What’s Happening in Space Policy May 31 – June 6, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 31 – June 6, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 31-June 6, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week.  The House is in a newly defined period of “committee work days” where committees may meet via videoconference.  The House will next meet for legislative business on June 30.

During the Week

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer released the chamber’s plan for conducting business during the coronavirus pandemic on Friday.  Beginning tomorrow, committees will routinely conduct hearings and markups using videoconferences. A few test hearings have been held already.  Hoyer expects legislation including the FY2021 appropriations bills and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to be through committee markups and ready for floor action by the end of June or early July.  The “committee work days” are Monday-Friday every week through July 17 except for three days (June 30, July 1-2) when the House will be session for votes.

The Senate, which has only 100 members compared to the 435 in the House, will continue to meet following regular procedures, but few committee hearings are taking place.  The Senate Armed Services Committee will mark up its version of the NDAA next week, but an appropriations schedule has not been announced.  Traditionally the House deals with appropriations bills first.

No space-related hearings have been announced for the coming week so far.

The big excitement in space right now, of course, is the Demo-2 test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, now “Dragonship Endeavour.”  NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken docked with the International Space Station this morning and various events are planned today: hatch opening, 12:45 pm ET; welcome ceremony 1:05 pm ET; press conference at Johnson Space Center, 3:15 pm ET.  Two more events will take place tomorrow: an ISS press conference at 11:15 am ET with Hurley, Behnken and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy who has been aboard ISS for several weeks already; and an event they will have for the SpaceX team at 12:55 pm ET.

Back here on Earth, the first public meeting of a new National Academies committee takes place virtually tomorrow afternoon (2:00-4:00 pm ET). The Committee on Space Nuclear Propulsion Technologies, chaired by Bobby Braun (now with JPL), is conducting its business via a series of weekly virtual meetings in this COVID-19 era.  Two more are coming up on June 8 and June 15.   Representatives of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will brief the committee tomorrow.  The meeting is open to the public, but pre-registration is required to obtain the sign-on information.

NASA’s Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) also is meeting virtually tomorrow, and Tuesday, beginning at 11:00 am ET (8:00 am Pacific) both days.  Updates on planetary defense (NEOO and NEOSM) and asteroid sample return missions (OSIRIS-REx  and Hayabusa2) are on tap tomorrow afternoon (beginning at 4:00 pm ET).

The NASA Advisory Council meeting scheduled for June 2 was postponed because of the delay in the Demo-2 Crew Dragon launch (from Wednesday to Saturday).  A new date has not been announced.

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.

Sunday, May 31

Monday, June 1

Monday-Tuesday, June 1-2

Wednesday, June 3

Thursday, June 4

Friday, June 5

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