What's Happening in Space Policy December 7-13, 2015 – UPDATE

What's Happening in Space Policy December 7-13, 2015 – UPDATE

Here is our list of space policy related events for the coming week — and weekend, since there’s an interesting symposium on Saturday — of December 7-13, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week. (Updated to remove reference to OA-4 launch, which went off successfully today, and to add agenda for Wednesday’s Galloway symposium, which is now available.)

During the Week

It’s Groundhog Week!!  Once again Congress must past a budget by the end of the week or the government will face a shut down.  The Continuing Resolution (CR) currently funding the government expires on December 11.  Once again pundits are split as to whether Congress will be able to pull it off or not.  Once again it is less a matter of budget issues than policy riders that various groups want to attach to the funding bill — from preventing Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States to repealing portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act to blocking EPA regulations for clean power and clean water.   Congressional Republicans focused their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and defund Planned Parenthood in a separate bill that cleared the Senate last week.  Although they know the President will veto it, they succeeded in forcing Senators to go on record with their votes, so perhaps they will not raise these issues again so soon during this week’s appropriations debate.  SpacePolicyOnline.com knows too well the folly of trying to anticipate what Congress will do, but will take a risk and lay odds that something will pass by Friday and the government will not shut down.  Whether it’s a full-year omnibus appropriations bill or another short-term CR — well, we’re not going to venture a guess on THAT.

Apart from that, there’s a bumper crop of really interesting events on tap this week. Only three will be highlighted here in order to keep this relatively brief.

First is the 10th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law on Wednesday at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.  As one can see from the agenda, it looks terrific (OK, your faithful SpacePolicyOnline.com editor is on the program, but it’s terrific because of all the OTHER people who will be speaking).  The theme is looking back over what’s happened in the past 10 years in space law and space policy — because it’s the 10th Galloway symposium — and looking forward to what comes next.

Second is a seminar sponsored by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation on “Asia’s Space Race and the US-Japan Alliance” on Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill at the Capitol Visitors Center.  Mike Mansfield (1903-2001) was a highly respected Senator (1953-1977) who later was U.S. Ambassador to Japan. The seminar has a great line-up of speakers from the U.S. and Japan, including The Honorable Takeo Kawamura, Member of Japan’s Diet.  The U.S. speakers include Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), chairman of the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee; Chirag Parikh, Director of Space Policy at the White House National Security Council; and Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

Third (and really, it was tough to pick just three, so see the complete list) is a symposium on progress made in astrophysics since the last astrophysics Decadal Survey (DS) was published.  It will be held at the National Academy of Sciences Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, but will be webcast for those elsewhere in the country.  The symposium is all-day Saturday (Pacific Time, so roughly noon-9 pm Eastern), followed by a two-day meeting of the NAS committee created to review how the astrophysics field has progressed since the New Worlds, New Horizons report came out.  The committee meeting is open to the public on Sunday, but closed on Monday.  No indication if the Sunday meeting will be available by WebEx or other electronic means, but the Academy is doing that more often these days.  If we learn about a way to listen in remotely, we’ll add the information to our Events of Interest list.  NAS Decadal Surveys are conducted about every 10 years (hence “decadal”) to lay out scientific priorities in various scientific disciplines and recommend programs to answer key scientific questions within budget envelopes provided by the relevant agenc(ies) — in this case, NASA, NSF and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.  In 2005, Congress mandated that “performance assessments” be conducted by the NAS half-way through each decadal period to see how things are working out.  This is part of that process.  For a list of all the current space and earth science Decadal Surveys and the last round of performance assessments, see our webpage.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning are listed below.  Check back throughout the week for additions to our Events of Interest list that we learn about as time goes by.

Monday, December 7

Tuesday, December 8

Tuesday-Wednesday, December 8-9

Wednesday, December 9

Thursday, December 10

Friday, December 11

 Saturday-Sunday, December 12-13

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