SpaceX Commercial Crew Schedule Still in Flux

SpaceX Commercial Crew Schedule Still in Flux

SpaceX’s schedule for resuming its commercial crew test flights to the International Space Station (ISS) remains in flux as the investigation into the April anomaly that destroyed one of its Crew Dragon capsules continues.  The company is planning to have its next test vehicle ready by the end of the year, but NASA’s commercial crew program director said today a launch date cannot be set until the investigation is complete and other tests take place.

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NASA’s LEO Commercialization Studies Paint Questionable Outlook

NASA’s LEO Commercialization Studies Paint Questionable Outlook

NASA released brief summaries of 12 studies on the potential of commercial space stations in low Earth orbit (LEO) that it solicited last year.  While a NASA-written description portrayed the results as demonstrating profit-making potential in a variety of areas, a presentation by the deputy director of the International Space Station (ISS) program this morning painted a far more questionable outlook.

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Trump, Abe Agree on Expanded Human Space Exploration

Trump, Abe Agree on Expanded Human Space Exploration

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to “dramatically expand” human spaceflight cooperation.  Trump is in Japan on a four-day visit.  He made the announcement at a joint press conference with Abe today.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy May 26-June 1, 2019

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 26-June 1, 2019

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 26-June 1, 2019 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in recess, except for pro forma sessions.

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Sirangelo to NASA — Hi and Bye

Sirangelo to NASA — Hi and Bye

Mark Sirangelo is leaving NASA after less than two months.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the news in a memo to employees.  Sirangelo was hired as a special assistant to Bridenstine to work on the Artemis Moon program with the expectation he would head a new Moon to Mars Mission Directorate. Congress nixed the reorganization plan, so Sirangelo is leaving.

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Maxar Wins First Gateway Contract

Maxar Wins First Gateway Contract

Maxar Technologies will build the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) for NASA’s lunar Gateway, the agency announced today.  The $375 million fixed price contract is another example of NASA transitioning to a commercial procurement strategy for its human exploration program.  Maxar will deliver the spacecraft to NASA in orbit.  In fact, it does not become NASA property until after an in-orbit demonstration phase that will last up to one year after launch.

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SASC Approves Establishment of U.S. Space Force

SASC Approves Establishment of U.S. Space Force

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved the establishment of a U.S. Space Force (USSF) as a new military service within the Air Force in its version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), released today.  SASC has been much less enthusiastic than the House in the past, so its endorsement is an important marker.  SASC also agreed to reestablish a U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) as a unified combatant command.

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No Extra Moon Money in House Committee CJS Bill

No Extra Moon Money in House Committee CJS Bill

The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2020 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill that funds NASA today.  Instead of allocating more money for sending astronauts back to the Moon as requested by the Trump Administration, it added funds for NASA’s science and education programs.  The committee did not address the supplemental request, delivered just last week, for another $1.6 billion for the Artemis Moon program.  Its action was only on the original request submitted on March 11.

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Space Weather Follow-On Gets Slight Increase in House Appropriations CJS Bill

Space Weather Follow-On Gets Slight Increase in House Appropriations CJS Bill

The House Appropriations Committee is adding a little extra money for NOAA’s Space Weather Follow-on program in the FY2020 appropriations bill, $38.6 million compared to the $25.6 million requested.  NOAA’s other satellite programs generally are funded as requested, a total of $1.2 billion for procurement, acquisition and construction (PAC).  NOAA is transitioning into a new way of looking at its future satellite observing system architecture with an associated makeover of its budget accounts creating challenges in tracing the budget from year to year.

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House Appropriators Say No to Elevating Office of Space Commerce

House Appropriators Say No to Elevating Office of Space Commerce

The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) said no to the Trump Administration’s proposal to elevate the Office of Space Commerce from NOAA to the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and merge it with NOAA’s Office of Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA).  That keeps Trump Administration plans to make the Department of Commerce (DOC) the “one-stop shop” for commercial space in limbo.

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