What’s Happening in Space Policy November 1-7, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy November 1-7, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of November 1-7, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate will meet only in pro forma sessions this election week.

During the Week

First, did you remember to change your clocks? Daylight Saving Time in the United States ended at 2:00 am this morning. Unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii (which don’t observe this practice), it’s time to “fall back” and move your clocks back an hour.

Now, onto the week ahead.

This week’s main message is


Election Day is Tuesday.  Each State has its own rules about voting so check with your local election officials if you have any questions about polling places, when they’re open, if there are curb-side voting options, etc.  Although a LOT of people voted early, a lot more are expected on November 3.

For space policy, it’s a relatively quiet week, though there’s still plenty to keep us busy.

Tomorrow (Monday), the International Space Station will celebrate 20 years of permanent human occupancy.  Yes, it all began exactly 20 years ago on November 2, 2000 when Bill Shepherd, Yuri Gidzenko, and Sergei Krikalev boarded ISS as “Expedition 1.”  The Space Foundation had one of its “Space Symposium 365” webinars scheduled for Monday with the Expedition 1 crew and others, but we see they’ve delayed that to November 18.  NASA TV aired a program with the same participants on Thursday so perhaps their event is reshowing that video. It’s available on YouTube for those who want to watch it now. NASA held an in-flight press conference with the current ISS crew on Friday, released a “Houston We Have a Podcast” episode with Shepherd last week and will post another with ISS Program Manager Joel Montelbano tomorrow, but we haven’t seen any other celebratory events in this COVID-constrained era. If we learn of anything, we’ll post it to our Calendar.

The Space Foundation does still have a webinar on Thursday with Gen. James Dickinson, Commander of U.S. Space Command.  The Aerospace Corporation has its next Space Policy Show that day, too, to talk more about its Space Agenda 2021.

There are five meetings/conferences on a wide variety of topics in the second half of the week and over the weekend.  They include an Applied Physics Lab (APL) conference on space weather and the space warfighting domain (Wednesday-Thursday), the National Academies Space Studies Board (open sessions on Wednesday and Thursday will be livestreamed), a conference about the asteroid Apophis that will NOT impact Earth 9 years from now but will come close enough for interesting scientific observations (Wednesday-Friday), the annual meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (Thursday-Friday) with a keynote by astronaut Jessica Meir (a marine biologist), and SpaceVision 2020 sponsored by the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) on Saturday and Sunday.  All virtual, of course.

In addition, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) will hold a 3-day workshop (Wednesday-Friday) to go over their streamlined regulations for the commercial space launch and reentry sector.  They plan to go through the 785-page document in detail to explain their intent and answer questions from industry representatives. Not a typical meeting or conference and likely to be of interest only to those affected by the regulations, but it is open to anyone as long as they register by 3:00 pm on November 3.  Wayne Monteith, the head of FAA/AST joked last week that few would consider a 785-page document to be “streamlined,” but noted  only 109 pages are regulations. The rest is explanatory. He said the old regs were 900 pages long.  So this is progress, although there is still more to come through a series of 27 “Advisory Circulars” of which only three have been released so far.

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.

Sunday, November 1

Tuesday, November 3

Wednesday-Thursday, November 4-5

Wednesday-Friday, November 4-6

Thursday, November 5

Thursday-Friday, November 5-6

Saturday-Sunday, November 7-8


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