What’s Happening in Space Policy June 9-15, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 9-15, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 9-15, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

The big event from a space policy standpoint this week is markup of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).  The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) conducted its markup behind closed doors, but HASC does it in full public view.  It is typically a lengthy event that begins at 10:00 am ET and lasts until midnight or beyond.

The markup is on Wednesday, but tomorrow (Monday), HASC Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) will be at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to talk about it, so we can get a flavor for what he’s anticipating.  For readers of this website, the big issue is HASC’s position on the Space Force.  The Strategic Forces subcommittee did not address that topic when it marked up that section of the bill last week.  Subcommittee chairman Jim Cooper (D-TN) said it was “kicked to full committee” because of its broad jurisdictional considerations.  SASC approved creation of a Space Force, but not entirely along the lines proposed by the Pentagon.  HASC is widely expected to approve something (it originated the idea of a Space Corps two years ago), but it also may be different from the Administration’s proposal.  We will have to wait and see.  There are many other contentious issues in the bill and hopefully Smith will give a broad overview at CSIS tomorrow.  The CSIS event and the markup will be webcast.

On an entirely different topic but also tomorrow, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold a policy roundtable about the International Space Station (ISS) and the Gateway NASA plans to build in lunar orbit. The head of NASA’s human spaceflight program, Bill Gerstenmaier, and the Chief Strategy Officer of the “ISS National Lab” (also known as the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages research on the U.S. segment of ISS for non-NASA users), Rick Leach, will keynote the event, followed by a panel of government and industry experts.  According to the agenda, it also includes presentations from existing ISS users.  We’re told the event will not be webcast.

On Tuesday, the House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) Committee will hold a hearing on NASA’s science portfolio.  NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has four discipline-based divisions:  astrophysics, earth science, heliophysics (solar and space physics), and planetary science. Each discipline will have a representative at the witness table:  astrophysicist David Spergel from Princeton University; earth scientist Chelle Gentemann from Earth and Space Research; planetary scientist Mark Sykes from the Planetary Science Institute; and solar and space physicist Thomas Zurbuchen, who just happens also to be the head of SMD and undoubtedly will talk about the entire portfolio, including its support of the Artemis Moon 2024 program.  It is SMD that is managing the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to put science and technology payloads on the surface of the Moon using commercial robotic landers and rovers.  NASA announced the winners of the first three CLPS contracts last week.

Also on Tuesday, the House will begin consideration of FY2020 appropriations bills. By then, all 12 of the regular appropriations bills will be approved by the House Appropriations Committee (10 are done already; the other two will be marked up by the full committee Tuesday morning).  House leadership’s goal is to pass all of them by the end of June.  They will be bundled into several “minibuses.”  The first (H.R. 2740) will be taken up this week.  It combines the following five bills: Defense, Energy-Water, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Ops.

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 9 (continued from June 6)

Sunday-Tuesday June 9-11

Monday, June 10

Monday-Tuesday, June 10-11

Tuesday, June 11

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 11-12

Tuesday-Friday, June 11-14

Wednesday, June 12

Wednesday, June 12 – Friday, June 21

Friday, June 14

This article has been updated with the NOAA media telecon on Tuesday.

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