What’s Happening in Space Policy June 2-9, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 2-9, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week plus a day of June 2-9, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session for at least part of the week.

During the Week

The Starliner Crew Flight Test ALMOST got off yesterday, but it was not to be. Thus it is once again on our list of upcoming events. NASA, Boeing, and ULA have not announced a new launch date as of press time, but did decide not to try again today. Wednesday and Thursday, June 5 and 6, are the next two opportunities. If they can’t go on either of those days, it’ll be a while since the Atlas V-Centaur rocket and the Starliner spacecraft have life-limited items like batteries that need to be replaced. We’ll post any new information we get as quickly as possible. Launch time on June 5 is 10:52 am ET and on June 6 is 10:29 am ET.  [UPDATE: They will try again on Wednesday, June 5.]

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V-Centaur rocket at Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, prior to the second Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test attempt. Credit: ULA tweet, June 1, 2024, 7:26 am ET.

If it turns out to be June 6, we may get a double-header since SpaceX is targeting that day for its fourth Starship Integrated Flight Test (or Orbital Flight Test) pending regulatory approval. The company had identified June 5 as a potential launch date, but changed it to June 6 yesterday.  As with Starliner, we’ll keep our Calendar up to date so check back often. The Starship launch windows usually open at 7:00 am Central Time (8:00 am Eastern).

On Capitol Hill, it’s a short week because quite a few members are headed to Normandy, France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6.

Before that, the House is scheduled to take up the FY2025 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) FY2025 appropriations bill if it gets through the Rules Committee and the House adopts the Rule. It’s usually one of the least controversial appropriations bills, but last year everything was controversial. We’ll see how the appropriations process fares this year.

House Appropriations subcommittees continue to mark up their FY2025 bills. The Defense and Financial Services-General Government subcommittees will do that on Wednesday. The FSGG bill includes the Federal Communications Commission. The Defense Subcommittee markup is closed.

On Tuesday, the Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on NOAA’s FY2025 budget request. NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad is the witness. NOAA not only operates the nation’s civil weather satellites — the next geostationary meteorological satellite, GOES-U, is scheduled for launch on June 25 — but is home to the Office of Space Commerce.

Illustration of NOAA’s GOES-U geostationary meteorological satellite, which is scheduled for launch on June 25. NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad will testify to a House SS&T subcommittee about NOAA’s FY2025 budget request on Tuesday.

It’ll be interesting to see how much of the hearing focuses on space rather than NOAA’s many other activities. Fisheries are often the main topic at NOAA hearings, but GOES-U is unique in that it’s the first geostationary environmental satellite to carry a coronagraph to study the Sun and warn of space weather events like the solar storms we just experienced. The Office of Space Commerce is developing a database to help warn of other dangers — potential satellite collisions. And then there’s the whole debate about whether NOAA should be assigned mission authorization responsibilities, a topic in the committee’s commercial space bill. Lots to talk about in addition to fish.

Off the Hill, the Space Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine holds its spring meeting Wednesday-Friday in Washington, DC. The agenda includes lots of great speakers such as NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, SMD Associate Administrator Nicky Fox, ESDMD Associate Administrator Cathy Koerner, and a panel of congressional staff from the House and Senate. Open sessions will be livestreamed.

Ryan Faith’s essay “Taking Aristotle to the Moon and Beyond” in ISSUES in Science and Technology is the catalyst for a webinar on Thursday that includes Faith and other experts in the philosophy and ethics of space exploration.

On Thursday afternoon, your SpacePolicyOnline.com editor has the pleasure of  moderating a webinar for the Academies’ ISSUES in Science and Technology magazine and Arizona State University on “How Can Philosophy Help NASA Explore the Cosmos?”.  The catalyst for the discussion is an essay by Ryan Faith recently published in ISSUES entitled “Taking Aristotle to the Moon and Beyond.” He’ll be joined by Dan Hastings, MIT interim Vice Chancellor and President of AIAA whose website trumpets that “I have seen every episode and/or movie of Star Trek, Stargate, and Star Wars that has ever been made”; Erica Rodgers from NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy and Strategy that held a workshop on “Artemis, Ethics and Society” last year; and Tony Milligan, a Scottish philosopher from Kings College, London who wrote the book “Nobody Owns the Moon: The Ethics of Space Exploitation.” Should be stimulating!

We’ll also mention that the ILA Berlin Air Show is Wednesday-Sunday. ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said they’ll announce the launch date for the inaugural Ariane 6 flight there. He’s already said the launch tentatively will be in the first half of July, but he’ll apparently reveal a specific day they’re targeting.

Lots of other great events this week, including the Washington Post hosting the Artemis II crew on Tuesday, the Beyond Earth Institute’s webinar on “Next Steps Towards Artificial Gravity” on Wednesday, and many more.

Those events and others 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 or changes to these.

Tuesday, June 4

Tuesday-Friday, June 4-7

Wednesday, June 5

Wednesday-Thursday, June 5-6

Wednesday-Friday, June 5-7

Wednesday-Sunday, June 5-9

Thursday, June 6

Thursday-Friday, June 6-7

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