House SS&T Subcommittee Hearing on Deep Space Human Exploration, September 2019

House SS&T Subcommittee Hearing on Deep Space Human Exploration, September 2019

The Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on September 18, 2019 on “Developing Core Capabilities for Deep Space Exploration: An Update on NASA’s SLS, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems.”  Most of the hearing focused on SLS/Orion/EGS in the context of the Artemis program to return astronauts to Moon’s surface by 2024 although other human space exploration issues were discussed as well.

SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on September 18:  Skepticism Abounds on Moon-by-2024 Goal at House Hearing. 

Witnesses were:

  • Ken Bowersox, Acting Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA
  • Cristina Chaplain, Director, Contracting and National Security ACquisitions, Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  • Doug Cooke, Cooke Concepts and Solutions, Former NASA Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems
SASC Hearing on Barbara Barrett’s Nomination to be Secretary of the Air Force, Septembe 2019

SASC Hearing on Barbara Barrett’s Nomination to be Secretary of the Air Force, Septembe 2019

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) held a hearing on September 12, 2019 to consider the nomination of Barbara Barrett to be Secretary of the Air Force.  Most of the hearing dealt with non-space issues, but Barrett was asked about the Space Force, space launch, and international rules of the road for space.

SpacePolicyOnline.com summarized the space-related aspects of the hearing on September 12:  Barrett Endorses Space Force as Senate Appropriators Approve Funding.

House SS&T Subcommittee Hearing on Commercial Space Activities, July 2019

House SS&T Subcommittee Hearing on Commercial Space Activities, July 2019

The Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on “The Commercial Space Landscape” on July 25, 2019.  Subcommittee chair Kendra Horn (D-OK) described it as “commercial space 101” to help the subcommittee prioritize what topics it should focus on in future hearings.  Witnesses were:

  • Dr. Bhavya Lal, Research Staff Member, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute
  • Ms. Carissa Christensen, Chief Executive Officer, Bryce Space and Technology
  • Mr. Eric W. Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Mr. Mike French, Vice President, Space Systems, Aerospace Industries Association
  • Laura Montgomery, Proprietor, Ground Based Space Matters, Professor, Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law (added July 23)

Stallmer strongly criticized new proposed regulations from the FAA for the commercial space launch business.  SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing focusing on Stallmer’s remarks on July 25, 2019: CSF’s Stallmer Slams FAA’s Proposed Commercial Space Regulations.

House Appropriations CJS Hearing on OSTP with Comments about Artemis, July 2019

House Appropriations CJS Hearing on OSTP with Comments about Artemis, July 2019

The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee held an oversight hearing for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on July 24, 2019.  OSTP Director Kelvin Droegemeier was the only witness.  During the hearing, subcommittee chairman José Serrano (D-NY) discussed NASA’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.

SpacePolicyOnline.com published an article about that aspect of the hearing on July 24:  Serrano Supports Astronauts on the Moon, but Not By 2024.

Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on NASA’s Moon to Mars Plans, July 2017

Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on NASA’s Moon to Mars Plans, July 2017

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing on July 17, 2019 — during celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon — on “Moon to Mars:  NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Plans.”  Despite the title, the hearing was focused almost entirely on the Trump Administration’s plan to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024, the Artemis program.

The only witness was NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on July 17, 2019: Senators Press NASA on Green Run Test, Artemis Cost Estimate.

Senate Commerce Subcommittee Hearing re Apollo 11 Anniversary and NASA’s Future Exploration Plans, July 2019

Senate Commerce Subcommittee Hearing re Apollo 11 Anniversary and NASA’s Future Exploration Plans, July 2019

The Aviation and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing on July 9, 2019 on “NASA’s Exploration Plans:  Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going.”  The hearing was held a week before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.  Three icons from the Apollo era were among the witnesses:  Gene Kranz, Apollo 11 and 13 flight director; Homer Hickam, former NASA engineer and author of the Rocket Boys; and Christine Darden, former NASA mathematician and aerospace engineer who was highlighted in the book and movie Hidden Figures.  The hearing also looked out to the next 50 years.  Joining them at the witness table were the presidents of two industry associations:  Mary Lynne Dittmar of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and Eric Stallmer of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on July 9, 2019: “Senate Committee Working on New, Bold NASA Authorization Bill.”

House SS&T Subcommittee Hearing on NASA’s Science Portfolio, June 2019

House SS&T Subcommittee Hearing on NASA’s Science Portfolio, June 2019

The Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on June 11, 2019 on “Discovery on the Frontiers of Space: Exploring NASA’s Science Mission.”  Witnesses were:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate
  • Chelle Gentemann, Senior Scientist, Earth & Space Research, and co-chair of the National Academies’ Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space
  • David Spergel, Charles Young Professor of Astronomy, Princeton University; Director, Center for Computational Astrophysics, Flatiron Institute; and past chair of the National Academies’ Space Studies Board
  • Mark Sykes, CEO and Director, Planetary Science Institute

SpacePolicyOnline.com published two articles summarizing different aspects of the hearing on June 11, 2019:

SASC Confirmation Hearing for Scolese (NRO) and Raymond (USSPACECOM)

SASC Confirmation Hearing for Scolese (NRO) and Raymond (USSPACECOM)

On June 4, 2019, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) held a nomination hearing for Chris Scolese to be Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and Gen. John “Jay” Raymond to be Commander of U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) and continue as Commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSC).

SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on June 4:  Scolese, Raymond Breeze Through SASC Confirmation Hearing.

Senate Commerce Hearing on New Entrants in the National Airspace, May 2019

Senate Commerce Hearing on New Entrants in the National Airspace, May 2019

On May 8, 2019, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing on “New Entrants in the National Airspace: Policy, Technology and Security Issues for Congress.”

The National Airspace System (NAS) is overseen by the FAA to ensure that all users can operate safely. That is becoming more challenging as drones and space launches and reentries join traditional aircraft in that domain.  This hearing looked at the impact both the burgeoning use of drones and the rise in commercial space launches and reentries is having on management of the NAS.   Representing the commercial space launch business were Wayne Monteith, the new Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the FAA, and Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

SpacePolicyOnline.com published a synopsis of the hearing on May 8 as part of its “Today’s Tidbits” feature for that day.

House SS&T Hearing on “Keeping Our Sights on Mars,” May 2019

House SS&T Hearing on “Keeping Our Sights on Mars,” May 2019

On May 8, 2019, the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) Committee held a hearing on “Keeping Our Sights on Mars: NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Program and Lunar Proposal.”

The hearing was held in the wake of Vice President Pence’s directive that NASA accelerate its plans to return humans to the Moon so they arrive in 2024 (Moon 2024) instead of 2028 as earlier planned.  NASA emphasizes that the Moon is a steppingstone to humans on Mars — the Moon to Mars program — but some Mars enthusiasts, including members of this subcommittee, worry that Mars is fading as a goal.  Subcommittee members, including Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma), its chair, also want to know how much it will cost to accelerate the human lunar landing to 2024, but the witnesses did not have an answer.

SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the hearing on May 8:  Horn: “We’re Flying Blind” on Moon 2024 Proposal.  Witnesses were:

  • Mr. William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Mr. Mark Sirangelo, Special Assistant to the Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Dr. Jonathan Lunine, Director, Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Co-Chair of the Former Committee on Human Spaceflight, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Dr. Patricia Sanders, Chair, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
  • Mr. Walt Faulconer, President, Faulconer Consulting Group, LLC