What’s Happening in Space Policy March 3-9, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 3-9, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 3-9, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

The SpaceX Demo-1 Crew Dragon successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS) this morning, starting off a week of tests that will culminate on Friday when it undocks and splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.  So far everything is proceeding even better than planned.  Key events are being broadcast on NASA TV. On Friday, coverage begins at 12:15 am ET.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology on Wednesday afternoon.  Based on the witness list it is broadly scoped.  Whether or not space science and technology issues arise will depend in part on which members are present and if they ask questions about it.  But it should be an interesting hearing in any case.  Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences; Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh; and Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer at Pepsico are the witnesses.

Kevin O’Connell, Director of the Office of Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce will speak at a breakfast meeting of the Washington Space Business Roundtable on Wednesday morning.  WSBR events usually are at lunchtime, but this one was postponed from its original date during the partial government shutdown, which may account for the atypical time.  The Trump Administration has big plans for O’Connell’s office, though Congress is still debating what commercial space regulatory responsibilities should be at Commerce versus the Department of Transportation.

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) meets at Kennedy Space Center this week.  Its public session is on Thursday morning and one can listen in over the phone.  The agenda includes updates on NASA’s exploration systems development (SLS/Orion/EGS), commercial crew, and ISS.  ASAP’s most recent annual report warned NASA to remain vigilant as it resumes flying humans into space after an 8-year hiatus.  It also stressed that a contingency plan is needed in case the commercial crew systems are not ready by the time NASA’s contract with the Russians for crew transportation services expires at the end of this year (GAO earlier issued the same warning).  NASA seems to have listened.  It is buying two more Soyuz seats in case there are delays.  It will be interesting to see if ASAP thinks that’s enough.

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.

Monday, March 4

Tuesday, March 5

Wednesday, March 6

Thursday, March 7

Friday, March 8

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