What’s Happening in Space Policy October 16-23, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 16-23, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week plus a day of October 16-23, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

After the frenzy of the last few weeks this week seems tame in comparison even though there are some really important and interesting meetings and conferences coming up.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher will participate in three ESA media briefings this week.

Let’s start overseas.

The European Space Agency has three media briefings this week, all of which will be webcast on ESA TV: Tuesday, interviews with Samantha Cristoforetti who just returned from 170 days on the International Space Station; Wednesday, an update on the soon-to-debut Ariane 6 rocket and ESA’s space transportation plans for later in the decade; and Thursday, a recap of the ESA Council meeting taking place Wednesday-Thursday. The ESA Council meeting is in preparation for the big Ministerial Conference in November where ESA’s 22 member states will decide ESA’s program of activities and budget for the next three years. In a September 12 Twitter thread, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said he will request $18.7 billion Euros for the next three years (about $18.2 billion dollars at today’s exchange rate), a roughly 25 percent increase, to enable ESA to become more autonomous now that the once-close space relationship with Russia has basically ended. All of the briefings are in Central European Summer Time, which is six hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. That makes the Tuesday and Thursday briefings a bit early EDT, but replays are usually available on the ESA website afterwards.

Here in the D.C. area, two conferences are taking place in coordination with each other on In-space Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM), formerly On-orbit Servicing, Manfacturing and Assembly (OSAM). The new term is all encompassing for space, not just in earth orbit.

Diane Howard, Director for Commercial Space Policy, White House National Space Council, will speak at the Global Satellite Servicing Forum this week.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has been working on OSAM for years and will hold its 2022 workshop on Monday and Tuesday in Greenbelt, MD, near GSFC’s headquarters. Monday is facility tours and an evening poster session. The workshop sessions are on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS) will hold its annual Global Satellite Servicing Forum (GSSF) in Arlington, VA.

It’s a great melding of what both the government and the private sector are doing and planning in terms of technology and policy with a veritable who’s who of domestic and international experts from the civil, national security and commercial sectors. The White House released an ISAM strategy in April. Ezinne Uzo-Okoro, Associate Director for Space Policy at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), led development of that strategy and will speak at both meetings. Diane Howard, Director for Commercial Space Policy at the White House National Space Council will be at GSSF. She is leading development of policy for in-space mission authorization and supervision. (She’s holding two “listening sessions” on that topic in November).

We don’t see anyone from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on either agenda even though it has opened a new proceeding on Space Innovation that includes ISAM. It wouldn’t be surprising if the issue of what role the FCC should have in this comes up, though.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have three space-related meetings this week, including the first in-person meetings we’ve seen at the Keck Center since the pandemic began. The Academies have three locations, two in D.C. and one in California: the National Academy of Sciences building at 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, DC; the Keck Center at 500 5th Street, NW, DC; and the Beckman Center, 100 Academy Way, Irvine, CA. (Some of you may remember the Jonsson Center in Woods Hole, MA, but the Academies recently sold it. Gorgeous location, but not easily accessible from any transportation hub.) These meetings are at Keck or Beckman. All have a combination of open and closed sessions. The open sessions will be livestreamed.

First is a meeting of the Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (CESAS) on Monday and Tuesday at the Keck Center. Next is a meeting of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) at Beckman Wednesday-Thursday. And finally the Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space (CBPSS) at Keck on Wednesday-Friday, though all of Friday is closed. All of them have great agendas. If we had to pick just one session out of all of them to highlight it would be Wayne Hale talking to ASEB on Thursday afternoon (remember times on the agenda are in Pacific Daylight Time) about the Artemis architecture in his role of chairman of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee. He’s very insightful.

The 25th International Mars Society Convention is taking place Thursday-Sunday at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The theme this year is “Searching for Life with Heavy Lift.” The conference features a “face-off” of the six finalists in the Telerobotic Mars Expedition Design Competition to design human-class robotic Mars landers capable of delivering 10-tons to the surface, accompanied by a discussion of how to get those landers to Mars with heavy lift rockets like NASA’s SLS and SpaceX’s Starship. It’s an in-person meeting, but Mars Society members may attend virtually (so sign up to be a member if you want to be able to participate that way). Really terrific line-up of speakers.

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.

Monday-Tuesday, October 17-18

Tuesday, October 18

Tuesday-Wednesday, October 18-19

Wednesday, October 19

Wednesday-Thursday, October 19-20

Wednesday-Friday, October 19-21

Thursday, October 20

Thursday-Sunday, October 20-23

Friday, October 21

Saturday, October 22

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