SpacePolicyOnline.com Latest News
The FAA’s annual Commercial Space Transportation conference covered a lot of ground this week (February 5-6, 2014), but two topics were highlights: the Obama Administration’s recent decision to extend operations of the International Space Station (ISS) by four more years and debate about the extent of government regulation of commercial human spaceflight.
Extending ISS to 2024. NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Bill Gerstenmaier opened the conference by noting progress in the commercial crew and cargo programs and how the business environment for those companies has improved with the decision to keep ISS operating through 2024. Gerstenmaier praised that “tremendous decision” by the Obama Administration, announced last month, and the fact that it was made quickly rather than requiring independent reviews or extended debate. Gerstenmaier acknowledged that it may take several years for the other partners in the ISS to decide if they will follow suit, but “I believe they will over time.” (Editor’s Note: As we pointed out in a recent editorial, SpacePolicyOnline.com does not share his enthusiasm for extending the ISS to 2024 without an independent technical review.)
He went on to praise Russia’s “innovative spirit ... that pushes us in the right direction and helps us,” offering space tourism, the just-installed Earthkam, and the Olympic torch relay as examples: “Think Russian, think commercial.”
Not surprisingly, the decision to extend ISS to 2024 was greeted warmly by the commercial crew and commercial cargo companies whose business plans benefit from the decision. Representatives of Boeing, Orbital Sciences, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada participated in a panel discussion later that day along with Phil McAlister, NASA’s Director of Commercial Spaceflight.
McAlister said the decision took him by surprise, but he was delighted because “as of now we’ve never had a better business plan” for commercial crew. Chris Ferguson, director of commercial crew for Boeing, praised the decision, but wondered what the industry will do after 2024. “We really need to maintain this toehold” in low Earth orbit (LEO), he stressed, then asked rhetorically whether ISS will be extended to 2028 or will there be a market for commercial LEO stations. “We have to have a destination in low Earth orbit or we’ll struggle to keep the business model going,” he concluded.
McAlister was asked why ISS was extended only to 2024 instead of 2028 (when the first ISS modules will be 30 years old, a timeframe NASA has been discussing for quite some time), but said he had no insight into that decision.
Regulating Commercial Human Spaceflight. Another panel debated the regulatory environment for commercial human spaceflight. Moderated by Wayne Hale, it had an interesting group of participants– a former astronaut, Ken Reightler; an economist with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Ken Heyer; a Boeing lawyer, Russ McMurry; and a commercial space industry political insider, Jim Muncy. Collectively they offered a range of views on the issues of informed consent and the role, if any, for government regulation beyond what is already provided by the 2004 Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments (CSLAA). Muncy was substituting for XCOR's Jeff Greason. All were speaking in their personal capacities.
The primary areas of contention were the need for government regulation versus voluntary industry standards and how to ensure spaceflight participants (passengers) really do have informed consent when deciding whether or not to step aboard an orbital or suborbital commercial human spaceflight vehicle.
Under the informed consent provisions of CSLAA, companies must explain the risks and provide information on their vehicle’s safety record. Prospective passengers then make their own decisions on whether to board the flight. CSLAA prohibits the FAA from adding more regulations for a fixed period of time except under certain conditions (like a fatal accident) and one of the debates is over whether this “moratorium” or “learning period” should be extended beyond its current expiration date of September 30, 2015.
Generally, Reightler and McMurry argued in favor of some level of government regulation, while Heyer and Muncy questioned the need for anything beyond current law.
Heyer, the economist, focused on whether or not there is a market failure that makes it essential for the government to step in. He does not see one now. McMurry took the position that the government is the repository of lessons learned from 50 years of human spaceflight and “the more we push government away” the more “we fail to avail ourselves of some valuable lessons learned.” Muncy agreed that it would be “insane” to not take advantage of government help in developing space systems that are as safe as possible, but “there are a thousand ways” to do that “other than writing regulations.”
McMurry disagreed, worrying that companies who chafe at oversight by a government that has 50 years of experience in human spaceflight are exactly the ones that will “ruin the industry by creating a death that is avoidable” because they will adhere only to minimum safety standards. Reightler agreed with McMurry, cautioning that a spaceflight accident will get more public attention than a train wreck, for example.
