What’s Happening in Space Policy May 26-June 1, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 26-June 1, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 26-June 1, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess, except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

The week starts off with a federal holiday, Memorial Day, to honor our fallen military heros.  It is also the unofficial kickoff of summer and usually Memorial Day week is a quiet one, with many people on vacation.

Congress is doing that — though actually the members are back home interacting directly with their constituents so it’s still work — but the federal advisory committee process never rests and there are NASA and FAA meetings this week.

The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Human Exploration and Operations Committee  (NAC-HEO) meets Tuesday-Wednesday at NASA HQ in Washington, DC.  Former astronaut Ken Bowersox, long time chair of NAC-HEO, has gone to work for Bill Gerstenmaier so he will be on the receiving end of the advice this time.  The indomitable Wayne Hale is Bowersox’s successor and wrote a very interesting blog post on how he views his responsibilities in that role.  NASA just rolled out its architecture for getting humans back on the Moon by 2024 — now named Artemis — last week.  Hopefully Gerstenmaier’s team will provide more details (Bowersox will be the one doing the overview briefing, not Gerstenmaier himself) and Wayne and his committee members will ask all the right questions.  These meetings, under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), are open to the public, but the public cannot ask questions, only make comments during a required 5-minute public comment time.  Wayne wants to hear from people and said he’s open to extending that longer  if there are lots of callers.  In all these FACA meetings we listen to, though, there rarely are any callers since making comments without engaging in discussion may not seem like a good use of time.  In any case, the public comment period for this meeting is Tuesday from 4:00-4:05 pm ET.

The entire meeting is available remotely by following the instructions on the agenda.  In addition to Artemis, NASA officials will be there with updates on other HEO programs including ISS, commercial crew, and space communications and navigation.

NAC’s STEM Engagement committee will hold a telecon on Tuesday, and the full NAC meets Thursday-Friday at NASA HQ.  The agendas for those meetings are not posted yet.

The FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) also meets this week, on Thursday.  The agenda is not posted yet.  The Federal Register notice required anyone who wanted to attend in person or get the call-in info to contact COMSTAC Executive Director Di Reimold by May 18 (!).  It is easy to listen to the NASA FACA meetings and they post the call-in info right on the agenda so anyone can access it at any time.  Why FAA requires people to REQUEST the information, TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE, is a mystery and seems unreasonable, though apparently it still checks the box for complying with FACA.  Perhaps the COMSTAC chair, a very open and transparent person, could have a word with the FAA about that.  Since he also chairs a NAC advisory committee (Regulatory and Policy) he knows how NASA does it, which is much more in keeping with the intent of FACA — government in the sunshine.  [UPDATE:  We just received the call-in number to listen to the meeting, though we’re past the deadline. Many thanks to the COMSTAC chair and/or Ms. Reimold.  We’ve added it our calendar item for this event for anyone else who needs it.]

Meanwhile, thank you NASA for making it easy for the public to listen in (even if the audio isn’t so good sometimes — at least you try).

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.

Monday, May 27

Monday-Wednesday, May 27-29

Tuesday, May 28

Tuesday-Wednesday, May 28-29

Wednesday, May 29

Thursday, May 30

  • COMSTAC, Department of Transportation HQ, 1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E., Washington, DC (audio available remotely)

Thursday-Friday, May 30-31

Friday-Monday, May 31-June 3



Note: this article has been updated.

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.