What’s Happening in Space Policy March 22-April 4, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 22-April 4, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next TWO weeks, March 22-April 4, 2020, and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate schedules are in flux.

During the Weeks

The coronavirus pandemic is having profound effects everywhere, including the space program and our space policy community.  We’ve posted a number of articles all week about the changes at NASA and we’ll write a “where are we now” piece soon, but in terms of this list of upcoming events, here’s what we know at the moment.

Congress is totally focused on passing legislation to deal with the economic consequences of this situation.  Two bills have been enacted already and the Senate is working on a third this weekend with the goal of passing it Monday.  Whether the House will return to Washington to vote on it or find a way to do it remotely — which has never been done before — remains to be seen.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been strongly opposed to the idea, but these are unprecedented times.  What that means for hearings is another unknown.  Only one is scheduled on either the House or Senate side at the moment (a SASC posture hearing for the Army) and it probably will be postponed like the others.

Every in-person meeting that we know of for the next two weeks — and well beyond — has been cancelled or postponed, including the National Space Council meeting that was scheduled for this coming Tuesday.  Once again, a glance at our calendar pages tells the tale.

That is, except for those transformed into virtual gatherings including the Astro 2020 steering committee meeting, the Space Studies Board (SSB) discipline committee meetings that were part of Space Science Week, and the NASA Advisory Council STEM Engagement Committee.

Astro 2020 is the ongoing Decadal Survey for astronomy and astrophysics activities at NASA, NSF and DOE.  The three-day meeting has been scaled back to two, the first of which is entirely closed.  The only open sessions are on March 26 from 10:00 am – 1:35 pm ET and feature representatives from JAXA, ESA, and the European Southern Observatory.

SSB’s annual Space Science Week was scheduled for March 31-April 2.  It usually combines individual and joint meetings of the five SSB discipline committees, with a plenary session and an evening public lecture.  The latter two have been cancelled, but the committees will still meet, albeit virtually.  Each committee has its own agenda, accessible on the SSB website.  Most are two days, but one (CAPS) is three, all with a mixture of open and closed sessions.

  • Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA)
  • Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS)
  • Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space (CBPSS)
  • Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (CESAS)
  • Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP)

They all have REALLY interesting discussions, but one in particular we will point out is the CBPSS session on March 31 highlighting the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station — “What We Have Learned and Where We Are Going.”  That begins at 4:30 pm ET.

The NASA Advisory Council’s STEM Engagement Advisory Committee will meet virtually instead of at NASA Headquarters on March 26.  We do not have updated information on NASA’s ISS Advisory Committee meeting that is scheduled for March 30 as to whether it also will be held virtually or cancelled. [UPDATE: The meeting will take place virtually.]

The Aerospace Corporation has come up with a great idea to keep our policy minds nourished between now and the end of April — the “Space Policy Show.”  It’s a 12-part series of hour-long webinars on a variety of fascinating topics.  Four of them are in this two week period, all at 1:00-2:00 pm ET.  The full list is posted in each of our calendar entries for this series.

  • March 24: Understanding the National Security Space Budget
  • March 26: Game Changer: Blockchain in the Space Sector
  • March 31: Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Approach for 5G Services & Critical Weather Forecasts
  • April 2: What the Expiration of New START Could Mean for U.S. Space Forces

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning, March 22, are shown below.  Check back throughout the weeks for additions or changes that we make to our Calendar.

Tuesday, March 24

Thursday, March 26

Monday, March 30

Tuesday, March 31

Tuesday-Wednesday, March 31-April 1

Tuesday-Thursday, March 31-April 2

Thursday, April 2

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