What’s Happening in Space Policy June 24-30, 2018

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 24-30, 2018

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 24-30, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

More action is expected on the FY2019 defense appropriations bills this week. The House plans to pass its version before it adjourns on Thursday afternoon for the July 4 recess.  Action starts tomorrow with Rules Committee consideration. Across the Hill, the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up its bill on Tuesday at subcommittee level and on Thursday at full committee.  Appropriators on both sides of the Hill and both sides of the aisle are eager to restore “regular order” and get all 12 appropriations bills passed this year by avoiding polarizing policy provisions (riders) that often derail these bills.  We’ll see if they can convince their colleagues to help achieve that.

The House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) committee is scheduled to mark up the American Space SAFE Management Act on Wednesday.  A draft is posted on the committee’s website.  About half the bill deals with NASA’s role in the science and technology behind Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and half directs the Department of Commerce to be the SSA interface with U.S. states and with commercial and international entities.  It will be interesting to see if any other House committee asks for joint referral on the bill.  House SS&T oversees some aspects of the Commerce Department (e.g. commercial space activities in general, NOAA’s satellite programs, the National Weather Service, and NIST), but the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee has jurisdiction over the Department as a whole.  Theoretically it may want a piece of the action.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was a leader on this topic when he was a Member of Congress and continues to be very engaged in his new job.  Politico will hold a “conversation” with him at part of its Politico Live series on Wednesday evening at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.  It will “explore NASA’s priorities for human spaceflight, the role of an accelerating private space economy, and the U.S. role in space governance.”   Wouldn’t be surprised if SSA and Space Traffic Management come up.   The event, sponsored by Maxar Technologies, will be webcast.

On Tuesday, the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will hold a hearing to obtain stakeholders’ perspectives on commercial space transportation regulatory reform.  The Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) was tasked by the President to review and revise its regulations by next February.  AST is part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is part of the Department of Transportation,  House SS&T has jurisdiction over commercial space activities at DOT, but House T&I has jurisdiction over DOT and FAA as a whole.  This is another instance where more than one committee can assert that it has a role to play in these deliberations. Witnesses for the T&I hearing are from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Blue Origin, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance.

A Mars “unconference” — yes, you read that right — will take place at the Library of Congress Kluge Center in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Friday.  It is entitled “Decolonizing Mars: An Unconference on Inclusion and Equity in Space Exploration.”  According to the event’s website, the program for an “unconference” is collectively set by the participants during the meeting itself.  Attendance is by nomination/invitation only and the RSVP deadline has passed, so if you’re not on the list already, there’s no point in showing up.  It does not appear that it will be webcast.  The website says a related public meeting will be held on September 27 on “Becoming Interplanetary: What Living on Earth Can Tell Us about Living on Mars.”

Lots of other events on tap this week including the Space Frontier Foundation’s New Space 2018 conference in Seattle; NASA’s Exploration Science Forum at NASA-Ames; a number of events over several days associated with Asteroid Day, which is on Saturday; and the next SpaceX cargo launch to the International Space Station.  Rocket Lab also is trying to get its third launch off the pad — which is in New Zealand. Called “It’s Business Time,” the launch has been delayed a number of times. Right now it is supposed to lift off tomorrow (Monday) evening Eastern Daylight Time, which is Tuesday lunchtime in New Zealand.  We haven’t included it on our calendar because the date changes so often, but follow us (@SpcPlcyOnline) or Rocket Lab itself (@RocketLab) on Twitter to keep track of it.

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-Friday, June 25-29

Tuesday, June 26

Tuesday-Thursday, June 26-28

Wednesday, June 27

Wednesday-Thursday, June 27-28

Thursday, June 28

Thursday-Friday, June 28-29

Friday, June 29

Friday-Sunday, June 29-July 1

Saturday, June 30 






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