What’s Happening in Space Policy October 2-8, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 2-8, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of October 2-8, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess except for pro forma sessions.

During the Week

An update from last week’s What’s Happening: Congress did pass and the President signed into law that Continuing Resolution keeping the government funded through December 16. So everyone is good to go past the November elections. What happens after that will be determined largely by whether voters decide that control of the House and/or Senate should change when the 118th Congress begins on January 3, 2023.

For now, both chambers are in recess except for pro forma sessions until mid-November with one exception. The Senate will come back into session next week for one day, October 11, to formally bring up the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for debate. The NDAA is a “must-pass” bill and some Senators wanted it to clear the Senate before the election so negotiations with the House could begin on the final version. That was not to be, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at least will get it one step further along in the process. The House passed its version in July.

Apart from that, neither chamber will meet for legislative business until November 14.

Coincidentally, that’s also the opening of the window when NASA plans to attempt the Artemis I launch again. The November launch period is November 14-27. There’s lots going at NASA before that, though.

The Crew-5 Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endurance at Launch Complex- 39A, October 1, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

This week is the launch of Crew-5 to the International Space Station. Delayed a few days by Hurricane Ian, it is now set for October 5 at 12:00 pm ET with docking the next day. The four-person crew includes Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. This is the first flight of a Russian on a U.S. spacecraft since November 2002, just before the 2003 space shuttle Columbia accident. Russians flew on the space shuttle routinely prior to that in exchange for Americans flying on Soyuz spacecraft. After Columbia, Russians did not fly on the shuttle and NASA paid Russia to ferry astronauts back and forth to ISS on Soyuz. With SpaceX’s Crew Dragon now available, the two countries have returned to the crew-exchange or seat-swap model with no exchange of funds.

NASA’s Frank Rubio launched on Soyuz MS-22 a week-and-a-half ago and Kikina, the only woman in the Roscosmos cosmonaut corps, is on Crew-5. She and the other Crew-5 members, NASA’s Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada and JAXA’s Koichi Wakata, arrived at Kennedy Space Center yesterday. NASA will hold a media teleconference tomorrow (Monday) following the Launch Readiness Review around 7:30 pm ET that will air on NASA Live. NASA TV will provide continuous coverage of launch through docking on October 5-6. As grim as the terrestrial geopolitical relationship is, the ISS continues to be a haven of cooperation.

Crew-5 speaks to the media after arriving at Kennedy Space Center, October 1, 2022. L-R: Anna Kikina (Roscosmos), Nicole Mann (NASA), Josh Cassada (NASA), Koichi Wakata (JAXA). Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Government astronauts like those four are not the only ones going to space these days. Billionaire Jared Isaacman was the first person to command a crew composed entirely of private citizens on Inspiration4 last year. He paid for all of them to spend three days in orbit aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon. He really caught the spaceflight bug and in February signed a deal for three more SpaceX flights, two on Crew Dragon and one on the first crewed flight of Starship.

It may turn out that he’ll use of those Crew Dragon flights to dock with the Hubble Space Telescope and boost its orbit to enable many more years of science observations. NASA, SpaceX, and Isaacman announced on Thursday they are doing a study to assess the feasbility of visiting Hubble, stressing again and again it’s just a study at this point. It’s at no cost to NASA.

Tomorrow (Monday) Isaacman will join The Washington Post’s Christian Davenport for a perfectly-timed Washington Post Live episode to discuss Isaacman’s partnership with SpaceX and the future of commercial space exploration. Sounds like a can’t-miss event. Isaacman’s next flight, Polaris Dawn, is already planned and getting ready to launch early next year so this would be the second of the Crew Dragon flights if it happens.

Jared Isaacman (left) with his three Polaris Dawn crewmates: Anna Menon, Sarah Gillis, Scott “Kidd” Poteet. Credit: Polaris Program Photos

In between Isaacman’s interview on Monday and the Crew-5 launch on Wednesday, the world will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the beginning of the Space Age. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik. The United Nations marks that milestone and another one 10 years later, October 10, 1967 when the U.N. Outer Space Treaty entered into force, as World Space Week. Events around the world are held October 4-October 10 to celebrate. This year’s theme is “Space and Sustainability.” The Space Foundation is one of the organizations planning events this year including its monthly “Space Matters” webinar on Thursday. The World Space Week website points to many of the 1,686 events in 95 countries that are registered.

We’re not sure if the timing was intentional or not, but two other interesting events are on tap that day. NASA and NOAA are getting ready to launch the next polar-orbiting weather satellite, Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) on November 1. They’ll have a media briefing to preview the launch.

Bobby Braun will present the Yvonne C. Brill Lecture on Wednesday at the National Academy of Engineering and online. Photo credit: Chris Michel

And Bobby Braun, head of the Space Exploration Sector at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, will present the prestigious 2022 Yvonne C. Brill Lecture at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington, D.C. that afternoon. Sponsored by NAE and AIAA, the lectureship was created to honor Yvonne Brill, a distinguished aerospace engineer who passed away in 2013. Braun is a distinguished aerospace engineer himself with an impressive career at Georgia Tech, NASA, University of Colorado Boulder, JPL and now APL. His topic is: “Are We Alone?: Grand Challenges in Solar System Exploration.” The lecture is free, open to the public, and will be webcast.

For those not covering the Crew-5 launch on Wednesday, National Space Council Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh will be making remarks at a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon at the same time (an unfortunate outcome of the change in launch dates). His comments will be followed by a discussion “with space workforce policy leaders from the National Space Council, Department of Labor, and Department of Education about priorities and actions being taken to strengthen the space workforce and discuss how government and industry can better partner on those efforts.”

For planetary scientists, the big event this week is the DPS meeting taking place in Canada this year. The American Astronomical Society’s annual Division on Planetary Sciences gathering is where the latest discoveries in planetary science are revealed and/or discussed. A virtual option is available. There are far too many interesting sessions to summarize here, but it looks like it will be another great year.

Those events and others 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-Friday, October 2-7

Monday, October 3

Monday-Friday, October 3-7

Tuesday, October 4

Tuesday, October 4 – Monday, October 10

Wednesday, October 5

Wednesday-Thursday, October 5-6

  • Crew-5 Launch and Docking, continuous NASA TV coverage begins Wednesday at 8:30 am ET
    • Wednesday, October 5
    • Thursday, October 6
      • Docking, ISS, Earth orbit, 4:57 pm ET
      • Hatch Opening, 6:43 pm ET
      • Welcome Ceremony, 8:15 pm ET

Thursday, October 6

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