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Our Meeting Summaries

Rep. Bridenstine Addresses Commercial Spaceflight Federation, February 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-Feb-2016 (Updated: 29-Feb-2016 06:53 AM)
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) spoke to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) on February 26, 2016.  He laid out a multipronged legislative agenda to advance commercial space.  He plans to introduce the American Space Renaissance Act later in the year that will address many of those issues, but he does not expect it to pass en toto.  Instead, he views it as a conversation piece and repository for "plug and play" provisions that can be inserted in other legislation, especially the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act now in development. published a summary of Bridenstine's remarks on February 28, 2016.

FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference, February 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2016 (Updated: 08-Feb-2016 01:02 AM)

The FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) held its annual Commercial Space Transportation conference on February 2-3, 2016 in Washington, DC. published two articles summarizing discussions at the conference:

NASA Advisory Council Hears about Lunar Orbit Shakedown Cruise, December 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Dec-2015 (Updated: 07-Dec-2015 10:50 PM)

The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) met at NASA's Johnson Space Center on December 1-3, 2015.   It heard presentations from NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Bill Gerstenmaier and ISS Program Director Sam Scimemi about NASA's plans for human spaceflight especially in the 2020s.   NASA revealed that it is planning a one year "shakedown cruise" in lunar orbit around 2029 to test hardware and crews before sending them on an even longer mission to Mars.  Such missions will require development of a habitation module in addition to the Orion spacecraft.  NASA is considering whether a single monolithic module should be developed or something that could be launched in smaller pieces and assembled in orbit.  They also discussed NASA's plans for low Earth orbit (LEO) after the International Space Station (ISS) ceases operations. published a summary of the meeting on December 7 under the title "NAC Hears About Lunar Orbit Shakedown Cruise, Worries About Readiness for New Administration."

Council on Foreign Relations Panel on Future of Space, November 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-Nov-2015 (Updated: 22-Nov-2015 10:48 PM)

The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a panel discussion on the future of space on November 19, 2015.  The three panelists were:

  • Lori Garver, General Manager, Air Line Pilots Association, and former NASA Deputy Administrator
  • John Logsdon, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University
  • Charles Miller, President, NexGen Space LLC published a summary of the discussion on November 22, 2015.

COMSTAC Meeting, October 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 25-Oct-2015 (Updated: 25-Oct-2015 02:33 PM)

The FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) met on October 21, 2015.   COMSTAC is a federally-chartered advisory committee that provides advice to the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). published a summary of comments made by George Nield, FAA's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, regarding his position on a proposal by European Space Agency Director General Johannes-Dietrich Woerner for building a village on the Moon.   Another article summarized comments by Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) regarding the status of legislation on Capitol Hill.   The two articles are as follows:

NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot Speaks to Space Transportation Association, October 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Oct-2015 (Updated: 07-Oct-2015 10:05 PM)
NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot spoke to the Space Transportation Association (STA) on Capitol Hill on October 7, 2015.  His comments focused primarily on NASA's "Journey to Mars" to send people to Mars in the 2030s. published a summary of his remarks that day.

Commercial LEO Space Stations Panel, September 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-Sep-2015 (Updated: 22-Sep-2015 09:13 PM)

The Secure World Foundation and the Alliance for Space Development organized a panel discussion on September 22, 2015 on Commercial LEO Space Stations: Preparing for the Future.   Panelists were:

  • Charles Miller, President, NexGen Space, LLC
  • Mike Gold, Director, DC Operations and Business Growth, Bigelow Aerospace
  • Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • Steph Earle, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation
  • Ian Christensen, Secure World Foundation (moderator) published a summary of the panel on September 22, 2015.  The overall theme is that a "seamless transition" is needed between the end of operations of the International Space Station and commercial space stations to take its place.

ISS R&D Conference, July 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-Sep-2015 (Updated: 22-Sep-2015 09:10 PM)
The American Astronautical Society organized the 4th International Space Station Research and Development (ISS R&D) conference that was held on July 7-9, 2015 in Boston, MA.   In an on-stage interview by NASA ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini on the first day, SpaceX founder Elon Musk discussed the status of the investigation of the Falcon 9 launch failure that occurred on June 28, 2015, destroying a Dragon spacecraft loaded with supplies for the ISS.  Suffredini reassured conference attendees, who are users of the ISS, that the space station remains healthy despite the loss of that and two other cargo missions in the past eight months.  Separately, NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier stressed that the ISS does have a finite lifetime and it is time to plan for whatever will come after it. published a summary of that first day of the conference on July 7, 2015.

NASA Administrator Bolden to Space Transportation Association, May 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 18-May-2015 (Updated: 18-May-2015 07:33 PM)
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden spoke to the Space Transportation Association (STA) on May 18, 2015.   The talk focused primarily on the goal of sending humans to Mars and the need for Congress and the White House to work together or the goal will never be achieved.  He also discussed the disagreement between the Obama Administration and some in Congress over funding for NASA's earth science program, and many other topics. published a summary of his remarks on May 18, 2015.

NASA Advisory Council, April 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 10-Apr-2015 (Updated: 10-Apr-2015 11:34 PM)

The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) considered a number of findings and recommendations during its April 9-10, 2015 meeting.  Several were adopted, including a finding that the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) should be modified so that the spacecraft makes a round-trip journey to Mars instead of an asteroid.  One on which consensus could not be reached concerned whether the technology development effort for sending people to Mars is adequately funded. published two articles on April 10, 2015 summarizing the actions at NAC: