What's Happening in Space Policy February 15-19, 2016

What's Happening in Space Policy February 15-19, 2016

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of February 15-19, 2016 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess this week.

During the Week

Monday (February 15) is a U.S. federal holiday, President’s Day, marking the birthdays of two of our most famous Presidents — Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22).  Federal offices will be closed on Monday and Congress is taking the entire week off from inside-the-Beltway debates to check in with their constituents back home.

Consequently it is a relatively quiet week space policy-wise, which should give us all time to digest the President’s FY2017 budget request.  The NASA request is particularly complicated as explained in our new fact sheet.  We also have a fact sheet on NOAA’s request for satellites.

One intriguing meeting this week is of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Big Data of the NASA Advisory Council’s (NAC’s) Science Committee.  The meeting, all day Tuesday, was announced in the Federal Register, which is a requirement for all advisory committee meetings governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).  We couldn’t find anything about the upcoming meeting or the task force itself on the websites of NAC or its Science Committee, however, other than a broken link to a presentation by Elaine Denning at the November 2015 Science Committee meeting and a functioning link to a July 2015 presentation by Dr. Erin Smith, the task force’s executive secretary.  That includes the two-page Terms of Reference for the task force, signed by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden in January 2015. The Federal Register notice provides only a general list of agenda items, but overall it looks like quite an interesting set of issues.  The meeting is available by WebEx and telecon.

The AIAA’s National Capital Section luncheon on Wednesday is also notable this week.   Winston Beauchamp is the speaker.  He is Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space and Director, Principal DoD Space Advisor Staff.  The Principal DoD Space Advisor (PDSA) position was created in October 2015, broadening the responsibilities of what previously was called the “Executive Agent for Space” (EA4S).  Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James was the EA4S and now is the PDSA.  DOD said at the time that the new position would “strengthen the leadership of the space enterprise by sharpening authorities and responsibilities, and unifying diffused and competing voices within the department.”    Hopefully Beauchamp will provide a glimpse into how things are going so far.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.  Check back throughout the week to see additions to our Events of Interest list that are announced in the coming days.

Tuesday, February 16

Wednesday, February 17

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