McMurry went further, arguing that industry self-regulation lends itself to manipulation of the rules in order to turn situations to a competitive advantage. He likened it to the difference between a pick-up sports game versus a game with a referee: “If you really want fairness and ... equality, you need regulations. To what extent? Up for debate. But we need a referee.” Heyer argued that in most industries consumers are the referees. If they do not approve of a company, they take their business elsewhere. He wondered why it would be different in this case.
At the end, the panelists were asked if they, personally, would fly on one of the commercial vehicles, which elicited some of the more entertaining answers of the day. Reightler – who flew on two space shuttle missions – offered what he said was a good engineer’s answer: “it depends.” In this case, it would depend on the details, into which he would dive deeply. Heyer asked “will it cost money?” evoking jokes that that was a good economist’s answer. He added, however, “even if it was perfectly safe I still might not do it.” More broadly, he said the question is whether the average person will fly. He thinks the initial market will be wealthy thrill-seekers and scientists who have experiments to conduct, not the average person. McMurry displayed company loyalty: “If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going.” Muncy said he would be delighted to go, “but I’m not paying for the ticket.”
Other Notable Notes from the Conference
Canada's Minister of Industry, James Moore, and the President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Gen. (Ret.) Walter Natynczyk, released Canada's new framework for space policy today.
The policy starts out by saying that "space is increasingly congested, contested and competitive," a line popularized by the U.S. Government since the beginning of the Obama Administration, but quickly focuses in on Canadian national interests. The five core principles of the framework are:
The policy goes on to identify four "avenues of strategic action" for its implementation:
The last avenue calls for establishing a Canadian Space Advisory Council chaired by the President of CSA. "At the same time, the Government will empower a committee chaired by a Deputy Minister to review objectives and expenditures."
The statement ends by asserting that "It is imperative, then, that Canada remain in the vanguard of space research and application. This framework provides the policy blueprint for Canada to do so."
The report states that Canada's space industry provides 8,000 skilled jobs and contributes $3.33 billion to Canada's economy annually.
CSA receives about $300 million a year from the Canadian government. It is probably best known as a partner with the United States on the space shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs with its Canadarm and Canadarm2 robotic arms, as well as Dextre, the "hand" that goes with Canadarm2. A number of Canadian astronauts have flown on the shuttle and ISS, perhaps most famously Chris Hadfield who was the first Canadian ISS commander and captivated global audiences with his rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity ("Major Tom").
Canada also has an extensive space applications program. It is a leader in radar remote sensing from space with its Radarsat satellites and was the first country with a geostationary communications satellite, Anik, to serve domestic (rather than international) needs. (The United States launched Anik and many other Canadian satellites. Canada does not have its own orbital launch site.)
It also has space science programs, some in partnership with the United States or the European Space Agency. At an event earlier this week at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on the status of the James Webb Space Telescope, Senator Barbara Mikulski called for a special round of applause for Canada -- "one of the most wonderful neighbors you could have in the world."
From a national security space standpoint, in 1957, Canada and the United States formed what is now called the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) that is charged with aerospace warning and aerospace control, including monitoring of man-made objects in space and detection, validation and warning of attack against North America by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles.
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) pressed Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper about other countries' counterspace capabilities at a House Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday. Though it seems an unusual venue for such a discussion, he also called for relaxing "out-dated regulations" that may hamper the U.S. commercial space industry.
The hearing on worldwide threats was the House committee's counterpart to the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on the same topic last week, with the same set of witnesses: DNI Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, FBI Director James Comey, and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen.
Ruppersberger is the top Democrat, or ranking member, on the committee and therefore one of the "Gang of Eight" (the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader) whom the President must keep informed of the country's most secret intelligence activities.
Clapper's testimony yesterday was similar to what he told the Senate Committee, which is based on the U.S. Intelligence Community's assessment of current worldwide threats. An unclassified version of that report has one paragraph describing Chinese and Russian counterspace threats.
Yesterday, Ruppersberger broached space issues as part of his opening statement and followed up during the question and answer period. Space was just a small part of the discussion, but is nonetheless significant in the context of this broad hearing. He called out China's counterspace activities as one of three areas of particular concern to him (cyber and the East China Sea were the other two), and also cited keeping the U.S. commercial space industry competitive as another important issue.
