What’s Happening in Space Policy October 1-6, 2018 – UPDATE

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 1-6, 2018 – UPDATE

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of October 1-6, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House is in recess this week (except for pro forma sessions).  The Senate is scheduled to be in session. [UPDATE, October 1.  More information has been added in the fifth paragraph about MASCOT’s landing on Ryugu October 2-3). 

During the Week

Happy Birthday, NASA!  Tomorrow (Monday) is the 60th anniversary of NASA opening its doors as the nation’s civil space agency pursant to the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other top NASA officials won’t be here to celebrate, though.  They will be at the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, Germany.  NASA will air a taped message from Bridenstine on NASA TV at 1:00 pm instead of a live appearance.

He and the leaders of many of the world’s space agencies will be on stage at the IAC Monday.  For the first time, the IAC is webcasting some of its sessions, including that one.  Not for free, unfortunately.  The individual price of each of the 20 available sessions seems to be €20 Euros plus “payment and service fees.” Packages of 5, 10 or 15 sessions are available.  Note that all times listed are Central European Summer Time (CEST).  Subtract 6 for Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).  That Heads of Agencies session is at 13:15 CEST, which is 7:15 am EDT.

Bremen’s space activities will also be in the news this week because it is where Germany’s space agency, DLR, developed and tested the MASCOT lander for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission. France’s space agency, CNES, partnered in its development.  The Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrived at its destination, asteroid Ryugu, in July and has been orbiting it since then getting ready to set down its several landers, all of which are quite small.  Ryugu itself is only 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in diameter.

UPDATED: The first two tiny (1.1 kilograms each)  Japanese-built rovers that hop from place to place were deployed on September 22.  The DLR/CNES MASCOT lander (9.6 kilograms) is next.  It will separate from Hayabusa2 at 9:58:15 pm EDT on October 2 (which is October 3, 03:58:15 Central European Summer Time) and free fall to the surface.  Its battery can last for only 16 hours.  Follow the action on Twitter: @haya2e_JAXA and @MASCOT2018.  DLR also will have a webcast (see our Calendar entry for more information and the link to the webcast).  On Friday the IAC has a special “late breaking news” session devoted to it from 08:30-09:30 CEST (2:30-3:30 am EDT).  It is one of the sessions that will be webcast for a fee.  The samples of Ryugu will be collected by a device on the Hayabusa2 spacecraft itself beginning in late October. We’ll have more on that later.

Back here in the States, the Senate will take up the FAA Reauthorization bill, H.R. 302 as amended, tomorrow.  Congress passed a one-week FAA extension on Friday (signed into law yesterday) to keep the agency operating until this bill becomes law.  The bill has been “pre-conferenced” between the relevant House and Senate committees, so is expected to pass unamended and sent to the President without going back to the House, which is not in session this week.  It contains provisions related to the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, which we summarized earlier.

Wednesday, October 4, is the 61st anniversary of the launch of the world’s first satellite, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1.  It begins the annual U.N.-sponsored World Space Week, which ends on October 10, the anniversay of the date that the 1967 U.N. Outer Space Treaty went into effect.  Events are planned around the world.

Coincidentally, it is also the day that three International Space Station crew members (two NASA, one Roscosmos) return to Earth.  Landing in Kazakhstan is at 7:45 am EDT and will be broadcast on NASA TV.

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, October 1

Monday-Friday, October 1-5

Tuesday, October 2

Tuesday-Wednesday, October 2-3  (late Tuesday evening EDT; early Wednesday morning CEST)

Thursday, October 4

Thursday-Friday, October 4-5

Thursday, October 4 – Wednesday, October 10



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