What's Happening in Space Policy June 1-5, 2015

What's Happening in Space Policy June 1-5, 2015

Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of June 1-5, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session (the Senate returns to work today, actually, in a rare Sunday meeting to figure out what to do about the Patriot Act).

During the Week

The House is scheduled to consider two FY2016 appropriations bills this week:  Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS), which funds NASA and NOAA; and Transportation-HUD, which funds the FAA, including its Office of Commercial Space Transportation.  Both bills will be up before the House Rules Committee tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 pm ET where decisions will be made on what (if any) amendments may be offered, how much time is allowed for debate, etc.  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s floor schedule indicates the House will take up CJS first on Tuesday or thereafter.

In other appropriations action, the House Appropriations Committee will markup the FY2016 defense bill on Tuesday morning. Subcommittee markup last week was closed and the committee has not yet posted the draft bill or report.

A number of events off the Hill also are scheduled.  To highlight just one, a panel discussion on Wednesday sponsored by the Center for American Progress is intriguing because of its unusual line up of speakers.  The topic is “Human Space Exploration: Looking Back 50 Years, Getting Ready for the Next 50” and the description talks about the technical, physical and psychological challenges of sending humans to Mars.  With three major conferences already held on that topic in D.C. this year, it is hard to imagine what else there is to say, but the Center has come up with a unique set of panelists:

  • Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James,
  • renowned MIT space scientist Maria Zuber, and
  • the head of a company known more in recent years in civil space circles for its robotic missions (e.g. James Webb Space Telescope) than human spaceflight, Northrop Grumman Chairman, President and CEO Wes Bush.

Fascinating and brilliant individuals all, but not people one would expect to expound on the history of the human spaceflight program or the challenges of sending astronauts to Mars.  Still, Zuber knows a lot about the Moon (she was PI for GRAIL and on the LRO team) and is Vice President for Research at MIT, which gives her a broad portfolio.  Grumman (before its merger with Northrop) had a critical role in the Apollo program building the Lunar Module and for several years was the integration contractor for what was then called Space Station Freedom.  Rudy deLeon, a Senior Fellow at the Center, is another panelist.  He is a former Deputy Secretary of Defense, former Boeing executive, former undersecretary of the Air Force, and former HASC staff director (his government career has a lot of overlap with James’s).  His bio indicates he currently focuses on national security interests and U.S.-China relations, all of which should add another interesting dimension to the discussion. It will be nice to hear some fresh viewpoints on this topic.  Especially the Air Force’s.  The event will be webcast on the Center’s website.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.

Monday, June 1

Tuesday, June 2

Wednesday, June 3

Thursday, June 4

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