"This year, we must also continue to focus our attention on space. We must continue to promote our commercial space industry and relax those out-dated regulations that are hampering our competitive advantage. I cannot emphasize enough that U.S. companies must also be allowed to compete in the free market. This competition will promote innovation in our space industry."
Commercial space did not arise again, but Ruppersberger did have a dialog with Clapper about counterspace activities, a subject the two apparently already had discussed in a classified session the previous day.
Ruppersberger began by stressing the importance of space: "We have to keep our eye on the ball as it relates to space. With all the other issues, Snowden and Syria and Iran, space is still one of the most important things that we do to protect the United States of America." He expressed concern about China's 2007 antisatellite (ASAT) test and the resulting debris that threatens U.S. space operations, but primarily he worried that "countries are working on the ability to destroy our satellites, on which so much of our daily lives and our military intelligence capabilities depend." He asked Clapper to describe the counterspace threat and whether China understands the "ramifications" of disabling a U.S. satellite.
Clapper replied that the importance of space assets is "why I intentionally brought this up at our closed session yesterday evening" where he had explained "there are countries who are pursuing very aggressive, very impressive counterspace capabilities which I cannot go into here because of classification restrictions." In the report he presented to Congress, China and Russia were the only countries specifically identified as pursuing counterspace systems and at yesterday's hearing he again singled them out. He asserted that both of those countries "well understand the implications of -- as an act of war -- to do something destructive against any of our satellites."
The question of whether China understands the repercussions of attacking U.S. space systems arose at a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing on January 28. Michael Krepon of the Stimson Center, a witness at the hearing, said he was not sure China does understand the consequences because the United States and China are not engaged in the types of dialogues and negotiations that characterized the U.S.-Soviet relationship during the Cold War. Krepon argued that he sees dysfunction between the Chinese political and military leadership and having bilateral discussions between the two countries would get everyone sitting at the same table talking about "red lines." Another witness, Robert Butterworth of Aries Analytics, disagreed, saying that he believes China fully understands that attacking U.S. satellites "means war," the same assessment Clapper provided yesterday.
George Nield, FAA’s Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, left no doubt today that he disagrees with a recommendation from his advisory committee, COMSTAC, to extend the “learning period” for commercial human spaceflight for eight years beyond when the first such spaceflight takes place.
In 2004, Congress passed a law strictly limiting the FAA’s authority to regulate the nascent commercial human spaceflight industry for eight years. The idea was that the industry needed a learning period where it could fly people into space on a commercial basis without a heavy regulatory environment that might stifle their business. Eight years later, however, not a single commercial human spaceflight had taken place, so Congress extended it for three more years, to September 30, 2015.
Now, Congress, the FAA and its Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) are debating whether there should be another extension considering that no commercial human spaceflights have taken place by now, either.
At a hearing before the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee this afternoon (February 4, 2014), Nield was asked about his view on the possibility of extending the learning period. Initially, he gave a careful answer to subcommittee chairman Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS) explaining the steps his office has been undertaking over the past year to solicit views, which culminated in circulation of a draft document and a request for comments. His office is in the process of reviewing the comments that were received with a goal of trying to reach a consensus among industry, government and academia.
Later, though, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) directly asked Nield if he agreed with COMSTAC’s recommendation that the learning period be set as eight years after the first flight carrying a spaceflight participant (a commercial passenger). “No, I do not agree” Nield replied. The United States has 50 years of human spaceflight experience, he explained, and “To put that aside and say ‘well, let’s start over’ without taking advantage of what we’ve learned I think is irresponsible.” He added that he is “sensitive” to industry’s concern that government regulations might be “burdensome,” but that is not what his office desires. “We want to enable safe and successful commercial operations,” he insisted.
George Washington University professor Henry Hertzfeld was cautious about the length of the learning period, saying it must be extended beyond 2015, but “there is no clear answer” as to when it should end. He argued that an “arbitrary” period such as eight years was not advisable, but at “some point a judgment call” will be needed.
The hearing covered a wide array of other issues associated with updating the Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA), which was enacted 30 years ago and has been amended several times since then. Among them were the following.
