What’s Happening in Space Policy September 24-29, 2017

What’s Happening in Space Policy September 24-29, 2017

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of September 24-29, 2017 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

A good portion of the space community is in Adelaide, Australia this week for the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC). The IAC combines meetings of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and International Institute of Space Law (IISL).  Pre-conference events have already begun.

We’re checking to see what events will be livestreamed.  IAC livestreamed plenary sessions and selected others last year, so hopefully they will again this year. The time zone difference is a bit daunting this time, though. Adelaide is 13.5 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) so, for example, 9:00 am Monday local time in Adelaide is 7:30 pm Sunday EDT. [UPDATE: IAC SAYS IT WILL NOT WEBCAST ANY OF THE CONFERENCE.  SPACEX WILL WEBCAST MUSK’S PRESENTATION ON FRIDAY.  AUSTRALIA’S SCIENCE CHANNEL WILL WEBCAST A FRIDAY LOCKHEED MARTIN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT ITS MARS PLANS PLUS A PANEL THAT WILL DISCUSS MUSK’S PRESENTATION. SEE OUR CALENDAR ENTRY FOR LINKS.]

Although there are many excellent sessions, everyone is abuzz about one on the last day — Friday — when Elon Musk will present his latest plans for sending humans to Mars.  He first outlined his concept at last year’s IAC in Guadalajara, Mexico.  He hinted in July at the International Space Station R&D Conference that he has rethought a lot of that, so it will interesting to hear how it has evolved.  IAC says it will be livestreamed.  It is at 2:00 pm local time in Adelaide, which is 12:30 am EDT (yes, just after midnight Friday morning).

Lockheed Martin also will provide an update on its own concept for a Mars Base Camp in orbit around Mars on Friday. The company announced it last year during a hearing before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Back here in the States, Vice President Mike Pence will visit NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL tomorrow (Monday).  He’s in the area to stump for Sen. Luther Strange who is in a run-off election on Tuesday. President Trump was in Huntsville on Friday and mentioned NASA and Pence’s visit in passing. Pence is using the opportunity to visit NASA MSFC and other facilities at the Redstone Arsenal.  NASA’s press release didn’t indicate that any of the visit would be broadcast on NASA TV or social media outlets.

Three congressional hearings this week may be of interest. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on the reappointment of Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. as a general and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on four nominations submitted by President Trump, one of which is for Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet (Ret.) to be Deputy Administrator of NOAA; and the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday on the recent total solar eclipse.

Also on Thursday, the Library of Congress Kluge Center will hold an all-day symposium on “Life as it Could be: Astrobiology, Synthetic Biology, and the Future of Life.” It is open to the public and although it will not be webcast, a video will be made and posted on the Center’s website and YouTube later.

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-Friday, September 24-29

Monday, September 25

Monday-Wednesday, September 25-27

Tuesday, September 26

Wednesday, September 27

Wednesday-Thursday, September 27-28

Thursday, September 28

Friday, September 29

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