ASAP To Keep Eye on NASA’s Safety Review of Commercial Suborbital Flights

ASAP To Keep Eye on NASA’s Safety Review of Commercial Suborbital Flights

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) will be keeping on eye on how NASA goes about its safety review of commercial suborbital vehicles before putting agency personnel onboard. NASA revealed last month that it plans to fly astronauts and other employees on systems like Blue Origin’s New Shepard or Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

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NASA’s Mars Rover OK’d For Launch on Thursday

NASA’s Mars Rover OK’d For Launch on Thursday

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover cleared its Launch Readiness Review today for launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on Thursday morning. The final months of preparation amidst the coronavirus pandemic will definitely make this a mission to remember, but so too will its “transformative” task to collect samples for later return to Earth.

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Amendments to FY2021 Minibus Seek $2.6 Billion More for NASA, Changes For Other Civil Space Offices

Amendments to FY2021 Minibus Seek $2.6 Billion More for NASA, Changes For Other Civil Space Offices

The House will take up a FY2021 appropriations bill this week that includes funding for NASA, NOAA, and the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). Hundreds of amendments have been offered to the “minibus” of seven appropriations bills. Several would significantly impact civil space activities, including a proposed $2.6 billion increase for NASA above what the House Appropriations Committee recommended. Others would increase funding for FAA/AST or elevate NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce to the Department level.  Whether any of them get a chance for debate on the House floor will be determined by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy July 26-August 2, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy July 26-August 2, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of July 26-August 2, 2020 (extending a day into next week) and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session for most of this week, but the House (and the Senate?) will recess on Tuesday to participate in events honoring the late Rep. John Lewis.

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Safety Panel Laments Lack of Congressional Action on Space Traffic Management

Safety Panel Laments Lack of Congressional Action on Space Traffic Management

NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) expressed dismay at the delay in congressional action on designating an agency to take responsibility for civil space traffic management (STM).  Citing the growing dangers from space debris to the International Space Station and other NASA activities, the panel warned “the nation cannot wait any longer.”

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Raymond Asserts Russians Conducted ASAT Test Last Week

Raymond Asserts Russians Conducted ASAT Test Last Week

The Commander of U.S. Space Command asserted today that Russia conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based antisatellite (ASAT) weapon last week.  Gen. Jay Raymond, dual-hatted as the head of the U.S. Space Force, warned earlier this year of provocative actions by Russian “inspector satellites” as the United States amplifies its message that Russia and China have made space a warfighting domain.

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Space Council’s Moon to Mars Development Strategy – UPDATED

Space Council’s Moon to Mars Development Strategy – UPDATED

The White House National Space Council issued a report today laying out its rationale for deep space human exploration. A major theme is that human space exploration requires a whole-of-government approach involving not just NASA, but a host of other agencies from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Homeland Security.

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China Launches Complex Mission to Mars

China Launches Complex Mission to Mars

China launched its first solo mission to Mars, Tianwen-1, just after midnight July 23 EDT. The spacecraft is a combination orbiter, lander and rover. If successful, China will become only the second country, after the United States, to operate a rover on the Red Planet and the first to attempt such a complex mission all at once.

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Space Force’s New Motto — Semper Supra

Space Force’s New Motto — Semper Supra

The U.S. Space Force revealed its new motto and logo today as the newest military service continues to organize and form its own identity and culture separate from the Air Force.  The motto — Semper Supra — means “Always Above” and the logo builds on a long history of using the Delta symbol in the Air Force and Space Command.

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House Passes FY2021 Defense Authorization Bill, Veto Threatened

House Passes FY2021 Defense Authorization Bill, Veto Threatened

The House passed the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today by a veto-proof majority of 295-125, an important margin if President Trump follows through on his threat to veto the bill if it reaches his desk as is. The dispute is over renaming military bases, not space activities, but could endanger the entire legislation. The Senate is nearing passage of its own version of the NDAA, which also has a renaming provision.

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