What’s Happening in Space Policy March 20-26, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 20-26, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 20-26, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

We don’t have that long a list of events this week, but it’s still really busy with three major multi-day conferences:  Space Science Week at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the Satellite 2022 conference; and the American Astronautical Society’s Goddard Memorial Symposium.

Space Science Week begins tomorrow (Monday) and will take place virtually.  Monday and Tuesday are joint plenary sessions for the Space Studies Board (SSB) and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB). Wednesday and Thursday are meetings of the various space science discipline committees. Livestream links are on the event’s website and/or individual agendas for specific meetings.

NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen and his division directors, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Kathy Lueders, and NOAA Assistant Administrator for the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) are among the speakers those two days. Also an excellent roster of international speakers is on tap Tuesday including ESA’s Günther Hasinger, JAXA’s Masaki Fujimoto, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Chi Wang. Then a panel of representatives from India, Israel, South Korea, and Brazil. Len Fisk, former chair of SSB and now President of COSPAR, will speak on Tuesday as well and two other sessions address space situational awareness and space debris removal.

Amy Williams, University of Florida, will present a Space Science Week public lecture, A Decade of Discoveries on Mars, Tuesday evening.

There are two evening keynote lectures. Julia Phillips of the National Science Board will talk about “The State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2022” on Monday at 7:00 pm ET. Amy Williams of the University of Florida will discuss “The Curiosity to Explore and the Perseverance to Rove: A Decade of Discoveries on Mars” on Tuesday at 6:30 pm ET.

The six discipline committees have a fascinating variety of talks, nicely laid out in the “conference style agenda” on the meeting’s website. Something for everybody, from updates on NASA’s science missions to a panel on Commercial LEO Destinations to a roundtable discussion on “Regulatory Gap for Planetary Protection.”

Debra Facktor, Airbus US, will give the opening keynote at Satellite 2022 on Monday.

The Satellite 2022 conference (also Monday-Thursday) is back at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. after COVID forced them to delay last year’s conference and hold it at National Harbor instead. It’s a massive conference and exhibit covering just about any topic imaginable about satellites. Debra Facktor, head of U.S. Space Systems for Airbus U.S. Space and Defense kicks off the conference tomorrow morning and former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine keynotes the opening session on Tuesday. Here are a few of the great panels that caught our eye from a policy standpoint: Monday, “Government as a Bank, Customer or Partner? Finding the Right Balance” and “Space Tourism and Space Stations: Where are the Returns”; Tuesday, “The Great LEO Congestion Debate: What Does Crowded Mean in Space?” and “Next Generation Launchers: Gearing Up”; Wednesday, “How the U.S. Government and Military Leverages Commercial Capabilities and Operates in a Congested Space Environment”; and Thursday, “Building a Future Space Economy.”  Select sessions will be livestreamed.

ESA’s Antonella Nota, Space Telescope Science Instiute, will speak at the AAS Goddard Symposium on Friday.

AAS’s 2022 Goddard Memorial Symposium will take place Wednesday-Friday in College Park, MD this year. This conference does have a virtual option for its entirety (thank you, AAS — makes multitasking so much easier). The theme is “Envisioning Our Future in Space.” NOAA’s Steve Volz and NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen are the luncheon speakers on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Astrophysics is Wednesday’s topic, with sessions on the James Webb Space Telescope and the recently released Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics from the National Academies. On Thursday, there are panels on the return to Venus, technology to enable science, the DART mission, and two on Artemis. Friday has two panels about the International Space Station (“ISS Transition: Don’t Skip the Commercials” and “Science on the ISS: Building on Success”), a talk on international cooperation by ESA’s Antonella Nota, Associate Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (which operates Hubble and JWST), and panels on climate and space weather. Really an outstanding line-up.

Off the Earth, two ISS astronauts will do a spacewalk on Wednesday. NASA’s Raja Chari and ESA’s Matthias Maurer will step outside to take care of several maintenance tasks. Chari was just out last week with Kayla Barron. That was his first spacewalk. This time it’s Maurer getting his first look at Earth from outside the confines of the ISS. NASA TV will cover it live. ISS operations are continuing as normal despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions by Europe and the U.S. Three Russian cosmonauts just arrived so there are 10 people on board right now: five Russians, four Americans, and one German (Maurer).

ISS crew after the arrival of Soyuz MS-21 on March 18, 2022. The Soyuz MS-21 crew members are in yellow with blue, their school colors from the Bauman Moscow Technical Institute. Commander Oleg Artemyev is in front. Screengrab from Roscosmos TV (NASA TV did not cover this traditional welcome ceremony).

Everything is pretty quiet in Congress space-wise right now, but as a heads up, the Biden Administration said last week it will submit the FY2023 budget request on March 28. It’s 7 weeks late, but then Congress was 23 weeks late with FY2022 appropriations.

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.

Monday-Thursday, March 21-24

Wednesday, March 23

Wednesday-Friday, March 23-25

Thursday, March 24 (local time in Australia)

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