What’s Happening in Space Policy December 22-31, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy December 22-31, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the rest of 2019 (December 22-31) and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess, except for pro forma sessions.  The Senate will return on January 3, 2020, the House on January 7.

During the Next 9 Days

With Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test (OFT) mission ending early, we have only one event for the rest of 2019.  As explained in other articles on this website over the past two days, OFT landed in New Mexico this morning instead of docking with the International Space Station and landing on December 28.

The one remaining event of interest is the planned return-to-flight of China’s Long March 5 rocket.  Chinese officials are saying only that it will launch by the end of the year, but Andrew Jones, who follows the Chinese space program closely, reports that it will be on December 27.

This is a critically important mission for China.  Long March 5 is China’s most capable rocket, roughly equivalent to a Delta IV Heavy, but it has made only one successful flight and that was three years ago.  It failed on its second launch in July 2017.

China needs the Long March 5 for many planned future missions, including launching the three 20-ton modules that will form the China Space Station (CSS), a robotic Mars orbiter/lander/rover mission planned for launch in a few months, and the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission already delayed because of the Long March 5 problems.

We don’t know if there will be a live video feed for the launch.  Any information we get will be added to our calendar item for that event.

Check back for events we learn about later and add to our Calendar.  To be honest we hope there won’t be any others and we can all enjoy happy and restful holidays and begin the New Year refreshed and renewed.


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