What’s Happening in Space Policy June 14-20, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 14-20, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 14-20, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them.  The Senate is in session this week.  The House is in a Committee Work Day period.

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Congress Approves Move of Biological and Physical Sciences from HEOMD to SMD

Congress Approves Move of Biological and Physical Sciences from HEOMD to SMD

Congress has approved NASA’s proposal to move responsibility for biological and physical sciences research into the Science Mission Directorate (SMD).  That field of research has bounced around within NASA over the decades and most recently was part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).

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Kathy Lueders New Head of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program

Kathy Lueders New Head of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program

Kathy Lueders is the new head of NASA’s human spaceflight program — the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).  She succeeds Doug Loverro who resigned last month after less than six months on the job. She has gained renown as manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that on May 30, in partnership with SpaceX, launched the first American astronauts into orbit from American soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

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SASC Prohibits DOD From Complying With “Misguided” FCC Ligado Decision

SASC Prohibits DOD From Complying With “Misguided” FCC Ligado Decision

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved its version of the FY2021 defense authorization bill yesterday and shared some of its provisions today. Among them, the committee prohibits DOD from spending money to comply with the FCC’s decision to allow Ligado to use frequencies close to those used for the GPS system until certain conditions are met.  DOD and many SASC members strongly oppose the FCC decision.

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Astrobotic Wins NASA’s VIPER Lunar Delivery Contract

Astrobotic Wins NASA’s VIPER Lunar Delivery Contract

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic has won a $199.5 million contract to deliver NASA’s VIPER lunar rover to the South Pole of the Moon in 2023.  The price includes launch from Earth through delivery on the Moon, but not the rover itself. 

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Zurbuchen: JWST Will Not Launch in March 2021

Zurbuchen: JWST Will Not Launch in March 2021

The much-delayed James Webb Space Telescope will miss its latest launch date, March 2021, but not because of mismanagement. This time the culprit is the coronavirus pandemic. The head of NASA’s science program said definitively today it will not launch in March, but he is optimistic it will sometime next year.  He had better news about NASA’s other top priority science mission, Mars Perseverance. That remains on track for launch next month despite a slight delay that pushes the first opportunity to July 20 — coincidentally the 51st anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

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Pace, Bowersox Worry About Artemis Funding

Pace, Bowersox Worry About Artemis Funding

The National Space Council’s Scott Pace and NASA’s Ken Bowersox both expressed concern about getting the money needed to execute the Artemis program today. Pace thinks that even if Congress approves the 12 percent increase for NASA this year, the agency’s budget will grow only at the rate of inflation thereafter. Bowersox said although Congress has given NASA a lot of money already, he senses they are not yet convinced of the need to get back to the Moon by 2024.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy June 7-13, 2020

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 7-13, 2020

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 7-13, 2020 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week. The House is in a “Committee Work Day” period all week.

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Trump Campaign Pulls Ad Featuring Astronauts and Their Families

Trump Campaign Pulls Ad Featuring Astronauts and Their Families

The Trump Campaign took down an ad today that included footage from the launch of Crew Dragon on Saturday and touting what it claimed was the President’s role in the program.  It included video of the two NASA astronauts, both civil servants, as well as their wives and young children waving goodbye. One of the spouses, a former NASA astronaut, strongly objected to use of the video of her and her son for “political propaganda.”

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NASA Hopes to Name New HEOMD Chief In Weeks Not Months

NASA Hopes to Name New HEOMD Chief In Weeks Not Months

The top civil servant at NASA said today that the agency is actively looking for someone to replace Doug Loverro as the head of the human spaceflight program and hopes to name someone within weeks, not months.  It took three months to find Loverro and another two before he reported for duty in December 2019.  His sudden departure less than six months later adds turmoil to the effort to get astronauts back on the Moon by 2024.

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