What’s Happening in Space Policy December 1-7, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy December 1-7, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of December 1-7, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

Welcome back!  Hope you all had a splendid Thanksgiving break or at least were not among those left stranded at airports because of the snow.

Time for everyone to get back to work, including Congress.  The Senate returns tomorrow (Monday); the House on Tuesday.  They will continue to work on finalizing FY2020 appropriations.  They have until December 20 or they’ll have to pass another Continuing Resolution if they want to keep the government operating.

We are not aware of any hearings directly on space topics this week, but two may be of broader interest to readers of this website. Both are on Thursday.

The House Science, Space and Technology committee holds another hearing on the quintessential issue of how Congress gets science policy advice and whether the congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) should be reestablished.  The issue has been revisited many times since OTA was defunded in 1995.  Created in 1972, it did some really excellent reports on civil and national security space issues that are archived on the Princeton University website. Past efforts to resurrect OTA in one form or another have failed, but interest continues as science and technology issues pervade everyday life.  Among the witnesses is Peter Blair who quite literally turned out the lights at OTA on its last day.  He moved over to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine where he is Executive Director of the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences.  Joining him will be Michael McCord from the Stennis Center for Public Service, Laura Manley from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tim Persons from GAO.

Over in the Senate, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on “Strategic Threats, Ongoing Challenges, and National Defense Strategy Implementation.”  The witnesses are John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Lt. Gen. David Allvin (USAF), Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy for the Joint Staff.  Though it undoubtedly will cover a lot of ground, it’s hard to imagine space, and Space Force, won’t come up in the discussion.

Over at NASA, Administrator Jim Bridenstine will host an agency Town Hall to introduce Doug Loverro, the incoming Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations.  That’s at noon on Tuesday and will air on NASA TV.  Loverro is very well known and respected in the space policy community, though his selection to succeed Bill Gerstenmaier was quite a surprise.  Loverro’s career so far has been in the national security space field, most recently on the policy side though he did manage programs as an Air Force officer at the Space and Missile Systems Center and later at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy from 2013-2017 and since then has been a consultant and prominent advocate for creating a Space Force.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold its second annual Space Summit entitled “LAUNCH: The Space Economy.”  Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard are among the speakers along with industry VIPs and Ellen Stofan, Director of the National Air and Space Museum. (Note that the speaker list has changed since last week.  Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett are no longer listed on the agenda, for example.  Still a great line-up of speakers.)

Alan Ladwig will hold a book signing event at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute on Thursday afternoon.  Among his three stints at NASA, he was in charge of the Space Flight Participant program in the 1980s that included the Teacher in Space and Journalist in Space programs.  His carefully researched new book, “See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight” is an excellent history of efforts to make government space programs inclusive of women and minorities and then to make it possible for anyone to experience spaceflight.

And the International Space Station (ISS) continues to be a busy place.  NASA’s Drew Morgan and ESA’s Luca Parmitano will make the third of at least four spacewalks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer tomorrow.  SpaceX’s next cargo resupply ship launches on Wednesday and Russia’s next Progress cargo ship launches on Friday.

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.

Monday, December 2

Monday-Wednesday, December 2-4

Tuesday, December 3

Wednesday, December 4

Wednesday-Thursday, December 4-5

Thursday, December 5

Thursday-Sunday, December 5-8

Friday, December 6

Saturday. December 7

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