What’s Happening in Space Policy November 10-16, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy November 10-16, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of November 10-16, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week beginning Tuesday.

During the Week

Tomorrow (Monday) is a federal holiday, Veterans Day, and government offices will be closed.

The House and Senate will be back at work on Tuesday. With very few legislative working days between now and when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on November 21, and the impeachment hearings expected to consume congressional attention, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that another CR will be needed to keep the government operating.  Word is it will be a one-month extension, putting the new expiration date just before Christmas, a Yogi Berra moment [“It’s deja vu all over again”].  One difference from last year is that none of the 12 appropriations bills has passed yet.  By this time last year, five of the 12 had been signed into law and those agencies — including DOD — were not affected by the 35-day partial government shutdown.  We’ll see how many, if any, get enacted this time, and whether there will be another CR … or another shutdown.

Admist all that, on Wednesday the Senate Commerce Committee will markup a new one-year NASA authorization bill, and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a second Moon-Mars hearing.  Two icons of the space program will testify at the hearing:  Tom Stafford and Tom Young.  Lt. Gen. (Ret.)  Stafford flew on two Gemini and two Apollo space missions, including commanding the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first joint U.S.-Soviet spaceflight.  He now chairs NASA’s International Space Station Advisory Committee.  Young spent part of his career at NASA managing the Viking program (Viking 1 and 2 were the first two U.S. spacecraft to land on Mars) and later was Director of Goddard Space Flight Center.  He moved over to industry, rising up to become President of Martin Marietta, which merged with Lockheed to form today’s Lockheed Martin. Young is often called upon to chair independent review committees when civil or military space programs go awry and recently did that for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Also on Wednesday, the Hudson Institute will hold a symposium on “U.S. Space Strategy and Indo-Pacific Cooperation.”  Among the 11 speakers are former Trump National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, who is now the Japan Chair at the Hudson Institute; James Miller, former Obama Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and now president of Adaptive Strategies LLC; and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Steven Kwast, who was Commander of the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, and became better known in the space policy community after he published an op-ed in POLITICO in August about the need for visionary U.S. leadership in military and civil space.

Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are getting ready to begin a series of at least four spacewalks to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) cosmic ray detector that is attached to the ISS.  NASA will hold two briefings on Tuesday to explain what they will be doing.  NASA asserts these are the most difficult spacewalks since those to service the Hubble Space Telescope.  Hubble was designed to be serviced by astronauts, but not AMS.  It has taken three years of planning to figure out how to replace the pumps that circulate liquid carbon dioxide needed to maintain the low temperatures required by the AMS sensors to search for antimatter to help solve the mystery of dark matter.  Special training was needed to teach the astronauts what to do, so the same pair — NASA’s Drew Morgan and ESA’s Luca Parmitano — will do all of the AMS spacewalks.  The first one is on Friday.  NASA has postponed the remainder of an earlier set of battery-replacement spacewalks until after these are done.

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-Friday, November 10-15

Sunday, November 10-Friday, November 22 (continued from October 28)

Monday, November 11

Monday-Thursday, November 11-14

Monday-Saturday, November 11-16

Tuesday, November 12

Tuesday-Thursday, November 12-14

Wednesday, November 13

Wednesday-Thursday, November 13-14

Thursday, November 14

Friday, November 15

Friday-Saturday, November 15-16

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