What’s Happening in Space Policy June 30-July 13, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 30-July 13, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next two weeks, June 30-July 13, 2024, and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess this week except for pro forma sessions, returning the week of July 8.

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Date for Boeing Starliner CFT Return Still Up in the Air

Date for Boeing Starliner CFT Return Still Up in the Air

Today NASA and Boeing pushed back on the narrative that the Starliner crew is stranded in space, but declined to provide a date for when they will return. Starliner is ready to bring NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams back home anytime if there is an emergency, but otherwise they want to collect more data before deciding on a date.  They also are holding off on deciding when to try again to accomplish a spacewalk after two attempts this month were scrubbed.

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House Passes FY2025 Defense Appropriations Bill on Largely Partisan Lines

House Passes FY2025 Defense Appropriations Bill on Largely Partisan Lines

The House passed the FY2025 Defense Appropriations bill today on largely partisan lines, primarily because of social policy provisions that were included. The bill cuts almost $1 billion from the $29.6 billion requested by the Biden Administration for the U.S. Space Force as the House continues to prioritize reductions in federal spending.

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NASA Picks SpaceX To Build ISS Deorbit Vehicle

NASA Picks SpaceX To Build ISS Deorbit Vehicle

NASA just awarded a contract to SpaceX to build a vehicle to deorbit the International Space Station at the end of its lifetime, currently planned for 2030. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has been urging Congress to fund such a vehicle for more than a year, but without success so far. With 2030 just six years away, time is getting short.

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ULA Changes Plans for Vulcan’s Second Certification Mission

ULA Changes Plans for Vulcan’s Second Certification Mission

The United Launch Alliance will not wait for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spacecraft to be ready before launching the second certification mission of its new Vulcan rocket. Instead it will launch a mass simulator and use the “Cert-2” flight to test the capabilities of the new Centaur V upper stage. Cert-2 must be successfully accomplished before Vulcan can be used for national security space launches, two of which need to lift off before the end of the year.

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New NOAA Weather Satellite On Its Way to GEO

New NOAA Weather Satellite On Its Way to GEO

A new NOAA weather satellite lifted off from Kennedy Space Center this evening enroute to geostationary orbit above the equator. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U, or GOES-U, is the fourth and last in a series of advanced meteorological satellites that provide greatly improved data over their predecessors. This one has an added feature — a coronagraph to help monitor the Sun and warn of solar storms.

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China’s Chang’e-6 Returns Samples from Lunar Farside

China’s Chang’e-6 Returns Samples from Lunar Farside

China’s Chang’e-6 sample return canister landed in Inner Mongolia today, bringing back samples from the far side of the Moon for the first time in history. The farside always faces away from Earth and nothing was known about it until the Space Age began in 1957 and Soviet and American spacecraft began sending back grainy images. Those images improved considerably over the decades and show that it’s very different from the nearside. Scientists are eager to learn why and now will be able to study actual samples.

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House Appropriators Focus NASA Cuts on Science, STEM

House Appropriators Focus NASA Cuts on Science, STEM

The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee that funds NASA released its proposals for FY2025 this morning, a day prior to when it will formally mark up the bill. Only top-line numbers are available now, but the news is not good for NASA’s science and STEM programs. NASA’s science portfolio is already coping with significant cuts in FY2024 compared to what it expected and once again bears the brunt for FY2025.

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Another Spacewalk Scrub for NASA Astronauts

Another Spacewalk Scrub for NASA Astronauts

For the second time in a row, NASA had to scrub a spacewalk today.  In this case, water began leaking from NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson’s spacesuit as she and Mike Barratt were about to step out of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock into space. They were still in the airlock and could close the hatch and reattach to ISS systems relatively quickly. NASA insists they were not in danger because of the leak.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy June 23-29, 2024

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 23-29, 2024

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 23-29, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House is in session this week. The Senate is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

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