What’s Happening in Space Policy June 21-27, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 21-27, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 21-27, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session for all or part of the week.

During the Week

Hopes for work on the FY2021 appropriations bills to officially begin in the Senate this week seem to have been dashed by disagreements between Republicans and Democrats on the scope of the measures.  Some subcommittee markups were anticipated this week, but committee chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) is delaying action because Democrats want to include money for COVID-19 relief and policing reform and Republicans don’t.  A new schedule has not been announced.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up its bills in early-mid July and the goal is pass them by the end of that month — an ambitious schedule to be sure. Congress will be in recess for most of August. FY2021 begins on October 1.  It is widely expected that a Continuing Resolution (CR) will be passed to fund the government through the November elections (or longer), but committee markups at least give agencies a general idea of what they can expect, which helps with planning.

Hopes also were high that the Senate would begin work on the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was approved the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on June 10, but that has been delayed, too, so the Senate can focus on a policing reform bill first. The House also plans to vote on a policing reform bill this week and will meet in legislative session on Thursday and Friday to do that.

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will mark up of its version of the NDAA at subcommittee level this week (Strategic Forces is tomorrow) and at full committee on July 1.  This is another bill House leadership hopes to pass before the August recess.

No hearings directly about the space program have been announced for the coming week, but the Senate Commerce Committee will hold an oversight hearing for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  A number of satellite issues are being considered by the FCC, from space debris to reallocating spectrum currently assigned to satellite services to terrestrial users (including the Ligado debate), so it could be of interest.

Three advisory committees are meeting, virtually, of course. They begin tomorrow (Monday) with the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC).  This is the meeting that had to be rescheduled from May 19 when the National Space Council suddenly decided to meet that day.  The half-day meeting begins with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) head Wayne Monteith.  The Space Council’s Scott Pace will speak later in the morning.  The committee’s membership has been updated.  Charity Weeden of Astroscale is the new chair, replacing its long-time chair Mike Gold who went to work for NASA.  If you were too late to register for the Zoom meeting, no worries.  It will be broadcast on YouTube.

NOAA’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) meets Tuesday-Thursday.  They have a lot to talk about with the new regulations having finally been approved.  They’ve got a who’s who of policymakers on tap including three members of Congress (Sen. Cruz, Rep. Babin, and Rep. Horn); Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross; Scott Pace from the Space Council; Neil Jacobs, acting head of NOAA (whose nomination to get the job permanently is pending in the Senate); Kevin O’Connell from NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce; and John Hill, DOD’s Principle Director for Space Policy.  Glenn Talia from NOAA’s Office of General Counsel will given an overview of the final rule Tuesday morning.  Note that on Tuesday the meeting begins at 9:30 am ET, not 10:00 am ET as originally announced.

NASA’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee meets Tuesday-Wednesday.  NASA Astrophysics Division Director Paul Hertz, to whom this committee reports, will give an update on the division’s portfolio on Tuesday around noon.

Quite a few very interesting webinars are on tap, too. To highlight just two, Space News has another terrific one coming up on Wednesday about Mars exploration. Three key NASA people involved in Mars Perseverance and future Mars probes — Jim Watzin, Ken Farley, and Rick Davis — will talk with Space News’ Brian Berger and Leonard David, a journalist and author of Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet and co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.

The next day, Aerospace Corporation’s Space Policy Show will bring the focus closer to home — cislunar space.  Jim Vedda and George Pollock will discuss their new report “Cislunar Stewardship: Planning for Sustainability and International Cooperation.”

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.

Monday, June 22

Tuesday, June 23

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 23-24

Tuesday-Thursday, June 23-25

Wednesday, June 24

Thursday, June 25

Friday, June 26

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