What’s Happening in Space Policy January 15-21, 2023

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 15-21, 2023

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of January 15-21, 2023 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

The week begins tomorrow (Monday) with a federal holiday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Government offices will be closed. The House and Senate are taking the entire week off, but everyone else will be back on Tuesday.

It’s a relatively calm week in space policy compared to the big announcements last week about U.S.-Japan space cooperation, plans for dealing with the Soyuz MS-22 situation, and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas’s outlook for NASA in the new Congress. Or Virgin Orbit’s launch failure in the U.K. 

This week’s big event might be the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) meeting Tuesday-Wednesday, but the detailed agenda hasn’t been posted yet so we’re not sure precisely sure what they’ll talk about. All we have is the general information posted in the Federal Register notice a couple of weeks ago. The public is invited to listen, but virtually, not in-person.

NASA Advisory Council (NAC) group photograph, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters in Washington. Pictured left to right: Mr. Daniel Dumbacher, Ms. Carol Hamilton (Acting NAC Executive Director), Mr. Wayne Hale, Mr. Charlie Williams, Dr. Waleed Abdalati, Dr. John-Paul Clarke, Hon. Charles Bolden, General Lester Lyles (NAC Chair), Hon. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mr. Michael Johns, Dr. Ilan Kroo, Dr. Daniel Olivas, Ms. Krista Paquin, and Dr. Patricia Sanders (Chair, NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel). Missing from photo: Hon. Eric Fanning, Hon. Jane Harman, Dr. Margaret Kivelson, Dr. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, Dr. Ellen Williams, Ms. Jacklyn Wynn, and Ms. Diane Rausch (NAC Executive Director). Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

We’re two and a half weeks away from the 20th anniversary of the February 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 tragedy that took the lives of seven astronauts (six from NASA, one from Israel). NAC member Wayne Hale, a long-time space shuttle flight director and later space shuttle program manager, has given great thought to what happened, why, and how to avoid such a tragedy again. His blog is a go-to place for anyone seeking wisdom about the joys and sorrows of spaceflight and the need for constant vigilance. Yesterday he announced that between now and February 1 he’ll repost, one each day, a series of essays he wrote about “my memories, observations, and thoughts about the tragedy; what came before, how it transpired, and the way ahead.” Perhaps that will fuel some of the discussion at NAC where Wayne (@WayneHale) chairs the Human Exploration and Operations Committee.

NASA’s annual Day of Remembrance for the astronauts lost on Columbia, Challenger (January 28, 1986) and Apollo 1 (January 27, 1967) is on January 26 this year. We hope to have more information about that for next week’s edition of What’s Happening.

The Beyond Earth Institute has an intriguing webinar on Wednesday. “Artificial Gravity: From Cinema to Reality” features the two lead authors of a study on the effects of artificial gravity on neurological responses in Drosophila as studied on the International Space Station; a founding partner of a venture capital fund (Type One Ventures) that envisions a self-sufficient, interplanetary civilization; Lt. Col. Peter Garretson from the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College’s Space Horizons Task Force; Chris Lewicki, formerly with Planetary Resources and now with gravityLab; and moderator Mike DeRosa from Gravitics.

Sandra Connelly, NASA Acting Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, will lead a SMD Town Hall meeting on Wednesday.

Later that afternoon, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate will hold one of its quarterly Town Hall meetings, the first since Thomas Zurbuchen handed over the reins to Acting Associate Administrator Sandra Connelly. It’s a virtual meeting and everyone, including the public, is welcome to participate. (Thomas seems to be having a LOT of fun skiiing these days based on his tweets. Kenneth Chang of the New York Times did a nice story about him last week, sort of an exit interview.)

NASA’s getting ready for another spacewalk at the ISS, this one by NASA astronaut Nicole Mann and JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata. The spacewalk is on Friday. NASA will have a news conference on Tuesday to preview what they’ll be doing.

We’ll also note that the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week has a session on the space program. It’s only half an hour long, but has a top-notch panel: former NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, ESA Director General  Josef Aschbacher, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. We don’t see any indication it will be livestreamed, unfortunately.

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 or changes to these.

Sunday-Thursday, January 15-19

Monday, January 16

Tuesday, January 17

Tuesday-Wednesday, January 17-18

Wednesday, January 18

Wednesday-Friday, January 18-20

Thursday, January 19

Friday, January 20

Saturday, January 21

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.