What's Happening in Space Policy March 7-11, 2016

What's Happening in Space Policy March 7-11, 2016

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of March 7-11, 2016 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week; the House is in recess.

During the Week

It’s another busy week as three conferences take place at the same time, all in the D.C.-area.   One, AIAA’s DEFENSE 2016, is classified SECRET/U.S. ONLY so that limits participation and is broadly focused, not just about space.  The other two are open to anyone who can afford the registration fee: the American Astronautical Society’s annual Goddard Memorial Symposium in Greenbelt, MD and, around the Beltway, SATELLITE 2016, in National Harbor, MD.  Great sessions at both conferences will make it difficult choose where to be.   Without traffic, the distance between the two is about 25 minutes, so conceivably one could go back and forth, though in reality the “without traffic” hours in the D.C.-area are severely limited.

Up on the Hill, House members are taking the week off from legislative duties to check in with their constituents back home.  The Senate is in session, though, and on Thursday the Senate Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee will hold its hearing on NASA’s FY2017 budget request.  As usual, the Obama Administration decided to request far less funding for programs that are congressional priorities — like the Space Launch System, which is near and dear to subcommittee chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), so one can well imagine how the hearing will go.  Not to mention that the Obama Administration is using the “gimmick” explained in our fact sheet on NASA’s budget request.   The White House and NASA say the request is for $19.025 billion, which is $260 million less than what Congress provided for FY2016, but be sure to read the fine print.   In actuality, the request for appropriations is $18.262 billion, about $1 billion less than FY2016.   The White House and NASA display the request as $19.025 billion by adding in $664 million they expect Congress to transfer to the discretionary portion of the federal budget (that funds NASA and other agencies) from the mandatory portion (that funds Medicare and Social Security, e.g.).  Then they add another $100 million for aeronautics from a $10-dollar-a-barrel tax the White House wants to levy on oil companies for a 21st Century Clean Transportation System initiative.  If you haven’t heard about this already, you can learn more from our fact sheet, but, safe to say, the hearing will be lively. 

If all that doesn’t keep you busy enough, the NASA Advisory Council’s Science committee is meeting at the end of the week, preceded by a meeting of its planetary science subcommittee. 

And all of this will be topped off Friday night with the annual “space prom” — the National Space Club’s Goddard Memorial Dinner — with about 2,000 VIPs from all sectors of the aerospace community dressed to the hilt.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning are listed below.  Check back throughout the week for additional events that we learn about as the week progresses and are added to our Events of Interest list.

Monday, March 7

Monday-Thursday, March 7-10

  • SATELLITE 2016, Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, MD

Tuesday, March 8

Tuesday-Thursday, March 8-10

  • Goddard Memorial Symposium (American Astronautical Society), Greenbelt Marriott, Greenbelt, MD (March 8 is opening reception only; sessions are March 9-10)
  • AIAA DEFENSE 2016, JHU/Applied Physic Lab, Laurel, MD (SECRET/U.S. ONLY)

Wednesday, March 9

Wednesday-Thursday, March 9-10

Thursday, March 10

Thursday-Friday, March 10-11

Friday, March 11

  • Goddard Memorial Dinner (National Space Club), Hilton Washington, 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 6:30 pm ET

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