What's Happening in Space Policy July 7-18, 2014

What's Happening in Space Policy July 7-18, 2014

This edition of our list of space policy events covers two weeks of activities (July 7-18, 2014) as the schedule remains relatively light.  The Senate returns to work tomorrow, July 7, and the House on Tuesday, July 8.

During the Weeks

The Senate’s schedule for considering legislation remains up in the air.  Whether the two parties will reach agreement to allow appropriations bills to proceed to debate after the problems last month is a mystery.  The “minibus” incorporating three of the bills — Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS, including NASA and NOAA), Transportation-HUD (T-HUD, including FAA’s space office), and Agriculture — is ready if and when that happens.  The House already has passed CJS and T-HUD, and began consideration of the Agriculture bill in June.  The House and Senate versions of all the bills differ, of course, but if they could at least get passed by the House and Senate, negotiations on a compromise could begin. 

The House has 26 days of legislative business (16 in July, 10 in September) remaining before October 1 when FY2015 begins.  The House also will be in session Oct 1-2 before recessing for the rest of the month so Members can devote full time to campaigning (the mid-term elections are on November 4 — DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!).   The Senate’s schedule as published on its website runs only through September 4 with everything after that “TBA” so no equivalent number of remaining legislative days is available.  It will be in session from tomorrow through August 1, and out of session the rest of August (like the House).  What comes after that is, well, TBA.

We’ve heard rumors of a couple of space-related hearings that might be held this month, but nothing official so they are not on this list or on our calendar.   If they come to fruition, we’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, some interesting launches could be on tap.  Russia may — or may not — try again to launch the Angara 1.2 booster on a suborbital test flight on Wednesday, July 9.  The launch was scrubbed on June 27.  There are conflicting reports in the Russian media on the status of preparations for launch and no official announcement is posted on the websites of the rocket’s manufacturer, Khrunichev, or the Russian space agency Roscosmos.  However, if July 9 is the day as Russian media reports suggested yesterday, Bob Christy at zarya.info has calculated that the launch time would be approximately 12:15 GMT (8:15 am Eastern Daylight Time-EDT).

Orbital Sciences is planning to launch Antares on a Cygnus cargo run (Orb-2) to the International Space Station on Friday, July 11 at 1:40 pm EDT from Wallops Island, VA.  SpaceX’s rescheduled launch of six Orbcomm satellites could come next week, but no new launch information has been posted on the SpaceX or Orbcomm websites.  SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a radio interview on The Space Show that it might take place around July 14, but that’s all we know.  Since it’s so tentative, we are not listing it below.

Everyone is welcome to attend the 60th anniversary of the American Astronautical Society on July 16 at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, DC from 6:00-9:00 pm EDT.   It’s a big auditorium, so there’s lots of room.  The event features NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, current JPL Director Charles Elachi, and the presentation of an AAS Lifetime Achievement Award to former JPL Director and Voyager project scientist Ed Stone.  The event is free, but includes a reception afterwards so they need to know how many people are coming, thus an RSVP is required by JULY 11 to dthompson@astronautical.org.

Wednesday, July 9

  • TENTATIVE date for another attempt at a first suborbital test for Russia’s new Angara rocket, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia, 8:15 am EDT (tentative)

Thursday, July 10

Friday, July 11

Tuesday, July 15

Wednesday, July 16

Thursday, July 17

Thursday-Friday, July 17-18



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