What’s Happening in Space Policy November 17-23, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy November 17-23, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of November 17-23, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them. The House is in session Tuesday-Thursday.  The Senate is scheduled to be in session all week.

During the Week

The clock is ticking down not only to the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that is keeping the government open — November 21 — but to the end of the year as well. The House is in session this week for just three days before the Thanksgiving break.  When it returns in December it is scheduled to be in session for only eight days (December 3-6 and 9-12) although Members have been advised that the House probably will also meet during the week of the 16th.

That’s because the expectation at the moment is that this week the House and Senate will pass another CR to last through December 20.  House and Senate Appropriators are optimistic they will have agreement on the 12 regular appropriations bills by then, but others are skeptical, with President Trump’s border wall the ongoing issue, and predict another CR will be required.  In either case, votes will be needed that third week of December.  The chance of a government shutdown remains until appropriations are finalized. Every day agencies are funded through CRs instead of regular appropriations is another day of uncertainty.  No one likes CRs, but they often turn out to be the only solution because agreement cannot be reached on the regular bills. Agencies not only are held to their previous year’s funding level, but they cannot start new programs or end existing ones unless they are given a waiver (“anomaly”), which is rare.

In any case, passing a new CR just to get to December 20 is at the top of the legislative agenda in the House and Senate this week.  We are not aware of any space-related hearings.

Elsewhere in town, CSIS will hold a “conversation” with U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command Commander Gen. Jay Raymond tomorrow (Monday) morning.  He will be interviewed by CSIS’s Todd Harrison in an event that will be webcast.

At the very same time, NASA science head Thomas Zurbuchen will be speaking at the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Science Committee, which is meeting at NASA HQ Monday and Tuesday.    Later in the day, Ralph McNutt from the JHU Applied Physics Lab will give an update on “Study of a Near-Term Interstellar Probe” and on Tuesday, Alan Stern will give another briefing on the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) that he chaired. The National Academies’ Space Studies Board (SSB) is setting up a committee to review the PPIRB report and rumors were that its first meeting would take place this week, but nothing is posted on the SSB website as of today.  The SSB is the U.S. member of COSPAR, the international body that historically has established international guidelines for planetary protection.

Also tomorrow, NASA’s International Space Station Advisory Committee meets at NASA HQ, and NASA will hold a telecon to announce new companies that will participate in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.  Steve Clarke runs that program and he will speak to NAC/Science on Tuesday.

On Thursday morning, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will hold the first in a new series of space policy breakfasts in D.C.  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who chairs the Aviation and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, is the speaker, though the event is off-the-record.

Quite a few conferences are taking place outside of D.C., as usual.  To highlight just two, the annual SpaceCom commercial space conference in Houston is Wednesday-Thursday with a veritable who’s who of government and commercial space VIPs.  Too many to name here, but it’s a great line-up.  And in Denver, the annual meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR) starts Wednesday with a plenary session featuring MIT professor and former NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, an expert on designing spacesuits, especially for Mars exploration.  Later that morning she joins a panel with NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green, National Academies’ Space Studies Board program officer Sandra Graham (study director for all the major Academies’ reports on life and physical sciences in space, including the 2012 Decadal Survey), and Robert Ferl. who chaired the mid-term review of the Decadal Survey and currently chairs the SSB’s Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space.  All that in just the first morning of the conference.  Lots of sessions about results from ISS research, too.

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, November 18

Monday-Tuesday, November 18-19

Monday-Friday, November 18-22 (continued from October 28)

Tuesday, November 19

Tuesday-Thursday, November 19-21, 2019

Wednesday, November 20

Wednesday-Thursday, November 20-21

Wednesday-Friday. November 20-23

Thursday, November 21

Thursday-Friday, November 21-22

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