What’s Happening in Space Policy August 7-13, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy August 7-13, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of August 7-13, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate began its summer recess today, Sunday, August 7.  The House will return from its recess and meet briefly in legislative session on Friday.

During the Week

President Biden plans to sign the CHIPS and Science Act into law on Tuesday. That’s the bill that includes the 2022 NASA Authorization Act. Though a minor element of the overall legislation, it’s an important bipartisan policy statement by Congress of support for NASA’s total portfolio of programs — aeronautics, human exploration, science, and technology development. That includes extending the U.S. commitment to the International Space Station to 2030, endorsing NASA’s plans to send humans back to the Moon and on to Mars (emphasizing its Moon to Mars, not just Moon) and supporting NASA’s planetary defense mission and the NEO Surveyor program in particular. It’s been more than five years since a NASA authorization bill was enacted, so this is good news for the agency. He’ll sign the bill in the Rose Garden, but the time has not been announced yet. We’ll post whatever we find out on our Calendar. It likely will be webcast on the White House website and probably C-SPAN, at least.

The 2022 NASA Authorization Act extends the U.S. commitment to the International Space Station through 2030. This mosaic is from images taken by the departing Crew-2 on November 8, 2021. Credit: NASA

Congress hasn’t left for its summer vacation yet. This is Sunday afternoon and within the past hour the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Although the House began its recess last week, it will briefly return on Friday to consider and likely pass the bill rather than waiting until September. Update:  The Senate left for summer recess shortly after passing the bill. It will meet only in pro forma sessions through September 6.

As we mentioned last week, that bill, formerly the Build Back Better Act, no longer includes any money for NASA. The only relationship it has to space activities now is its impact on Senate politics and the likelihood of other bills and nominations clearing Congress this year. Senate Republicans are very unhappy, to say the least, so getting anything else done will be an even bigger challenge than it would have been otherwise. One exception probably will be the National Defense Authorization Act, which always seems to transcend even the most fraught political relationships. But nominations (like Arati Prabhakar’s to be Director of OSTP or Gigi Sohn’s to be an FCC Commissioner)? Appropriations? Time will tell.

Outside of Washington this week, the 36th annual Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University started yesterday and runs through Thursday. We thought it was in-person only this year, but there’s a livestream link on the meeting’s home page so at least some sessions will be webcast. NASA has a convenient list of all of its activities, but there’s nothing on the NASA Live or NASA TV schedules indicating the agency will webcast anything.  Among the many side events for those in attendance is a Secure World Foundation session tomorrow on “Small Satellites and Sustainability: Why You Should Care.”

The 25th Conference on Satellite Meteorology, Oceanography and Climatology/Joint 2022 NOAA Satellite Conference is taking place all week in Madison, WI as part of a set of conferences hosted by the American Meteorological Society. Lots of excellent sessions on current and planned NOAA and NASA satellite systems for earth observations and the data they produce. The other conferences are the 17th Conference on Polar Meteorology and Oceanography, and the 16th Conference on Cloud Physics/16th Conference on Atmospheric Radiation. They are all taking place jointly in Madison as the Collective Madison Meeting. It seems those are in-person meetings, but livestreams sometimes suddenly appear, so check their website.

Masami Onoda, Director, Washington Office, JAXA, will be the guest on the Space Foundation’s “Start Here for Space” webinar on Tuesday.

For meetings that definitely are virtual, on Tuesday afternoon the Space Foundation will have its next “Start Here for Space” webinar.

The Space Foundation has started a really interesting series of half-hour discussions with the Washington representatives of non-U.S. space agencies. This week’s guest is Masami Onoda, Director of JAXA’s Washington Office. ESA’s Sylvia Espinasse was last week. Coming up every Tuesday through September 6 are Jill Smyth with the Canadian Space Agency, Nicholas Maubert with CNES, Krunal Joshi with ISRO, and Marc Jochemich with DLR. A great way to learn about what these other space agencies are doing, including cooperation with NASA.

Julie Van Kleeck, Executive Producer, ASCEND. Photo Credit: AIAA

At exactly the same time (unfortunately) there’s an AIAA webinar on “Charting a Course for Advancing Cislunar Depots.” It’s part of AIAA’s lead-up to the second ASCEND conference taking place in Las Vegas in October. Julie Van Kleeck, who was Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Vice President of Space and Launch Propulsion until she retired in 2019, now is AIAA’s Executive Producer for ASCEND. She’s the moderator for this webinar, which features three speakers from the Aerospace Corporation (Kara Cunzeman, Lead Futurist for Strategic Foresight, Blake Rogers, Engineering Specialist, Vehicle Design and Innovation, and Paul Frakes, Systems Engineer and Foresight Practitioner), John Reed, ULA’s Chief Rocket Scientist, and Kathy Laurini from Dynetics.

Gen. Les Lyles (Ret.), Chair, NASA Advisory Council. Photo credit: NASA

It’s a Tuesday trifecta, with the full NASA Advisory Counil meeting at the very same time. The meeting continues Wednesday afternoon. Public participation is virtual only.

Gen. Les Lyles, USAF (Ret.) continues to chair NAC, but there are lots of new members. This is the first full NAC meeting since Administrator Bill Nelson appointed John-Paul Clarke, University of Texas at Austin, chair of  NAC’s aeronautics committee; Ellen Williams, University of Maryland, chair of NAC’s science committee; and two at-large members, Nelson’s former Senate colleague Kay Bailey Hutchison (the two of them were the primary authors of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act that directed NASA to build SLS) who was most recently the U.S. representative to NATO during the Trump Administration, and Jacklyn  Wynn, Vice President of Strategic Programs for the federal health sector at General Dynamics. Those are in addition to a bunch of new members added in February.  The full list of members is on the NAC website, which unfortunately does not have the agenda for this meeting posted yet, but it’s bound to be interesting.

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.

Saturday-Thursday, August 6-11

Monday-Friday, August 8-12

Tuesday, August 9

Tuesday-Wednesday, August 9-10

Tuesday-Thursday, August 9-11

Thursday, August 11


Note: This article has been updated.


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