doing along the same lines.

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 or changes to these.

Sunday, August 28

Monday, August 29

  • Launch of Artemis I, KSC, 8:33 am ET
    • 12:00 am (midnight): coverage of fueling begins
    • 6:30 am ET: full launch coverage begins in English on NASA TV and continues through launch, translunar injection, and spacecraft separation
    • 7:30 am ET: full launch coverage begins in Spanish on NASA’s Spanish-language social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) and continues through 15 minutes after launch
    • 8:33 – 10:33 am ET: TWO HOUR LAUNCH WINDOW
    • Post-launch event times could vary depending on when launch occurs
      • 12:00 pm ET: post-launch briefing
      • 4:00 pm ET: coverage of Orion’s first out-bound trajectory burn
      • 5:30 pm ET: coverage of first views of Earth from Orion

Tuesday, August 30

Tuesday-Wednesday, August 30-31

Wednesday-Thursday, August 31-September 1

Thursday, September 1

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