What’s Happening in Space Policy October 9-13, 2017

What’s Happening in Space Policy October 9-13, 2017

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of October 9-13, 2017 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House is in session this week; the Senate is in recess (except for pro forma sessions).

During the Week

The week begins with a federal holiday, Columbus Day, and government offices will be closed.  This is one of those federal holidays that few businesses observe, instead giving their employees a holiday on the day after Thanksgiving instead.

Tuesday, October 10, is the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the U.N. Outer Space Treaty.  The British Interplanetary Society will hold a symposium about the treaty at its headquarters in London.  October 10 also marks the end of World Space Week, which began last week on October 4, the 60th birthday of the Space Age.  The U.N. declared October 4-10 as World Space Week back in 1999, with related activities around the world.

The Moon will be a topic of great interest this week as NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) meets in tandem with a Back to the Moon Workshop.  The theme of the LEAG meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning is “Science Enabled by Getting to the Surface.”  The workshop begins Thursday afternoon and runs through Friday. Both are at the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) headquarters in Columbia, MD.

LEAG’s advocacy for lunar surface research has been overshadowed in recent years by the humans-to-Mars crowd.  Now the LEAG meeting and workshop are perfectly timed to pick up where Vice President Pence left off last week at the National Space Council meeting.  Pence reiterated what he said at Kennedy Space Center in July and in a Wall Street Journal op-ed the night before the meeting — the Trump Administration wants to return humans to the lunar surface and THEN go on to Mars. That, of course, was also the directive from President George H.W. Bush in 1989 and President George W. Bush in 2004 and we’re not there yet.  But there’s always a chance that this time it’ll happen.  Perhaps the LEAG meeting and workshop will have some new ideas on how to pay for it all (i.e., not by getting American taxpayers to foot the bill, because that’s been the downfall in the past).  The event’s website does not indicate if any of the sessions will be webcast.

The annual International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) takes place in Las Cruces, New Mexico this week.  It features a mix of speakers from the government (including NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier, head of human exploration and operations, and Steve Jurcyzk, head of space technology, along with George Nield from the FAA’s space office) and entrepreneurial and traditional space companies (Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Moog, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and many more).  There are especially interesting keynotes on financial aspects by an assistant vice president and senior economist from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and by an investment banker, plus how to tackle the space radiation environment by the head of the biophysics group at Germany’s space agency, DLR.  The event’s website does not indicate if any of the sessions will be webcast.

The National Academies’ Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) is meeting this week and will receive updates on the Deep Space Gateway and Advanced Exploration Systems on Wednesday (the speakers are listed as TBD).  ASEB also is sponsoring an all-day Aero 2050 symposium on civil aviation on Thursday.  Though this is a space policy, not aeronautics, website, some of us are interested in both so we wanted to bring it to your attention.  The Aero 2050 symposium WILL be webcast.  Looks really good.

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 9

Tuesday, October 10

Tuesday-Wednesday, October 10-11

Tuesday-Thursday, October 10-12

Wednesday-Thursday, October 11-12

Wednesday-Friday, October 11-13

Thursday, October 12

Thursday-Friday, October 12-13

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