What’s Happening in Space Policy October 1-6, 2017

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 1-6, 2017

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of October 1-6, 2017 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

Welcome to FY2018!  It seems odd to not have had a down-to-wire budget battle, but almost a month ago Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through December 8.  So the battle has been postponed till then.

Instead, this week we can focus on other things, including the 60th anniversary of the Space Age.  The Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957, ushering in the era of spaceflight.  Almost exactly 10 years later, on October 10, 1967, the U.N. Outer Space Treaty entered into force.  In 1999, the United Nations declared October 4-10 to be “World Space Week” with activities around the world.  The theme this year is “Exploring New Worlds in Space.” A list of events by country is on the World Space Week website [worldspaceweek.org].  The U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and U.N. Women will hold a U.N. Expert Meeting on Space For Women October 4-6 in New York City.  The results will provide input to next year’s UNISPACE+50 conference being organized by COPUOS.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (the Wilson Center) will hold an event on October 4 from 12:30-2:00 pm ET in recognition of the anniversary: The Space Race and the Origins of the Space Age.  It’s got a terrific group of speakers including Asif Siddiqi from Fordham University and author of  the seminal “Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race”; Michael Neufeld from the National Air and Space Museum and author of “Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War”; Clay Mowry, now with Blue Origin and previously Arianespace, Inc.; and former astronaut Robert Curbeam, now with Raytheon.  We’re told the event will be webcast, which is excellent because there are several other really interesting events that day as well and our sneakers have only so much tread left on them.

That will provide an excellent lead-in to THE BIG EVENT in Washington space policy circles:  the first meeting of the White House National Space Council on Thursday, October 5.  We’re still waiting for official word on whether all or any of the event will be open to the public — we certainly hope so!  The meeting will be at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy center near Dulles Airport in the Virginia suburbs. It’s a place of history, but hopefully the Council will be looking toward the future.  In announcing the meeting, Vice President Pence, who chairs the Council, said it will be “an opportunity for the Administration to lay out its vision for space exploration.” Almost all of the Space Council members will be there, Pence added, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States (and de facto acting head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy) Michael Kratsios, and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva.

There are many other great events going on this week — from congressional hearings to conferences to spacewalks — but for the sake of brevity we will stop here.  Get your running shoes on!  It’s gonna be busy.

Sunday-Thursday, October 1-5

Monday, October 2

Monday-Tuesday, October 2-3

Wednesday, October 4

Wednesday-Friday, October 4-6

Wednesday, October 4 – Tuesday, October 10

Thursday, October 5

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