What’s Happening in Space Policy January 19-25, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 19-25, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of January 19-25, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week beginning Tuesday.  The House is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

The week got off to an exciting start this morning (Sunday) with the successful SpaceX In-Flight Abort (IFA) test of the Crew Dragon escape system.

Tomorrow (Monday) is a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, and federal government offices will be closed.  The House is taking the entire week off so Members can reconnect with their constituents back home.  The Senate is in session, but most of the time will be sitting as a court of impeachment, so there are few hearings or other legislative activity.

CompTIA Space Enterprise Council, the GPS Innovation Alliance and the Congressional Tech Staff association will sponsor a discussion on the Hill on Wednesday on the “Role of Satellites in Enabling Emerging Technologies.”  Speakers from Konture Technology Services, Lockheed Martin and Viasat will discuss how satellite communications, satellite imagery, and GPS enable new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and autonomous landing systems for general aviation aircraft.

The NSF-NASA-DOE interagency Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) meets at NSF’s headquarters in Alexandria, VA on Thursday and Friday.  NASA’s Paul Hertz is on the agenda Thursday morning and Lindley Johnson that afternoon.  Hertz is Director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA HQ. Johnson heads the Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which has just been given funding to build a space-based infrared telescope, NEO Surveyor, to search for asteroids that might impact Earth.  Friday morning features a discussion of the impact on astronomy of satellite megaconstellations.

Meanwhile, up at the International Space Station (ISS), two teams will take spacewalks to finish up replacing batteries and repairing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).   NASA’s Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will do the last of a series of five battery replacement spacewalks on Monday.  This will be their third spacewalk together making all-female spacewalks more routine than newsworthy.  On Saturday, NASA’s Drew Morgan and ESA’s Luca Parmitano will proceed with the last of their spacewalks to fix AMS.  Both spacewalks will be carried on NASA TV.

Koch and Parmitano are getting ready to head home.  They depart the ISS on February 6.  Koch is setting a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.  She passed Peggy Whitson’s record on December 28, although Whitson still holds the record for cumulative time in space over several missions (665 days). Koch arrived on March 15, 2019 and by the time she returns will have spent 328 days, almost 11 months, on-orbit.  The only American to have stayed longer on a single mission is Scott Kelly who was there for 340 days. Three Russians have spent longer durations in space, however.  The longest was Valeriy Polyakhov’s 438 days (14 months) in 1994-1995 on Russia’s Mir space station.

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.

Sunday-Wednesday, January 19-22

Monday, January 20

Tuesday, January 21

Tuesday-Wednesday, January 21-22

Wednesday, January 22

Wednesday-Thursday, January 22-23

Wednesday-Friday, January 22-24

Thursday, January 23

Thursday-Friday, January 23-24

Saturday, January 25


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