What’s Happening in Space Policy January 5-11, 2020 – UPDATE

What’s Happening in Space Policy January 5-11, 2020 – UPDATE

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of January 5-11, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week. [UPDATED: THE CSIS EVENT ON THURSDAY WITH NASA ADMINISTRATOR BRIDENSTINE HAS BEEN POSTPONED AS HAS THE SPACEX IN-FLIGHT ABORT TEST]

During the Week

It’s back to the old grindstone.  Congress resumes legislative business this week, major conferences are underway or about to begin, CSIS is hosting a seminar on NASA and foreign policy, SpaceX is getting ready for the In-Flight Abort test … the New Year is fully upon us.

The House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) Committee is kicking things off with its first markup of the second session of the 116th Congress. On Thursday morning, it will consider Rep. Perlmutter’s space weather bill, H.R. 5260.  Conducting research to better understand and forecast space weather events — the solar wind and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can wreak havoc with satellites and terrestrial infrastructure like the electric grid — is a long-time interest of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, but they have not managed to pass legislation setting out agency roles and responsibilities and interagency coordination mechanisms.  The Senate passed a bill in 2017, but a fractious House SS&T markup the next year led nowhere.  The Senate Commerce Committee approved a new bill in April 2019 that was formally reported to the Senate four weeks ago (S. 881, Peters/Gardner), but it is much broader than the House bill. Assuming the House committee approves its bill, a lot of negotiations still will be needed.  In a related matter, House and Senate appropriators just significantly increased NOAA’s budget for Space Weather Follow-On instruments.

Also on Thursday morning, CSIS is starting the New Year with a seminar on NASA’s role in U.S. foreign policy.  It begins with a conversation between NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and CSIS’s Todd Harrison, followed by a panel discussion.  The panelists have not been announced yet, but it is certain to be interesting.  [THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED]

On Friday, the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute will host Maj. Gen. John Shaw for a breakfast discussion.  Shaw commands what until recently was called the 14th Air Force, but is now the U.S. Space Force Space Operations Command (SPOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Shaw also serves as Combined Force Space Component Commander of U.S. Space Command.  (Confused about the difference between Space Force and Space Command?  U.S. Space Force is one of six military services that “organize, train, and equip” military personnel; created by Congress in the FY2020 NDAA as signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019.  U.S. Space Command is one of 11 unified combatant commands that command and control military forces in peace and war; reestablished by Trump on August 29, 2019 after a 17-year hiatus.)

On Saturday, SpaceX is scheduled to conduct its In-flight Abort test for Crew Dragon.  The date for this has slipped a number of times, so don’t be surprised if it changes again.  It’s a critical milestone before SpaceX puts crews aboard so it needs to go well. [UPDATE: THE TEST HAS, INDEED, BEEN POSTPONED ANOTHER WEEK AND IS NOW SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 18.]

Also this week, the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS’s) winter meeting is taking place in Honolulu.  We wrote about that in last week’s What’s Happening since it started yesterday.  A number of press conferences will be livestreamed.  Beginning tomorrow (Monday), the AIAA’s SciTech forum takes place in Orlando.  Plenary and Forum 360 sessions will be livestreamed.

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 5-8 (continued from yesterday)

Monday-Wednesday, January 6-8

Monday-Friday, January 6-10

Tuesday, January 7

Thursday, January 9

Friday, January 10

Saturday, January 11

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