What’s Happening in Space Policy June 27-July 3, 2021

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 27-July 3, 2021

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 27-July 3, 2021 and any insight we can offer about them. The House is in session through Thursday before beginning its one-week July 4th recess. The Senate’s two-week recess (except for pro forma sessions) is already underway.

During the Week

The Senate is taking two weeks off, returning for legislative business on July 12. The House meets Monday-Thursday and then heads out for a one-week recess. When it returns on July 12, it will be for a “committee work week” where committees meet virtually and the House meets only in pro forma sessions. House appropriators will be busy marking up bills that fund space activities that week, though, so enjoy this little break while you can.

Even the usual array of space-related committee meetings, webinars, and conferences is smaller that we’ve seen recently as summer vacations take hold, but there still are some very interesting events here and abroad.

Among the highlights here this week is a meeting of NASA’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee (Tuesday-Wednesday) where hopefully we’ll hear more about efforts to get the Hubble Space Telescope back online from Astrophysics Division Director Paul Hertz. He is on the agenda for 11:10 am ET on Tuesday. Updates on the James Webb and Roman space telescopes are scheduled for Wednesday.

CSIS has a very interesting webinar Tuesday morning about the Space Race in the 21st Century.  No, it’s not about China this time, but Russia, specifically its “evolving military space capabilities.” It features three great speakers: Doug Loverro, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy (and briefly head of NASA’s human spaceflight program); Gen. Robert Kehler (Ret.), former Commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and Victoria Samson, Director of the Washington Office of the Secure World Foundation (SWF). Two CSIS experts are the moderators: Kaitlyn Johnson and Heather Conley. CSIS and SWF issue complementary annual reports on counterspace capabilities, including Russia’s, that are good preparation for this discussion.

June 30 (Wednesday) is International Asteroid Day as declared by the United Nations in 2016. A number of events are taking place including a NASA Science Live program at 1:00 pm ET according to the NASA TV schedule.  We don’t have other details, but it’s sure to be interesting.

The Space Court Foundation will address the provocative question “Does Space Security Matter to Industry” also on Wednesday. Therese Jones from Satellite Industry Association, Toby Harris from Astroscale, Rada Popova from ISAR Aerospace, and Daniel Porras from the Secure World Foundation will discuss industry’s views on debris mitigation, security threats, and whether commercial actors should be part of the international dialogue to improve space security.

On Thursday, the Aerospace Corporation’s Space Policy Show will look into what the U.S. Space Force might learn from how the U.S. Marine Corps is exploring, implementing and executing “force design” for using and leveraging technology. Aerospace says the Space Force plans to use force design to determine what it will do and how through the Space Warfighting Analysis Center.

Elsewhere in the world, on Tuesday, Russia will launch its next cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), Progress MS-17, or Progress 78 in NASA parlance.  It’s taking the slow route, docking two days (July 1) later at the Poisk module. But that’s temporary. Russia is getting ready to launch its long-awaited 20 metric ton Nauka (Science) module on July 15 and in October Progress MS-17 will make an automated undocking and redock with Nauka, where it will remain for another month. Nauka (once known as FGB-2) is more than a decade late. Anatoly Zak at RussianSpaceWeb.com tells the tale.

In the U.K., the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) is holding its annual Reinventing Space conference Monday-Wednesday in a hybrid format. The in-person event is at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center in London. Former ESA Director General Jan Woerner is one of the keynote speakers amidst the three days of keynotes, panel sessions, and technical sessions.

The U.K.’s University of Manchester Discoverer Project has a separate conference Monday-Tuesday that is entirely virtual. That one is focused on the utility of Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) missions & technologies especially for earth observation.

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.

Sunday-Wednesday, June 27-30

Monday-Tuesday, June 28-29

Monday-Wednesday, June 28-30

Tuesday, June 29

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 29-30

Wednesday, June 30

Thursday, July 1

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