What’s Happening in Space Policy May 22-29, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 22-29, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week plus a day of May 22-29, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House meets only in pro forma sessions, but committees will meet virtually for part of the week.

During the Week

All eyes this week will be focused on the return of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft, completing the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission.  Starliner docked to the International Space Station on Friday and the hatches opened yesterday. The hatches will be closed on May 24 and the plan is to undock on May 25, but the schedule is dependent on the weather at its landing site in White Sands, NM. Unlike SpaceX’s Crew Dragon that splashes down in the water, Starliner lands on terra firma like Russia’s Soyuz. We’ll post any schedule information we get to our Calendar, so keep checking back.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s space subcommittee will hold a virtual hearing on Thursday with the co-chairs of the National Academies’ Decadal Survey on Planetary Science and Astrobiology 2023-2032, Robin Canup from Southwest Research Institute and Phil Christensen from Arizona State University. It will be webcast.

Apart from that it’s a comparatively quiet week as the Memorial Day weekend beckons. But there are several really interesting conferences including Space Tech Expo|USA in Long Beach Monday-Wednesday and the National Space Society’s annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Arlington, VA Friday-Sunday.  Also, the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland has a session on space Wednesday that includes ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who is onboard the ISS right now.

This week is also the 61st anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech to a joint session of Congress on Urgent National Needs on May 25, 1961 that initated the Apollo program. JFK called on the nation to commit itself to the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth by the end of the decade. However, it seems his speech a year and a half later at Rice University on September 12, 1962 has become even more famous. A lot of people mistakenly believe that was where he announced the Moon goal, but that was a different speech. At Rice he said we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Great speech, but he was trying to build support for Apollo because it was not universally accepted by Congress or the public. John Logsdon wrote a terrific book about those years: John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon.

As NASA tries to build support for Apollo’s successor, Artemis, remembering the history is especially important. We don’t know of any events this week to celebrate the birth of the Apollo program, but we thought we’d commemorate it by showing this video (courtesy of the Kennedy Center).

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, especially updates on Starliner.

Monday-Wednesday, May 23-25


Tuesday, May 24

Tuesday-Thursday, May 24-26

Wednesday, May 25

Thursday, May 26

Friday-Sunday, May 27-20

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