What’s Happening in Space Policy March 7-14, 2021

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 7-14, 2021

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 7-13 plus a bonus day and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

We’re adding Sunday, March 14, to this edition of What’s Happening because at 2:00 am that day, before we publish the next issue, the United States switches to Daylight Saving Time. All of the states except Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe this annual time shift, will “spring ahead” one hour. Other countries around the world also change to their versions of summer time, but on various dates. We seem to be among the earliest, but this is a heads up that you may want to start consulting your favorite time zone converter before joining a webinar originating overseas to be sure you have the correct time.

This is another week where the space policy fun begins this very day with the IEEE Aerospace Conference. It runs through Friday and has an agenda (in Pacific Time) chock full of interesting panels and plenaries. Perhaps the most intriguing title is for a plenary on Tuesday with Joe Parker of Caltech talking about “How to Deceive Society: An Insect Masterclass.”  The abstract says it’s about the evolution of new forms of social behavior so perhaps is applicable to the current U.S. focus on getting international agreement on norms of behavior in space? Or societies that develop on the Moon, Mars and elsewhere in space? We’ll all have to listen to find out the connection to what we do.

More traditional issues fill out the conference.  At another plenary on Thursday, the Applied Physics Lab’s (APL’s) Ralph McNutt will discuss the Interstellar Probe mission APL is studying for NASA, or, as the abstract says, restudying since the concept dates back to 1960. With the plucky Voyager 2 leading the way, perhaps it is now time for a mission specifically designed to explore space beyond the region of our Sun’s influence. The conference also has many panel sessions include Emerging Technologies for Mars Exploration, ISS Transition and the Commercialization of LEO, and Technology Development for Science-Driven Missions.

On Thursday, Sandia National Lab has a webinar on “India in the Evolving Space Security Domain” featuring Raji Rajagopalan, “a leading Indian expert on space security and nuclear security, to discuss India’s evolving approach to outer space and its strategy to address the domain’s changing security dynamics.” A panel of experts from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins University and Sandia will respond to those remarks and discuss U.S. and Indian perspectives on space security. India’s antisatellite test in 2019 certainly got a lot of attention.  RSVP by March 10 if you want to listen live.

The National Academies’ Committee on Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the Leadership of Competed Space Missions meets twice this week, on Tuesday and Friday. The public sessions are only about an hour and a half each day.  Tuesday’s focus is NASA’s Science Mission Directorate demographics data, while Friday’s is understanding the role of institutions in Principal Investigator(PI)-led missions with speakers from NASA-Goddard, JPL, and Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado Boulder (PI for MAVEN).

Capitol Hill remains a busy place, but not about space.  Lots of hearings this week, but the closest we get to space is the Senate Commerce Committee’s nomination hearing on Wednesday for Don Graves to be Under Secretary of Commerce.  Graves is a former KeyBank official and long-time advisor to Biden. It would be surprising if NOAA’s satellite programs or Office of Space Commerce (OSC) came up, but we’re listing it on our calendar for completeness.

Speaking of the Department of Commerce, although it is unrelated to this schedule of events, in case you missed it we will mention that Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)  and Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), the top space Republicans on the House SS&T Committee, wrote a letter to new Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Friday asking a number of questions about her plans for  OSC.  Separately they wrote to DOD and the State Department asking for more details on the Biden Administration’s efforts to work through the United Nations to develop norms of behavior in space.

For brevity’s sake we will mention just one more conference coming up this week. The LRA Institute will hold a two-day meeting (Tuesday-Wednesday) on Space Disposal and Debris Mitigation.  The agenda (in Central Time) features a who’s who of experts on that topic including Bill Ailor from the Aerospace Corporation, Holger Krag from ESA, Darren McKnight from Space for Humanity, and J.-C. Liou from NASA.  On Wednesday, Space News ace reporter Jeff Foust will moderate a panel with Ted Muelhaupt from Aerospace Corporation, Steph Earl from the FAA, Karl Kensinger from the FCC, and Charity Weeden from Astroscale. Looks really good!

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. We’ll be keeping an eye out for NASA’s announcement of the date for the rescheduled second SLS Green Run test. NASA said last week it will take place in mid-March, which is just around the corner.

Sunday-Friday, March 7-13

Tuesday, March 9

Tuesday-Wednesday, March 9-10

Tuesday-Friday, March 9-12

Wednesday, March 10

Thursday, March 11

Friday, March 12

Sunday, March 14



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