What’s Happening in Space Policy May 10-16, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 10-16, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 10-16, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week. The House will meet in pro forma session on Tuesday; its schedule thereafter has not been announced.

During the Week

The Senate will be in session again this week, but no space-related hearings are scheduled.  The House is still determining how and when to return to regular business as it grapples with protecting more than 400 members, compared to 100 in the Senate, and their staff.  One House committee had a hearing last week and there is one this week, but that’s it. Neither is about space.  The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held two virtual briefings last week, but not on space issues. On Friday, after the fact, it issued a press release saying the space subcommittee had a bipartisan teleconference with NASA to discuss its activities to respond to COVID-19 including the new ventilator, positive pressure oxygen helmet, and surface contamination device NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently showcased.

While it is slow going in Congress, there is lots of activity elsewhere.

We may finally get some clarity on NASA’s Artemis plans this week when Doug Loverro and his team brief the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations committee (NAC/HEO).  This meeting has been postponed twice and NASA’s plans keep changing.  But the announcement of the HLS awards on April 30 — even though they are just for 10 month studies, after which NASA will decide which compan(ies) will proceed — is a step forward.  Anyway, the virtual NAC/HEO meeting on Wednesday and Thursday hopefully will reveal a stable architecture that demonstrates how, in the next 4 1/2 years, astronauts can safely return to the lunar surface.

Two other NAC committees are meeting virtually this week: STEM Engagement on Tuesday and Regulatory and Policy (RPC) on Friday. RPC is now under the leadership of Andrew Rush of Made in Space. He succeeds Mike Gold who is now NASA’s Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of International and Interagency Relations. Made in Space is well known for its space manufacturing efforts, especially ZBLAN optical fibers and the commercial Additive Manufacturing Facility (i.e., 3D printer) it has aboard the International Space Station.  You can learn more about the company from Rush’s most recent congressional testimony.  As far as we know, the rest of the committee’s membership remains the same.

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel is holding Part 2 of its second quarter 2020 meeting this week also.  Part 1 was last month, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the panel was not able to get briefings on all the NASA programs it oversees for safety, including commercial crew.  With Demo-2 coming up in less than three weeks, the panel was anxious to get updated and promised to hold a second public session to discuss their findings once that happened. They will hold their public briefing, virtually, of course, Friday afternoon.

Lots of other really interesting meetings coming up this week, but unfortunately too many to highlight here.  We have them all in the list below and on our website calendar.

But one more event we want to mention is Saturday’s launch of DOD’s X-37B spaceplane.  It’s the sixth launch of an X-37B  (there are two flight vehicles).  Little information was made public about the first five, but Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond have been talking a lot about the need to declassify more of national security space so the public and policymakers understand how important space assets are to everyday life and the threats to them.  They made a very public announcement about the upcoming launch and shared a few details about experiments it will carry. It will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V. ULA mentions it on its website so hopefully it will be webcast.

Monday, May 11

Monday-Tuesday, May 11-12

Tuesday, May 12

Tuesday-Thursday, May 12-14

Wednesday, May 13

Wednesday-Thursday, May 13-14

Friday, May 15

Saturday, May 16

  • Launch of X-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, 8:00-10:30 am ET?, webcast?



User Comments

SpacePolicyOnline.com has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.