What’s Happening in Space Policy June 30-July 6, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 30-July 6, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 30-July 6, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess this week for the July 4 holiday.

During the Week

Happy Asteroid Day!  Today, June 30, is the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska event when a meteor exploded over Siberia and flattened trees for 2,000 square kilometers.  As far as anyone knows, no one was hurt in that remote area of Russia, but in recent decades it has become one of the milestone events in discussions of the threat to Earth from potentially hazardous asteroids. (Asteroids are rocks in space.  When they descend through Earth’s atmosphere, they are called meteors.  Pieces that survive to the surface are meteorites.)

Asteroid Day was founded in 2014 by a group of astronauts, scientists and others, which led to the United Nations declaring June 30 as International Asteroid Day in 2016.  Events take place around the world.  Here in Washington, D.C. today, for example, the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) is having a terrific event from 1:00-3:00 pm ET with NASM Director Ellen Stofan, former astronaut Tom Jones, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson and others.  The website unfortunately does not indicate if it will be webcast. [UPDATE: it WILL be webcast at this website.]

Apart from that, its a relatively quiet week with Congress and many others on vacation for the July 4 holiday (which is on Thursday).

Still, NASA has scheduled a slam-bang event, literally, early Tuesday morning.  It will conduct the ascent abort test for the Orion capsule at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.  The three-minute test will occur sometime between 7:00-11:00 am ET.  It will use a test version of the capsule that will NOT be recovered.  It will fall into the ocean and, presumably, sink.  But it should be an exciting event for those three minutes. NASA has a video showing what to expect.  The agency will hold a pre-test news conference on Monday at 11:30 am ET and a post-test news conference about two hours after the event on Tuesday.

By and large, though, we can all relax a bit this week and catch up on the piles of stuff on our desks — or sit at the beach or pool and read a good book.   If you haven’t picked yours out yet, we strongly recommend Leonard David’s Moon Rush: The New Space Race (National Geographic) or Douglas Brinkley’s American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race (Harper).  There are quite a few other good Apollo books out there as well as we all get ready for the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first steps on another world.

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, June 30

  • International Asteroid Day
    • events around the world, including a panel at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, 1:00-3:00 pm ET

Monday, July 1

Tuesday, July 2

  • Orion Ascent Abort Test, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, window is open 7:00-11:00 am ET (NASA TV)
    • Post-Test News Conference approximately 2 hours after the test

Wednesday-Friday, July 3-5

Thursday, July 4

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