What’s Happening in Space Policy July 2-15, 2023

What’s Happening in Space Policy July 2-15, 2023

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next TWO weeks, July 2-14, 2023 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess this coming week, returning the week of July 10.

During the Weeks

As usual, this week with the July 4 holiday is relatively slow in terms of space policy events so we get a bit of a respite before the typical busy pace resumes next week.

But there is a BIG EVENT this week — the final launch of Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket, which just happens to be scheduled for July 4 between 5:30 and 7:05 pm ET. It’ll be broadcast on ESA TV so we get to see “fireworks” from Kourou, French Guiana just before the fireworks on the National Mall in D.C. (which one can watch on PBS).

Liftoff of ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana, April 14, 2023. Photo credit: ESA

This 117th Ariane 5 launch will put two communications satellites into orbit, the Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit for Germany’s space agency, DLR, and Syracuse 4B for the French military. The launch was supposed to happen on June 16, but on June 15 a problem was detected with three pyrotechnical transmission lines and they had to be replaced.

Ariane 5 is being phased out, but its successor, Ariane 6, has been delayed many times and now isn’t expected to launch until sometime in 2024. So this is the last chance to see an Ariane lift off for a while.

Two interesting conferences are taking place overseas this week: Spacetide 2023 in Japan and the 2023 European Space Forum in Belgium. Spacetide 2023, “The Rise of Space Economy,” will be webcast on YouTube and the President of JAXA is one of the speakers.  It’s not clear from the ESF website if they have a virtual option, but the speaker lineup is impressive and includes top level ESA and European Union space officials, including ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.

Lt. Gen. John Shaw, Deputy Commander, U.S. Space Command, will speak at a Mitchell Institute webinar this Thursday.

There are two events here in the U.S. this week that may be of interest, too. The Mitchell Institute will host Lt. Gen. John Shaw, Deputy Commander of U.S. Space Command, at a Schriever Spacepower Series webinar on Thursday, and the National Academies’ Committee on NASA Critical Workforce, Infrastructure and Technology meets virtually on Thursday and Friday (the agenda isn’t posted yet, though).

The pace picks up next week with meetings of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), NASA’s Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s 2023 Intelligence and National Security Summit among others.

The Senate returns on Monday, July 10, and the House on July 11. The chair and vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced before the recess that they will mark up the FY2024 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill on Thursday, July 13, along with two other bills. CJS funds NASA and NOAA.

The House Appropriations Committee has marked up several FY2024 bills, but not CJS.  It’s possible they could act on it next week, too, but they haven’t released their schedule.

In total, House Appropriations has marked up six of the 12 bills and the Senate committee has finished two. The latter is quite an achievement since the Senate committee did not mark up any bills at the full committee level for the past two years. Appropriators are working against a deadline set in the Fiscal Responsbility Act that if all 12 bills are not enacted by January 1, 2024, a one-percent across-the-board cut will go into effect for all discretionary spending, defense and non-defense.

The events we know about as of Sunday morning, July 2, are shown below. Check back throughout the week for others we learn about later and add to our Calendar or changes to these.

Tuesday, July 4

Tuesday-Thursday, July 4-6 

Wednesday-Thursday, July 5-6

Thursday, July 6

Thursday-Friday, July 6-7

Monday-Thursday, July 10-13

Monday-Friday, July 10-14

Tuesday, July 11

  • COMSTAC, virtual, 1:00-3:00 pm ET

Tuesday-Thursday, July 11-13

Wednesday-Thursday, July 12-13

Thursday, July 13

Thursday-Friday, July 13-14

Friday, July 14

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