What’s Happening in Space Policy October 21-27, 2018

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 21-27, 2018

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of October 21-27, 2018 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess (except for pro forma sessions) until after the elections.

During the Week

The fourth meeting of the White House National Space Council on Tuesday highlights the week.  The focus is the Space Force — progress made and next steps.  In addition to Council chair Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Council, three speakers are on the agenda:  Doug Loverro, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy; Mark Sirangelo, University of Colorado Boulder (formerly Sierra Nevada Corp.); and Lt. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin (Ret.), former Deputy Commander of U.S. Cyber Command.  The meeting is at Ft. McNair in Washington, DC and will be webcast on the White House and NASA websites (11:30 am -1:30 pm ET).

Immediately prior to that (9:00-11:30 am ET), a Washington Post Live event will also feature Pence talking about the Space Force.  He will be interviewed by Washington Post national political reporter and host of PBS’s Washington Week Robert Costa.  That meeting has many other interesting speakers including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, another member of the Space Council.  He and Pence will have to hustle across town to get to the Space Council meeting in time.  The two events will be webcast so those watching on the web can easily move from one to the other.  Attending both in person?  Not so easy.

There’s quite a list of other really good meetings this week, too, far too many to discuss here.  They include two NASA science advisory committees (astrophysics and heliophysics) and one of the National Academies’ standing committees (biological and physical sciences in space).

The BIG science meeting, though is the Division on Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) all week in Knoxville, TN. DPS  is always a treasure trove of the latest in planetary science.  To offer just two examples, this year it has a session on early results from Japan’s Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission.  Three tiny rovers were dispatched from Hayabusa2 onto the surface of asteroid Ryugu in the past month.  Hayabusa2 itself will collect samples from the surface next year and return them to Earth in 2020.  Another session is on NASA’s New Horizons mission, the first to fly by Pluto (in 2015) and now enroute to check out a Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule.  It will arrive there on New Year’s Day.

The other AAS — the American Astronautical Society — is also having a BIG meeting this week: the annual Von Braun symposium in Huntsville, AL.  The theme this year is Galvanizing U.S. Leadership in Space.  Conference sessions are on Wednesday and Thursday.  Bridenstine is the luncheon speaker on Thursday.  Sessions include an Exploration update with NASA and industry speakers; a panel on lunar surface exploration including Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt; a panel on aerospace workforce development; a Commercial Space Outlook with speakers from MAXAR Technologies, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman; and many more.  NASA science mission directorate head Thomas Zurbuchen will be there Wednesday afternoon to talk about the intersection between space science and exploration.

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.

Sunday, October 21

Sunday-Friday, October 21-26

Monday-Tuesday, October 22-23

Tuesday, October 23

Tuesday-Thursday, October 23-25

Wednesday, October 24

Thursday, October 25


This article has been updated. Also, the NASA Astrophysics Advisory Committee meeting is virtual, not at NASA HQ.

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