What’s Happening in Space Policy March 8-14, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy March 8-14, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of March 8-14, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

Happy Daylight Saving Time!  In the United States, that is.  Arizona and Hawaii do not observe these semi-annual time shifts, but everyone in the other 48 states must set their clocks one hour ahead today.

The coronavirus is taking its toll on meetings, so whatever event you may be planning to attend, check first.  We’re doing the best we can to keep up, but can’t guarantee that any of the meetings we list here or on our calendar are going forward.  Everything you read here is on an “as far we know at the moment” basis.

Satellite 2020 begins tomorrow (Monday) in Washington DC.  Its website boasts 15,387 attendees from 107 countries. A “Satellite 2020 and Coronavirus FAQs” section of the website asserts the conference is proceeding and while there have been some speaker changes,  Elon Musk is confirmed as the keynote speaker tomorrow.  (Indeed, Musk tweeted that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.”)  Musk’s keynote at 4:00 pm ET Monday and Tuesday’s opening general session at 8:30 am ET will be livestreamed.  Keep checking that FAQ to see if others are added later.

The IEEE’s Aerospace Conference in Big Sky, Montana also seems to be on track. Its website says that “the conference committee is working closely with Big Sky Resort and IEEE to reduce potential health risks at the conference.”

Everything in Congress appears to be proceeding as normal.  Many, many hearings as budget season gets underway.  The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee will hear from Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Tuesday.  He appeared before the Senate Appropriations CJS subcommittee last week. As we wrote on Thursday, he said that getting funding for the Office of Space Commerce is his second highest priority (the Census is first).

The House Appropriations Transportation-HUD subcommittee will hear from FAA Administrator Steve Dickson on Wednesday.  With all that’s going on at the FAA, it’s not clear how much attention will be paid to commercial space launch and reentry, but it might come up.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Neil Jacobs to be the head of NOAA.  He’s acting in that capacity already.  His nomination came after Barry Myers withdrew from consideration at the end of last year.  NOAA has been without a permanent Administrator since the Trump Administration began three years ago.

NASA has three advisory committee meetings this week.  One, the NAC Science Committee on Thursday and Friday, will be held virtually instead of in-person at NASA HQ because of the coronavirus outbreak.  The other two apparently are going forward, but the agendas have not been posted yet, which is unusual.  The Planetary Science Advisory Committee (PAC) will meet Monday-Wednesday [UPDATE, MONDAY, 8:15 — THIS MEETING NOW IS BEING HELD VIRTUALLY, NOT IN-PERSON, AND IS MONDAY-TUESDAY ONLY; STILL NO AGENDA POSTED BUT THIS MORNING IT BEGINS AT 10:30 AM ET] and the Earth Science Advisory Committee (ESAC) Tuesday-Wednesday.  In fact, the ESAC website doesn’t list the meeting at all even though it was published in the Federal Register weeks ago.  The ESAC website looks quite out of date, actually. The most recent entry is October 2018.

On Thursday morning (7:00 am EDT), the heads of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos will hold a joint press briefing in Moscow to discuss the status of the ExoMars 2020 mission. Intended to launch this summer, there have been problems with the parachutes.  Presumably we will learn whether or not they plan to proceed with the launch or not. (Space News reported last week that two high altitude drop tests that were supposed to take place at the end of 2019 have been delayed to the end of March, not a promising sign.)

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, or updates on these, and post to our Calendar.

Sunday, March 8

Sunday-Saturday, March 8-14 (continued from March 7)

Monday, March 9

Monday-Wednesday, March 9-11,March 9-10

Monday-Thursday, March 9-12

Tuesday, March 10

Tuesday-Wednesday, March 10-11

Wednesday, March 11

Thursday, March 12

Thursday-Friday, March 12-13

Friday, March 13

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