The hearing was more informational than decisive, discussing a range of areas where Congress might want to update CSLA, but with no clear agreement or disagreement on what is needed. The top Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), called for “a thorough and thoughtful review” and this appears to be the opening step in that process.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) told an auditorium full of workers on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) today that “I saved you from the Tea Party,” which wanted to cut the $8 billion program as a quick fix to budget challenges.
Mikulski and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden spoke at a news conference held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD where JWST is being built. For many years Mikulski has chaired the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA and last year rose to also chair the full Senate Appropriations Committee, making her a very powerful figure in determining how much money NASA gets and how it is spent.
An ardent supporter of NASA, and particularly programs at Goddard in her home state of Maryland, Mikulski was upset at significant cost growth and schedule slippage in the JWST program in 2010. She demanded an independent review of the program.
That review, led by John Casani, faulted the program’s “budgeting and program management, not technical performance.” Cost growth and schedule slippage had characterized the program already for years and the Casani report tagged the cost at $6.5 billion with a launch date of 2015 – up from a prior estimate of $5.1 billion with launch in 2014. NASA subsequently made major changes to how the program is managed within the agency and did further analysis, concluding that the cost would be $8 billion for development (not including launch or operations) with launch in 2018.
As Bolden said today, Mikulski since has held NASA’s “feet to the fire” through the practice of “tough love,” which Bolden praised. Mikulski had a different take on it, though.
“It’s not me that’s tough on you. The Tea Party’s tough on you. I’ve saved you from the Tea Party,” she asserted. The Tea Party was “seeking quick fixes to cut the budget” and JWST at “$8 billion was standing out there like in an orange jumpsuit waiting to be cut ... because of lack of stewardship and oversight at NASA. But we’ve righted that ship with the Casani report ... and an actual game plan for making sure the project is completed on time.”
Mikulski lauded the international cooperation aspects of JWST and called for a special round of applause for Canada – “one of the most wonderful neighbors you could have in the world.” The briefing included a virtual tour of the JWST by a bunny-suited Paul Geithner, JWST Deputy Program Manager, from the white room where JWST is being assembled. The extent of international cooperation in the project was evident as he named the various countries involved in building JWST’s instruments. In addition, JWST will be launched by the European Space Agency. Mikulski saw international cooperation as a feather in America’s cap: “A big nation can build a telescope, a rich nation can build a telescope, but it’s only a great nation that shares that information, that knowledge, that know how with the world.”
Bolden reassured the gathering that JWST remains on track: “We’ve got cushion in our schedule and we’re hanging in there on cost.”
Mikulski asked Geithner what lessons were learned from the Hubble Space Telescope, where the mirror was found to be defective once it was in orbit. Geithner said the “fatal flaw” with Hubble is that the same tools used in manufacturing the mirror were used to verify it met specifications. With JWST, completely separate tools are used for manufacturing and verification. In addition, the program is reviewed by an independent expert panel of scientists and engineers. Finally, the telescope can be adjusted after it is deployed in space.
JWST “will secure our lead in astronomy ... for the next 50 years,” Mikulski exclaimed. As great as Hubble is, JWST will be “far more superior.”
The following space policy events may be of interest in the week ahead. The House and Senate are in session.
During the Week
Among the highlights this week is the FAA's annual Commercial Space Transportation conference on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, DC. Speakers this year include Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations; Congressman Steve Palazzo (R-MS), chair of the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee; staff from House and Senate committees with oversight of commercial space transportation issues; and an impressive set of representatives of other government agencies, traditional and entrepreneurial space companies, and academia.
The day before that conference, George Nield, FAA's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, will testify to Palazzo's subcommittee on "Necessary Updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act." That's the law, which, among other things, created the authority for the FAA to indemnify commercial space launch companies against certain amounts of third party claims for damages from launch accidents. Congress extended the FAA's indemnification authority for three more years (to December 31, 2016) as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, but Democrats on the House committee had wanted just a one-year extension to provide time for more hearings on the topic. It wouldn't be surprising for questions to arise on indemnification despite the extension.
