NASA Certifies Crew Dragon for Operational Flights

NASA Certifies Crew Dragon for Operational Flights

Weather permitting, the first operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will lift off from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday after clearing its Flight Readiness Review (FRR) yesterday. In conjunction with that process, NASA formally certified Crew Dragon as meeting NASA’s technical and safety human spaceflight requirements, the last milestone in the years-long effort to develop and test this “commercial crew” space transportation system.

Read More Read More

Senate Appropriators Evaluating Need to Change Law on Space Passenger Safety

Senate Appropriators Evaluating Need to Change Law on Space Passenger Safety

The Senate Appropriations Committee said today it is evaluating the need to change existing law that prohibits the FAA from promulgating new regulations on the safety of commercial human spaceflight passengers until 2023.  It also wants the FAA to assess how its launch and reentry licensing process could be used to address risks from reentering space debris.

Read More Read More

Office of Space Commerce Gets Boost from Senate, But Will Remain in NOAA

Office of Space Commerce Gets Boost from Senate, But Will Remain in NOAA

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a significant funding increase for NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce (OSC) for FY2021.  The committee did not, however, agree to elevating OSC out of NOAA and into the office of the Secretary of Commerce who wants to create a Bureau of Space Commerce with expanded responsibilities. A separate bill to do just that will be marked up by a different Senate committee next week.

Read More Read More

Senate Appropriators Approve Far Less for HLS Than Needed to Meet 2024 Goal

Senate Appropriators Approve Far Less for HLS Than Needed to Meet 2024 Goal

The Senate Appropriations Committee released its recommendations for all 12 FY2021 appropriations bills today.  The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill provides NASA with $23.5 billion, $1.75 billion less than requested. The House-passed bill keeps the agency at its current level of $22.6 billion, so the final compromise likely will be somewhere in that range. NASA’s request for Human Landing Systems (HLS) for the Artemis program was particularly hard hit on both sides of Capitol Hill.

Read More Read More

Biden-Harris Transition Team Names Landing Party Members

Biden-Harris Transition Team Names Landing Party Members

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are proceeding with preparations to take office on January 20 even though President Trump has not conceded.  They named members of their Agency Review Teams, or “landing parties” today to interact with current agency officials to help ensure a seamless transition on Inauguration Day. NASA’s team will be led by Ellen Stofan, a former NASA Chief Scientist, and the Department of Commerce team includes former astronaut Kathy Sullivan.

Read More Read More

Raymond’s New Space Force Planning Guidance Calls for Boldness

Raymond’s New Space Force Planning Guidance Calls for Boldness

Chief of Space Operations (CSO) Gen. Jay Raymond issued planning guidance for the U.S. Space Force this morning as the newest military service closes in on its first anniversary. The news was somewhat overshadowed this afternoon by President Trump’s firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, but Esper’s departure should not have any impact on Raymond’s plans for moving forward. Boldness is his watchword.

Read More Read More

What’s Happening in Space Policy November 8-14, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy November 8-14, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of November 8-14, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House chamber will meet only in pro forma sessions, but at least one hearing is scheduled.

Read More Read More

Cantwell Supports Artemis But Wants “Accurate” Timeframe

Cantwell Supports Artemis But Wants “Accurate” Timeframe

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) expressed enthusiasm for the Artemis program today, but with the caveat that an “accurate” timeframe needs to be set.  Getting back to the Moon by 2024 would have an “enormous” cost. She sees passage of a NASA authorization bill as important for setting NASA’s priorities and while she could not promise it would happen by the end of this year, she is confident it will no later than early 2021.

Read More Read More

Election 2020 — Patience is the Watchword

Election 2020 — Patience is the Watchword

Two days after polls closed in the 2020 U.S. elections, ballots are still being counted in a number of states and the results are too close to call for President and some congressional races.  Patience is the watchword as everyone sits on tenterhooks to see if January 20, 2021 will be inauguration day for a new President Biden or a second term for President Trump. The congressional landscape turned out much better for Republicans than almost anyone imagined and control of the Senate may not be determined until January.

Read More Read More

Rocket Lab Will Try to Recover Next Electron’s First Stage

Rocket Lab Will Try to Recover Next Electron’s First Stage

Rocket Lab announced today that it will try to recover the first stage of its Electron rocket on the very next launch, number 16, later this month, rather than waiting for the 17th as planned. This launch already has garnered special interest not only because it will place 30 small satellites and a 3-D printed gnome into orbit, but because 1 dollar will be donated to a children’s hospital in New Zealand for every person who views it on Rocket Lab’s website.

Read More Read More