What’s Happening in Space Policy February 17-23, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy February 17-23, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of February 17-23, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess this week except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

Whew!  FY2019 appropriations are FINALLY settled and Congress is taking a one-week breather.  Tomorrow (Monday) is a federal holiday, which most places call President’s Day but the federal government designates as Washington’s Birthday (although his birthday is on February 22, not tomorrow).  Congress already was planning to be off this week and reaching an appropriations deal was the ticket out of town.

In fact, the BIG space event this week is taking place far, far, far away from the Beltway out at the asteroid Ryugu.  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) Hayabusa2 spacecraft makes its first attempt to collect a sample of the asteroid on Thursday evening Eastern Standard Time (Friday morning in Japan).   As you may recall, Hayabusa2 deployed three tiny landers onto Ryugu last fall (Minerva II1A  and B and the German/French MASCOT) as a scouting party to check out the surface and help determine the best place to sample.  Then there were a few weeks when communications with the spacecraft were blocked due to a solar conjunction, but they have resumed and sample collection can begin.  The best way to follow events as they unfold is on the Hayabusa2 Twitter feed @haya2e_jaxa.

Closer to home, John Logsdon will discuss his new book, Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier, at a Space Policy and History Forum at the National Air and Space Museum on Tuesday afternoon.  This is his third book about the impact certain presidents have had on the nation’s civil space program.  JFK and Richard Nixon were the subjects of his earlier books.  Bhavya Lal from IDA’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), which co-sponsors this series of events, will be a discussant.

On Thursday, the Washington Space Business Roundtable will hold a panel discussion on “The Moon–Lunar Landers, Sustainable Presence, Commercialization, and the Law.”  Panelists include representatives from two companies building small lunar landers/rovers (Dan Hendrickson from Astrobotic and Ben Roberts from Moon Express), a space lawyer (Pamela Meredith from KMA Zuckert), and Sarah Noble from NASA’s planetary science division.  The panel discussion is well timed, coming just one week after NASA officials held two events to get across the point that NASA wants to move fast, and sustainably, with commercial and international partners in lunar exploration.

On Friday, two NASA astronauts who are getting ready to launch to the International Space Station will be giving interviews from their training base at Star City, Russia.  They will air live on NASA TV.  The launch date for Christina Koch and Nick Hague, along with their Russian colleague Aleksey Ovchinin, has slipped from February 28 to March 14, but all appears to be going well.  Hague and Ovchinin are hoping for a better outcome this time.  They were the crew of the ill-fated Soyuz MS-10 mission last October that didn’t make it to space.  Their rocket booster failed about two minutes after liftoff, but automatic systems instantly separated the crew capsule from the rocket and the two landed safely downrange.  They were uninjured and undeterred and promised a second chance.  This is it.

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, February 18

Monday-Friday, February 18-22 (continued from last week)

Tuesday, February 19

Thursday, February 21

Friday, February 22



User Comments

SpacePolicyOnline.com has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.