What’s Happening in Space Policy March 12-18, 2023

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 12-18, 2023

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 12-18, 2023 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session beginning Tuesday.

During the Week

Welcome to Daylight Saving Time in the United States (except Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe it). Hopefully everyone remembered to “spring forward” one hour this morning. Remember that other countries switch to summer time on other dates so if you have a virtual meeting with someone elsewhere in the world over the next couple of weeks, be sure to double check the time.

Now, on to what’s coming up in space policy this week.

Margaret Vo Schaus, NASA CFO, will brief the media on NASA’s FY2024 budget request along with NASA AA Bob Cabana on Monday. 

President Biden released the “skinny” version of his FY2024 budget request with top-line numbers on Thursday. The details come out tomorrow (Monday).

NASA will post its complete request online at 10:00 am ET. At 1:00 pm, Associate Administrator Bob Cabana and Chief Financial Officer Margaret Vo Schaus will hold a media telecon to discuss some of the details of the $27.2 billion request, a 7.1 percent increase. Audio will be broadcast on NASA Live.

Also at 10:00 am ET, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Christopher Grady will hold a press conference to discuss DOD’s $842 billion request. More specific details on the request for the Department of the Air Force, which includes the U.S. Space Force, will be provided at 1:40 pm ET by Air Force officials. Both will be webcast on DOD’s website.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force, will testify to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The committee’s website shows the time as 3:45 pm ET, but an email they sent on Friday said 4:45 pm ET.  [UPDATE, March 13: The SASC website has been changed to show the hearing is at 4:45 pm ET.]

NASA astrophysicist Amber Straughn is one of five women speaking at SXSW on Tuesday on a panel about the James Webb Space Telescope. It will be broadcast on NASA TV.

Three major conferences are taking place this week.

The South by Southwest or SXSW extravaganza is already underway in Austin, TX. It features a number of space-related sessions, but only one will be broadcast on NASA TV. A panel of five women from NASA and ESA will discuss the James Webb Space Telescope in a keynote entitled “Unfold the Universe: NASA’s Webb Space Telescope” at 2:00 pm ET on Tuesday.

The annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, LPSC, is this week at its usual venue, The Woodlands, TX and online.  LPSC is always a treasure-trove of exciting discoveries from past and present missions as well as plans for the future. This year is no exception. The agenda looks fascinating. Several NASA Town Hall meetings are on the schedule. One on Wednesday will focus on science and the Artemis program. Another on Thursday will highlight Mars Sample Return. Mars InSight PI Bruce Banerdt presents the Masursky Lecture tomorrow.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is the keynote speaker at the WSBR Flagship Luncheon at Satellite 2023 on Tuesday.

Turning to commercial space, the annual Satellite conference is taking place here in D.C. at its usual location, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. It also has a top notch agenda, in this case featuring key corporate and government decision makers for the commercial satellite sector. Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel gives the keynote address at the Washington Space Business Roundtable’s flagship luncheon on Tuesday. The Space Generation Advisory Council is holding a two-day event in conjunction with Satellite 2023, called SGx2023. Among the sessions on its very interesting agenda is a panel tomorrow on International Norms of Behavior in space.

The International Space Station continues to be a busy place.  SpaceX will launch its 27th cargo resupply mission on Tuesday, SpX-27. NASA will hold a media telecon tomorrow evening after the Launch Readiness Review. That’s tentatively set for 8:00 pm ET, but the time could change if the LRR runs long. On Tuesday there’s a briefing in the morning on the science experiments that will be delivered to the ISS. The launch itself is Tuesday night at 8:30 pm ET.

Ellen Stofan, Under Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian Institution, will participate in a media briefing on Tuesday about the TEMPO air quality instrument.

Also on Tuesday, NASA and the Smithsonian are going all out to highlight a new air pollution monitoring instrument that will fly as a hosted payload on the Intelsat 40E satellite that’s getting ready for launch as early as next month. The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution or TEMPO is the first space-based instrument able to monitor air pollution hourly at high spatial-resolution in most of North America. TEMPO was built as a partnership between NASA and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (apparently now called Center for Astrophysics |Harvard & Smithsonian) and was selected in 2012 as the first in NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program. NASA and the Smithsonian will hold a media briefing at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Tuesday morning that will be broadcast on NASA TV. Speakers include Ellen Stofan, Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science and Research. She’s a former Director of the NASM and former NASA Chief Scientist.

One last quick highlight: Axiom Space will unveil a prototype of their new lunar spacesuit on Wednesday at Space Center Houston. They won the contract from NASA only last summer, but NASA needs to have it ready before astronauts return to the lunar surface, so it’s on the fast track. NASA TV will broadcast the event Wednesday morning.

We’ll be keeping an eye open for an announcement from Relativity Space on when they’ll attempt their Terran-1 rocket launch again. Two tries last week, on Wednesday and Saturday, didn’t work out.

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 or changes to these.

Sunday, March 12

Sunday, March 12 (continued from last week)-Sunday March 19

Monday, March 13

Monday-Tuesday, March 13-14

  • SGx2023 (Space Generation Advisory Council), in conjunction with Satellite 2023

Monday-Thursday, March 13-16

Monday-Friday, March 13-17

Tuesday, March 14

Wednesday, March 15

Thursday, March 16

Thursday-Sunday, March 16-19

Friday, March 17

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