What's Happening in Space Policy for the Week of May 26-30, 2014

What's Happening in Space Policy for the Week of May 26-30, 2014

Here is our weekly list of what is coming up in space policy this week and any insight we can offer.   Usually the week that includes Memorial Day is pretty quiet as lots of people head to the beach or other vacation spots, but the House decided it would be in session for legislative business Wednesday-Friday and take next week off instead.   The Senate is doing the opposite — off this week and in session next.  

During the Week

The House is scheduled to debate the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill this week.  It includes FY2015 funding for NASA and NOAA and was reported from the House Appropriations Committee on May 15 (H.R. 4660, H. Rept. 113-448).   As approved by the committee, NASA would get an increase of $435 million over the President’s FY2015 request.  Such a large increase is quite rare and in the zero-sum world of congressional appropriations, other programs and projects in the CJS bill suffered cuts to pay for it.  The floor debate could be quite interesting if some of the advocates of those other programs try to recoup those losses.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s floor schedule website isn’t specific about whether the debate will begin on Wednesday or Thursday, but the National Journal’s Daybook says Thursday.

On Friday, the House will debate the FY2014-2015 Intelligence Authorization bill, which was just approved by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on Thursday (May 22).  It had approved a FY2014 bill last year (H.R. 3381).   The new version (H.R. 4681) adds authorizations for FY2015 and, according to a committee press release, makes other changes.  Most of the bill is classified.  The unclassified version, which is posted on the House Rules Committee’s website and on THOMAS, doesn’t show any provisions specifically related to space activities.

The NASA Advisory Council’s Earth Science Subcommittee also decided to be hard at work rather than on vacation this week.  It meets Wednesday-Thursday at NASA Headquarters.

And holidays never really mean much for launch schedules.   Three new ISS crew members are scheduled for launch on their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft on Wednesday afternoon EDT (very early Thursday morning local time at the launch site in Kazakhstan) and docking later that evening.

Here’s the list of the events we know about as of Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 28

  • Soyuz TMA-13M launch and docking of three ISS crewmembers.  Launch: 3:57 pm EDT (1:57 am May 29 local time at the launch site in Kazakhstan); docking 9:48 pm EDT.   NASA TV launch coverage begins at 3:00 pm EDT; docking coverage at 9:00 pm EDT.

Wednesday-Thursday, May 28-29

Thursday, May 29

  • House floor debate on FY2015 CJS appropriations bill (time TBD), The Capitol, Washington, DC (watch on C-SPAN) [Debate might begin on Wednesday, see text above]

Friday, May 30

  • House floor debate on FY2014-2015 Intelligence Authorization Bill (time TBD), The Capitol, Washington, DC (watch on C-SPAN)

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