What’s Happening in Space Policy June 9-15, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 9-15, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 9-15, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test is on our list of upcoming events yet again this week, but for a very different reason. The mission finally lifted off last Wednesday and Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams floated into the International Space Station on Thursday. They will call Washington, DC tomorrow, first to talk to NASA officials (1:00 pm ET) and then to the White House (2:40 pm ET). Chirag Parikh, deputy assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council will moderate the White House call, but NASA’s announcement didn’t specify who else will be there. Both calls will be broadcast on NASA TV and the agency’s other media platforms.

Nominally Butch and Suni are visiting ISS for 8 days, which means Friday is the first opportunity for them to return home so we have it on our list. NASA officials stress, however, that no decision has been made yet. [UPDATE: NASA said late this afternoon they are targeting June 18.] There’s plenty of work for them to do on the ISS helping out the 7-person crew already there and weather is always a consideration. Starliner lands on land, not water. It’s two primary landing sites are at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The seven Expedition 71 crew members gather with the two Crew Flight Test members for a team portrait aboard the space station. In the front from left are, Suni Williams (NASA), Oleg Kononenko (Roscosmos), and Butch Wilmore (NASA). Second row from left are, Alexander Grebenkin (Roscosmos), Tracy C. Dyson (NASA), and Mike Barratt (NASA).  In the back are, Nikolai Chub (Roscosmos), Jeanette Epps (NASA), and Matthew Dominick (NASA). Photo credit: NASA Television

With Starliner Calypso docked at the Harmony module’s forward port, Crew Dragon Endeavour at Harmony’s zenith port, and Soyuz MS-25 at the Prichal module, for the first time in the ISS’s more than 23 years of permanent occupancy three different types of spacecraft capable of transporting humans are at the ISS simultaneously. Three cargo ships also are there — two Russian Progresses and a U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus.

June 6, 2024: International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Soyuz MS-25 crew ship, and the Progress 87 and 88 resupply ships. Credit: NASA

It’s a busy place and among the upcoming tasks are three U.S. spacewalks this month. NASA will hold a news conference on Tuesday to explain them. The first is Thursday with Tracy Dyson and Matt Dominick, who arrived on Russia’s Soyuz MS-25 and SpaceX’s Crew-8 respectively.  The second is June 20. The date for the third hasn’t been announced yet.

Stay tuned for more information about Starliner’s return and the spacewalks. [UPDATE: NASA said late this afternoon (Sunday) they are targeting June 18 for Starliner’s return. Details remain TBD.]

Closer to home, on Capitol Hill markups continue in the House Appropriations Committee (Defense and Financial Services-General Government on Wednesday) and the Senate Armed Services Committee will mark up the FY2025 National Defense Authorization Act Tuesday-Friday. The parts of the SASC markup of interest to the space community are closed so we have to wait until the end of the week to find out what they decided. They might be done earlier than Friday depending on how controversial the markup becomes.

Shannon Pallone, U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command’s PEO for Battle Management Command, Control & Communications will participate in a CSIS event on Wednesday on “Integrating Space for the Joint Fight.”

CSIS has an interesting meeting on Wednesday (in-person and livestreamed) on “Integrating Space for the Joint Fight.”

The first part is a fireside chat moderated by CSIS’s Clayton Swope with two government officials: Col. Bryon McClain and Shannon Pallone, both with the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command. McClain is Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Space Domain Awareness. Pallone is PEO for Battle Management Command, Control & Communications. They’ll discuss “trends and capabilities in space domain awareness, combat power, connectivity, and integration that are key to operating in contested environments and supporting the joint force.”

That will be followed by an industry panel “to discuss the enabling components, capabilities, and role of commercial providers in expanding the competitive advantage of U.S. space forces” with representatives from Azure Space (Stephen Kitay), HEO USA Inc (Nate Notargiacomo), and True Anomaly (Frank Di Pentino). CSIS’s Scott Stapp will moderate that discussion.

Lots of other great events as usual, including the spring meeting of the National Academies’ Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (Tuesday-Wednesday), a Space News webinar on U.S.-Japan Perspectives on Space Sustainability (Wednesday), and SSPI’s Future of Satellite Spectrum (Wednesday).

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning are shown below. Check back for others we learn about later and add to our Calendar or changes to these.

Sunday-Friday, June 9-14 (continued from Saturday)

Monday, June 10

Tuesday, June 11

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 11-12

Tuesday-Thursday, June 11-13

Tuesday-Friday, June 11-14

Wednesday, June 12

Wednesday-Thursday, June 12-13

Thursday, June 13

Friday, June 14

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