What’s Happening in Space Policy November 6-14, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy November 6-14, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week plus two days of November 6-14, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

It’s so busy we’re including not just this week but two extra days to cover NASA’s third attempt to launch Artemis I. The launch is scheduled for just barely into next Monday, November 14, here on the East Coast. It’ll still be Sunday in most of the United States. Pre-launch events are coming up at the end of this week, so it’s timely to put it all in this edition of What’s Happening.

Before we begin, three reminders:

  • the United States changed back to Standard Time at 2:00 am this morning,
  • Tuesday is Election Day, and
  • Friday is a federal holiday (Veterans Day) and government offices will be closed.

The week was to have begun this morning at 5:50 am ET with the launch of Northrop Grumman’s NG-18 cargo mission to the International Space Station, but it was scrubbed for a reason we can’t recall ever happening before — the company’s Mission Control Center in Dulles, VA had to be evacuated when the fire alarm went off. It controls Cygnus after it separates from the Antares rocket, so must be fully up and running before liftoff. We haven’t heard if there actually was a fire, but the bottom line was a scrub at T-11 minutes. They’ll try again tomorrow at 5:27 am ET. NASA TV begins at 5:00 am ET. If the launch gets off this time, it will arrive at the ISS on Wednesday.

The ISS is getting really busy not only with cargo deliveries — a Russian Progress last week, Cygnus this week and a SpaceX Cargo Dragon next week — but spacewalks. Three U.S. spacewalks are coming up on November 15 and 28 and December 1, and four Russian spacewalks on November 17 and 25 and December 6 and 21.

NASA will have media briefings this week previewing the U.S. spacewalks (Monday) and on the science experiments that will be delivered on the SpaceX-26 cargo mission (Wednesday).

But the human spaceflight excitement right now is pretty much focused on NASA’s upcoming third try to launch Artemis I. The launch itself is at 12:07 am Eastern Standard Time Monday morning, November 14. The launch window is 69 minutes long, so it could go as late as 1:16 am ET.  As we said, it’ll still be Sunday in most of the country.

On Friday, NASA will hold a briefing following the Mission Management Team meeting that will decide if everything’s ready. It’s planned for 7:00 pm ET, but the actual time is dependent on when the meeting ends.  Assuming the answer is “go,” on Saturday there’s a countdown update at noon ET. NASA TV launch coverage begins Sunday afternoon. If the launch takes place this time (it was scrubbed on August 29 and September 3), a post-launch briefing will follow soon thereafter. That’s tentatively planned for 3:00 am ET Monday morning.

The Artemis I Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft back at Launch Complex-39B, November 4, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Mother Nature has not been helpful in getting Artemis I off the launch pad. NASA had to roll the Space Launch System/Orion stack back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to protect it from Hurricane Ian. The weather’s been relatively quiet since then, but, as if on cue, a storm now is brewing in the Caribbean. NASA officials said on Thursday just before they rolled the stack back to the launch pad that they are monitoring the storm and do not think the winds will exceed permissible limits. Eric Berger, a space reporter with Ars Technica who is also a meteorologist, tweeted today that it could delay launch preparations, however. So stay tuned.

In other news, tomorrow (Monday) is the first day of the annual meeting of NASA’s Venus Exploration Analysis Group, VEXAG. The Venus science community was ecstatic when NASA picked not just one, but two Venus missions last year in the Discovery competition, the first dedicated NASA missions to our sister planet (because it’s similar to Earth in size) in 30 years. But they got some disappointing news on Friday. NASA is delaying one of them, VERITAS, by three years.

It’s not because of anything that went wrong with VERITAS. A completely unrelated mission, Psyche, which will visit an asteroid of the same name, missed its launch window in September and needs the money to get ready for another try next year. In addition, an Independent Review Board that looked into the Psyche situation uncovered a number of problems at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managing the program. One is that JPL is overloaded with projects right now. VERITAS is also managed at JPL, so delaying it addresses that issue, too.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Lori Glaze, NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director, is scheduled to speak to VEXAG at 11:20 am ET tomorrow (9:20 am in Albuquerque, where the meeting is taking place). Should be interesting to see how the discussion goes.

There are so many other meetings and conferences here and abroad this week that we will let you peruse the list below and on our home page and pick your own favorites.

The only other event we’ll note is that NASA and the United Launch Alliance will try again to launch the JPSS-2 weather satellite and NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) technology demonstrator on Wednesday from Vandenberg. It was scheduled for November 1, but on October 29 ULA determined it needed to replace a battery on the Atlas V rocket’s upper stage. They were going to try again on November 9, but that became November 10. Liftoff is at 4:25 am ET (1:25 am Pacific). NASA TV coverage begins at 3:45 am ET. The LOFTID demonstration of an inflatable aeroshell will be over in about two hours, landing in the Pacific off Hawaii where it will be picked up by a ship. Hopefully there will be some live coverage of that.

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, November 6

Monday, November 7

Monday-Tuesday, November 7-8

Monday-Wednesday, November 7-9

Monday-Friday, November 7-11

Monday-Sunday, November 11-13

Tuesday-Wednesday, November 8-10

Wednesday, November 9

Wednesday-Saturday, November 9-12

Thursday, November 10

Thursday-Friday, November 10-11

  • Space Settlement Summit 2022 (NSS), Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (following the 6th Global Moon Village Workshop and Symposium)

Friday, November 11

Friday-Saturday, November 11-12

Saturday, November 12

Sunday, November 13

Sunday-Monday, November 13-14

  • NASA 3rd Attempt to Launch Artemis I, KSC
    • Sunday (Eastern Time)
      • 2:30 pm ET: NASA TV Launch Coverage of Tanking Begins with audio commentary
      • 9:30 pm ET: Full NASA TV Launch Coverage Begins, continuing through Trans-Lunar Injection
      • 11:30 pm ET: Launch Coverage in Spanish Begins on NASA’s Spanish-Language YouTube channel
    • Monday (Eastern Time)
      • 12:07 am ET: opening of 69 minute launch window
      • 3:00 am ET (time may change): post-launch press conference
      • 7:30 am ET: coverage of Trans-Lunar Injection (Orion’s first outbound trajectory burn)
      • 8:50 am ET: coverage of first Earth views from Orion


Correction: The JPSS-2 launch time is 4:25 am ET, not 4:45 am ET as originally stated.

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