It's always difficult to guess what Members will be interested in at any hearing, but another issue that might come up is the extent to which the FAA should regulate commercial human spaceflight. It currently is limited by law as to how strictly it can regulate that industry until 2015. The idea of a light handed regulatory regime is to ensure that heavy regulation doesn't deter the emergence of a new industry. At last year's Commercial Space Transportation conference, Wayne Hale argued in favor of voluntary industry standards rather than government regulation. Hale is not on the list of witnesses at the hearing, but he is scheduled to speak at the conference the next day. In addition to Nield, the other hearing witnesses are Alicia Cackley from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Henry Hertzfeld from George Washington University.
Lots of other interesting events this week, too, as shown in the list below -- everything we know about as of Sunday afternoon.
Sunday-Thursday, February 2-6
Monday, February 3
Monday-Tuesday, February 3-4
Tuesday, February 4
Tuesday-Thursday, February 4-6
Wednesday-Thursday, February 5-6
Wednesday-Friday, February 5-7
Thursday, February 6
Friday, February 7
Today is the NASA Day of Remembrance 2014 honoring the astronauts who lost their lives in spaceflights. The day honors the crews of Apollo 1 (AS-204), Challenger (STS-51L) and Columbia (STS-107).
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and other NASA officials are participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery this morning and an event will be held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex beginning at 10:30 am ET.
The day honors the three-man crew of Apollo 1 (AS-204) who died in a fire in their Apollo capsule during a pre-launch test on January 27, 1967. Pictured below left to right: Ed White, Virgil "Gus" Grisson, and Roger Chaffee. They were to be the first crew of the first Apollo mission. Photo: NASA.
The crew of space shuttle Challenger (STS-51L) died when their space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff because an O-ring failied on a solid rocket booster on January 28, 1986. Pictured below left to right: front row - Mike Smith (NASA), Dick Scobee (NASA), Ron McNair (NASA); back row - Ellison Onizuka (NASA), Christa McAuliffe (teacher in space), Greg Jarvis (Hughes Aircraft), Judy Resnik (NASA). Photo: NASA
The crew of space shuttle Columbia (STS-107) died when their shuttle disintegrated during its return to Earth on February 1, 2003 when superheated gases entered the shuttle's wing through a hole punctured in it by a piece of foam that came off the External Tank during launch. Pictured below left to right: David Brown (NASA), Rick Husband (NASA), Laurel Clark (NASA), Kalpana Chawla (NASA), Michael Anderson (NASA), William McCool (NASA), Ilan Ramon (Israeli Air Force). Photo: NASA.
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper noted -- if briefly -- Russian and Chinese counterspace capabilities in an assessment of worldwide threats at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday.
Clapper and four other top intelligence officials (CIA, DIA, FBI, National Counterterrorism Center) testified at the annual open meeting of the committee, which typically meets in closed session. Clapper made a statement on behalf of all of the witnesses. The unclassified version of his statement and the video of the hearing are posted on the committee's website.
The breadth of topics covered by Clapper's unclassified statement is illustrated by its title: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community. While counterspace occupies only one paragraph in the 27-page report, the fact that it is included at all is notable.
The unclassified report asserts that "Threats to US space services will increase during 2014 and beyond as potential adversaries pursue disruptive and destructive counterspace capabilities." The only two countries mentioned are Russia and China, even though other countries (such as India) have discussed developing antisatellite (ASAT) systems and jamming of communications and navigation satellite signals by various countries have been cited in the open literature for years.
China's counterspace capabilities were discussed in more detail at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday by non-governmental witnesses. Clapper's report mentions only generally China's ASAT test in 2007 and its satellite jamming capabilities. As for Russia, Clapper says that its military doctrine emphasizes "space defense as a vital component of its national defense." In addition to satellite jammers, the report asserts that "Russian leaders openly maintain that the Russian armed forces have antisatellite weapons and conduct antisatellite research."
Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) today that China’s counterspace capabilities are “extremely serious” and “on a par” with its offensive cyber operations. The only issue on which witnesses disagreed was on the value of diplomacy and a Code of Conduct in addressing the threat.
Also testifying at the HASC hearing today were Robert Butterworth of Aries Analytics and Michael Krepon of the Stimson Center. The hearing was before the HASC subcommittees on Strategic Forces and on Seapower and Projection Forces.
