What’s Happening in Space Policy September 4-10, 2022

What’s Happening in Space Policy September 4-10, 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of September 4-10, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House will meet only in pro forma sessions, but committees will meet virtually.

During the Week

It was another no-go for NASA’s uncrewed Artemis I test flight yesterday. Although trying again tomorrow was an option, agency officials have concluded they need to wait at least until later this month or October as they diagnose and correct the liquid hydrogen leak that scrubbed today’s attempt. If they roll the rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, as appears likely, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said they will wait until mid-late October so as not to conflict with the next crew launch to the International Space Station on October 3, which will take off from an adjacent launch pad.

NASA said they will have another briefing this week with an update on their plans. Details are TBA. We will post whatever information we get to our Calendar. This NASA graphic shows when they can launch from an orbital dynamics perspective, but does not take account of the October 3 Crew Dragon launch. Grey and red blocks indicate they can’t launch, green means they can. The difference between the light green and dark green is whether it would be a short-duration (26-28 days) or long duration (38-42 days) mission.

Meanwhile, this week starts with a holiday, Labor Day, and federal offices are closed. Congress gets back to work on Tuesday, with its own countdown to face — the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

As usual, none of the appropriations bills for the next fiscal year, FY2023, has cleared Congress. Six passed the House grouped together into a “mini-bus” bill, but not the ones that fund NASA and NOAA (Commerce-Justice-Science) or DOD (Defense). None have passed the Senate. In fact, none has even been formally reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee. Instead, the Democratic leadership released its versions of all 12 bills after Republicans declined to negotiate. (The same thing happened the previous two years under both Republican and Democratic leadership.)

That means a Continuing Resolution (CR) for some period of time. Typically in an election year the first CR covers a time period past election day when it’s clear which party will be in control of each chamber. It’s not uncommon for subsequent CRs to push that into the next year, but there is some hope the bills will pass before the end of this Congress on January 3, 2023 because the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee are both retiring — Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — and it would be a tribute to their tenures. But that’s no guarantee.

Those discussions take place behind closed doors so there’s nothing to list in the Calendar, but we’ll let you know if there’s any breaking news, which is not likely this week.

The big event this week is the second meeting of the White House National Space Council on Friday at Johnson Space Center. Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the Council, announced the meeting in mid-August when she participated in a “tour” of novel commercial space companies who came to the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA to discuss their plans. Harris said the main topic of the Space Council meeting will be what needs to be done from a regulatory perspective to help commercial space companies succeed.  Beyond that, we don’t have any details yet.

Marc Johemich, head of DLR’s Washington Office, is this week’s guest on the Space Foundation’s Start Here for Space series.

On Tuesday, the Space Foundation will hold the final episode of its series of Start Here for Space webinars focused on international cooperation.

Since August, the Space Foundation has been holding half-hour webinars with Washington representatives of non-U.S. space agencies to talk about what their agencies are doing and cooperation with the United States. This week’s guest is Marc Johemich, Head of the Washington Office of DLR, the German Aerospace Agency. Previous episodes (archived on the Space Foundation’s website) were with Sylvie Espinasse from ESA, Masami Onoda from JAXA, Jill Smyth from CSA, Nicholas Maubert from CNES and Krunal Joshi from ISRO.

AIAA has an interesting webinar on Wednesday as part of its series leading up to the ASCEND conference in October. This one focuses on “Nuclear’s Future Role in Space.” A panel of experts from NASA Glenn Research Center, Air Force Research Lab, USNC-Tech, BWXT Advanced Technologies, and Lockheed Martin will discuss how nuclear power and propulsion can help enable a “new Space Age.”  Julie Van Kleek, AIAA’s Executive Producer for ASCEND, is the moderator and BWXT’s Jonathan Cirtin will offer opening remarks.

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.

Monday, September 5

Tuesday, September 6

Wednesday, September 7

Wednesday-Thursday, September 7-8

Thursday, September 8

Friday, September 9

Friday-Sunday, September 9-11

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