What’s Happening in Space Policy September 11-17, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy September 11-17, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of September 11-17, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

FY2022 ends in three weeks and none of the FY2023 appropriations bills has cleared Congress. The House may pass a FY2023 Continuing Resolution (CR) this week that would keep the government funded through mid-December. The end date is still in play along with what other legislation may be tacked onto it, so there’s no certainty the House will take it up this week, but Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has it on the agenda as a possibility. Some Senators and at least 70 House Democrats object to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s idea of attaching legislation promoted by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on energy permitting that they argue will have detrimental environmental impacts. That topic is far outside the scope of this website. We note it only in the context of whether and when there’ll be a CR. The likelihood of a shutdown is very small, but as we frequently say, it’s not over till it’s over.

Lt. Gen. B. Chance Salzman, nominee for U.S Space Force Chief of Space Operations. His nomination hearing is on Tuesday.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on the nomination of Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman to be promoted to General and become the new U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, succeeding Gen. Jay Raymond.

Saltzman is currently Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber and Nuclear. It’s hard to believe it’s been amost three years already since the U.S. Space Force was created and Raymond, already serving as Commander of the newly reestablished U.S. Space Command, got a second hat as the first CSO. Space Force has come a long way since then, but is still building itself. Saltzman, if confirmed as expected, will have a lot on his plate. The hearing will be webcast on the committee’s website.

NASA continues work on repairing seals on two Quick Disconnect fittings on the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket. A liquid hydrogen (LH2) leak scrubbed the uncrewed test flight around the Moon on September 3, following a scrub five days earlier when a sensor incorrectly indicated that one of the four engines was not chilled to the right temperature.

NASA has scheduled a “tanking test” on Saturday, September 17, to fill the propellant tanks with cryogenic LH2 and liquid oxygen (LOX) and run them through the lines to make sure all the seals are secure. Exploration Ground Systems Program Manager Mike Bolger said he wouldn’t be surprised if that slipped a day or two, however, so we haven’t put it on our Calendar yet. NASA also is waiting to hear back from the U.S. Space Force about extending a waiver to a requirement to replace a critical battery in the Flight Termination System. If the answer is no, NASA will have to roll the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.  NASA is targeting September 23 or September 27 for the next launch attempt, but we won’t post anything on our Calendar until the situation is clearer.

President John F. Kennedy’s speech at Rice University on September 12, 1962 will be commemorated on Monday.

NASA leaders often repeat the refrain that “space is hard.” Tomorrow (Monday) Rice University and NASA will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the most famous line to that effect, President John F. Kennedy’s “we do these things … not because they are easy, but because they are hard” speech at Rice.

Many, many people confuse the Rice speech with JFK’s original challenge to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade — the beginning of the Apollo program. That was a year-and-half earlier, on May 25, 1961, in an address to a joint session of Congress.

The Rice speech on September 12, 1962 was an attempt to build support for Apollo, which did not enjoy the broad public or congressional acclaim that has become part of the lore of that era. John Logsdon has written an excellent book, “John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon,” that traces the President’s own doubts, but also his determination to press on as reflected in the Rice speech. His May 25, 1961 speech seems to have faded from memory even though it was an astonishingly bold pronouncement coming just 6 weeks after the first human orbited Earth (Yuri Gagarin, April 12, 1961) and 3 weeks after the first American reached space on a suborbital flight (Alan Shepard, May 5, 1961). But the Rice speech was good, too. Tomorrow NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will be the keynote speaker.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is a keynote speaker at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Aerospace Summit on Wednesday.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold a Global Aerospace Summit in Washington, D.C. Generally, space is the main topic on Wednesday and aviation on Thursday, though there’s some overlap. It has an excellent line-up of speakers on panels or in “fireside chats.” There are too many to summarize here so we will mention just a few: Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commision (which is getting increasingly involved in space regulation); Don Graves, Deputy Secretary of Commerce; Billy Nolen, FAA Acting Administrator; David Calhoun, President and CEO of Boeing; Mike Sarafin, NASA Artemis Mission Manager; Scott Pace, GW Space Policy Institute and former Executive Secretary of the Trump White House National Space Council on a panel with NASA’s Alex MacDonald and Raytheon’s Roy Azevedo; Peter Beck, Rocket Lab, in a fireside chat with former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden; Charity Weeden, Astroscale, and Takeshi Hakamada, ispace, on a panel with CNN’s Kristin Fisher talking about the cislunar economy; and a panel on commercial space stations with Axiom’s Mary Lynne Dittmar, Voyager Space’s Jeff Manber, and NASA’s Misty Snopkowski moderated by the Smithsonian’s Ellen Stofan.

A number of interesting events are taking place overseas, too. The second session of the first meeting of the U.N. Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Reducing Space Threats will take place in Geneva. Though awkwardly named, it is a very important venue where countries are discussing international norms, rules and principles of behavior in space. The first session was held in May. Canada’s Project Ploughshares has a good summary and co-author Jessica West did a great job of live-tweeting it (@JessLuella_West). She says this week’s meeting will be broadcast on UN TV.

In Paris, Euroconsult will hold its 25th annual World Satellite Business Week Monday-Thursday, and the Space Generation Advisory Council will hold its 20th Space Generation Congress Wednesday-Friday in the lead-up to the International Astronautical Congress next week.

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 (including updates on the Artemis tanking test).

Monday, September 12

Monday-Friday, September 12-16

Tuesday, September 13

Tuesday-Wednesday, September 13-14

Wednesday, September 14

Wednesday-Thursday, September 14-15

Wednesday-Friday, September 14-16

Thursday, September 15

Thursday-Friday, September 15-16

Friday, September 16

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