What's Happening in Space Policy May 4-8, 2015

What's Happening in Space Policy May 4-8, 2015

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of May 4-8, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week.  The House is in recess.

During the Week

With the House in recess and Spring in the air, this is a comparatively light week for space policy aficionados.  There are two interesting conferences in Washington, DC — WIA’s Aerospace 2015 on Tuesday and the Humans 2 Mars Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday — but for many the highlight probably will be the SpaceX pad abort test on Wednesday at Cape Canaveral, FL.  It is a test, and a very brief one as NASA and SpaceX keep pointing out, of the abort system for the Dragon spacecraft as part of its certification for carrying NASA astronauts.  

At a briefing on May 1, SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsman joked that if you wait to hear the sound, the test will be over already.  The test does not involve the use of a Falcon 9 rocket.  Instead, eight Super Draco engines integrated into the Dragon capsule will fire for just six seconds, propelling the capsule to an altitude of about 5,000 feet.  Dragon will then descend under parachutes to a water landing 1.5 minutes after ignition.  The landing point is about 1 mile offshore.  Dragon will be recovered and returned to SpaceX’s McGregor, TX facility for analysis.  An instrumented dummy named Buster will be along for the ride to measure g forces and other parameters that an astronaut would experience.   The brief test has a long launch window, 7:00 am – 2:30 pm ET, and Koenigsman urged everyone to be patient — they will do it when they’re ready.

Those and other events we know about as of Saturday are listed below.

Tuesday, May 5

Tuesday-Wednesday, May 5-6

  • Humans 2 Mars Summit (Explore Mars and George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute), George Washington University , Washington, DC (location update:  the conference is being held in different locations on the GWU conference depending on the day; check the event’s website for more information)

Wednesday, May 6

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