Transitioning From ISS to Commercial Space Stations: Plenty of Questions, But Few Answers

Transitioning From ISS to Commercial Space Stations: Plenty of Questions, But Few Answers

A congressional hearing today illuminated a wide range of policy issues awaiting resolution as the International Space Station nears its end, but the answers remain elusive. The ISS is expected to be decommissioned in 2030 and NASA is counting on the private sector to build new space stations in low Earth orbit, or LEO, where NASA can be just one of many customers. But timing is a challenge and the overriding concern is to avoid a gap between ISS and whatever comes next lest the only space station in LEO belongs to China.

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Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: January 29-February 11, 2024

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnline.com: January 29-February 11, 2024

Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the past two weeks, January 29-February 11, 2024, including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy February 11-17, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy February 11-17, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of February 11-17, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House is in session this week. The Senate’s schedule is uncertain.

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Greece Becomes 12th ESA Member to Join the Artemis Accords

Greece Becomes 12th ESA Member to Join the Artemis Accords

Greece just became the 35th country, and the 12th member of the European Space Agency, to sign the U.S.-led Artemis Accords. The Accords are a set of non-binding principles for responsible behavior on the Moon. ESA is one of NASA’s partners in the Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon for long-term sustainable exploration and utilization.

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Axiom-3 Home at Last

Axiom-3 Home at Last

The four-person Axiom-3 private astronaut crew is home at last, days late because of poor weather in Florida. Their ride to and from the International Space Station was aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that splashes down either in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast. Rough seas meant they spent almost a week longer in space than expected. The mission included Türkiye’s first astronaut, ESA’s first “project astronaut,” and the first Italian astronaut to make a suborbital spaceflight before visiting the ISS.

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NASA Launches PACE to Advance Knowledge of Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions

NASA Launches PACE to Advance Knowledge of Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions

Early this morning NASA launched the PACE satellite to advance understanding of the oceans, the atmosphere, and how they interact. The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud ocean-Ecosystem satellite’s launch today is the culmination of a long journey for the program, which survived repeated cancellation attempts by the Trump Administration. The launch is also the first time a U.S. government satellite has launched into a polar orbit from Florida since 1960.

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JPL Lays Off Eight Percent of Workforce Amid Budget Uncertainty

JPL Lays Off Eight Percent of Workforce Amid Budget Uncertainty

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced today that it is laying off 580 people, 8 percent of its workforce, plus contractors, because Congress has not passed FY2024 appropriations. One of JPL’s flagship missions, Mars Sample Return, would be drastically cut in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of NASA’s funding bill and while that outcome is far from certain, NASA and JPL have to plan for the worst.

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Marshall Space Flight Center Gets New Director

Marshall Space Flight Center Gets New Director

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson appointed Joseph Pelfrey as the new Director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL today. Pelfrey has been acting Center Director since Jody Singer retired last summer.

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A Valentine’s Day Launch for the Next U.S. Moon Mission

A Valentine’s Day Launch for the Next U.S. Moon Mission

Launch service provider SpaceX said today the first Intuitive Machines mission to the Moon is scheduled for launch on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Intuitive Machines is one of several companies participating in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, program to deliver NASA and other payloads to the surface of the Moon. The first CLPS mission by another company, Astrobotic, in January failed. Now it is Intuitive Machines’ turn with the IM-1 mission. If all goes well, IM-1’s lander will touch down near the Moon’s South Pole on February 22.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy February 4-10, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy February 4-10, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of February 4-10, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate and House are in session for at least part of this week.

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