Tellis asserted that the “current and evolving counterspace threat posed by China to U.S. military operations … is extremely serious and the threat ranks on par with the dangers posed by Chinese offensive cyber operations to the United States more generally.” He added that the “diversity and complexity” of China’s counterspace activities make them “particularly problematic.” He listed a spectrum of capabilities from direct ascent and co-orbital antisatellite (ASAT) programs to electromagnetic warfare to directed energy and radio frequency weapons as well as computer network attack capabilities.
Butterworth and Krepon did not disagree with that characterization. The question was what the United States should do in response.
Once again there was agreement that the United States needs more resilient military satellite capabilities perhaps based on a “disaggregated” architecture. That term refers to building systems based on more, smaller satellites rather than a few large ones so that if one fails, others can compensate and might be easier to replace quickly. Butterworth also stressed that U.S. military planners need to integrate space operations into the “joint fight, the contribution of space to US combat capability.”
Krepon offered that the United States needs to retain capabilities to respond to threats to space systems “in ways of our choosing if someone messes with us,” though he does not support developing dedicated systems because existing systems have sufficient latent capabilities.
All three also were unified on the need for improved Space Situational Awareness (SSA) to deter an attack or to be able to attribute an attack if one occurs. “The extent to which we can deter depends on how much we know ahead of time. If the committee underfunds [SSA] then our deterrence capabilities can be diminished even if we’re doing the other things right,” Krepon warned.
Tellis added that SSA “is the foundation for any kind of defensive counterspace. … We certainly have to put resources first and foremost into [SSA] because nothing else with respect to defensive counterspace is going to work” without it. Butterworth emphasized that SSA is needed “from orbit, and some of those orbits should be very high so we are looking down” and threats can be detected from “all angles.”
The witnesses parted ways, however, on the role of diplomacy and a Code of Conduct for space activities and a related issue of whether China understands the consequences of attacking U.S. space systems.
Krepon argued strongly for diplomacy in addition to other measures for responding to the threat. He compared the situation today in U.S.-China relations to the U.S.-Soviet relationship during the Cold War. During the Cold War, he explained, the United States and Soviet Union had ongoing diplomatic exchanges that allowed each an understanding of the other’s motivations and where to draw the line. Those dialogues led to several treaties. With regard to today’s threats to space systems, “we can’t do treaties in space ... but we can do… a Code of Conduct that establishes rules of responsible ... behavior.”
Krepon doubts whether China really understands the consequences of attacking U.S. satellites because the United States and China are not engaged in similar dialogues. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) called that a “startling revelation.” Krepon continued that he sees a “dysfunction in China between the political leadership and the military” that adds to his concern and suggested that a country-to-country dialogue would put all the parties at the same table talking about “red lines.”
Butterworth disagreed. He believes China understands completely that attacking U.S. satellites “means war.” He dismissed the value of a Code of Conduct -- “finding ways to negate the U.S. military space advantage is a compelling strategic requirement for China. It won’t be moderated by proselytizing space norms or deterrence by démarche or a Code of Conduct for good guys in space.”
The following space policy events may be of interest in the week ahead. The House and Senate are in session.
During the Week
President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. There are no rumors that the space program will figure in his speech, but anything is possible. Tuesday is, after all, the 28th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger tragedy.
In fact, this is the week that commemorates the loss of the Apollo 1 crew on January 27, 1967; the Challenger crew on January 28, 1986; and the space shuttle Columbia crew on February 1, 2003. NASA and the Air Force will hold a ceremony tomorrow (Monday) at Launch Complex 34 to remember the Apollo 1 crew and NASA will hold its annual Day of Remembrance for all three crews on Friday according to Florida Today (we could find no mention of these events on NASA HQ or Kennedy Space Center websites, so don't have any other details).
Apart from that, perhaps the most notable event coming up this week is Tuesday's hearing before two subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee on China's counterspace program. Bob Butterworth from Aries Analytics, Michael Krepon from the Stimson Center, and Ashley Tellis from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace are the witnesses -- 3:30 pm ET, 2118 Rayburn (and via webcast at the committee's website).
Here's the list of everything we know about as of Sunday afternoon.
Monday, January 27
Tuesday, January 28
Tuesday-Wednesday, January 28-29
Thursday, January 29
Events of Interest