Military / National Security News
Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of March 2-6, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session.
During the Week
A passel of congressional hearings are on tap this week on the FY2016 budget requests for NASA, DOD, the Department of Commerce (including NOAA) and the Department of Transportation (including FAA). Most congressional hearings are webcast on the respective committee's website. The exceptions are hearings held in the Capitol where, unfortunately, the House Appropriations CJS subcommittee holds many of its hearings. Its hearings this week on the Department of Commerce budget request and on NASA's budget request are a case in point. One must be physically present in the tiny room (H-309 Capitol) to hear the discussion. All the other hearings this week should be webcast, however.
For those already weary of Washington politics or just looking for something uplifting, tomorrow's (Monday's) briefing on Dawn's impending arrival at Ceres should be fun. The intrepid spacecraft, which already sent back fascinating data about the asteroid Vesta, will arrive at Ceres on March 6. The briefing is at JPL and will be webcast on JPL's Ustream channel and NASA TV. We haven't seen an announcement about coverage on March 6 itself, but will post whatever information comes our way later this week.
Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.
Monday, March 2
Tuesday, March 3
Wednesday, March 4
Thursday, March 5
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James added a dose of reality today to projections about when an American-made rocket engine could replace Russia's RD-180s for the Atlas V rocket. During testimony, she said that meeting the congressional mandate to have a new engine by 2019 may not be doable. Her experts tell her it will take 6-8 years to get a new engine and another 1-2 years to integrate it into a launch vehicle.
James spoke before the Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee (SAC-D) on the Air Force FY2016 budget request along with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III. The two are scheduled to testify to the House counterpart subcommittee (HAC-D) on Friday.
The issue really is about developing a new propulsion system, of which an engine is a part, but "engine" is commonly used as shorthand.
The deterioration in U.S.-Russian relationships beginning last year because of Russia's action in Ukraine highlighted how dependent the United States is on Russian technology to launch U.S. national security satellites. The United Launch Alliance's (ULA's) Atlas V and Delta IV rockets -- referred to as Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELVs ) -- launch almost all of them, and the Atlas V is powered by Russia's RD-180 engine. The issue figured prominently in a number of hearings last year and Air Force officials, including Gen. William Shelton, then head of Air Force Space Command, rued the prospect of losing those engines. Still, Shelton and others eventually accepted that the time had come for the United States to develop its own comparable liquid rocket engine.
The FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 113-291) and its accompanying explanatory statement direct DOD to develop a new U.S. propulsion system by 2019 "using full and open competition." The law authorizes $220 million and notes it "is not an authorization of funds for development of a new launch vehicle." Section 608 of the law prohibits the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) from "awarding or renewing a contract for the procurement of property or services" under the EELV program if the contract involves "rocket engines designed or manufactured in the Russian Federation." The only exceptions are the EELV contract awarded to ULA on December 18, 2013 or unless the SecDef certifies that the offeror can demonstrate that it fully paid for or entered into a legally binding contract for such engines prior to February 1, 2014.
The FY2015 Defense Appropriations Act (Division C of P.L. 113-235) followed suit, appropriating the same $220 million as was authorized "to accelerate rocket propulsion system development with a target demonstration date of fiscal year 2019." It directs the Air Force, in consultation with NASA, "to develop an affordable, innovative, and competitive strategy ... that includes an assessment of the potential benefits and challenges of using public-private partnerships, innovative teaming arrangements, and small business considerations."
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and James engaged in two exchanges about the RD-180 today. Shelby noted that the President's FY2016 request is only for $84 million. "It's also my understanding that developing an RD-180 replacement engine and the associated launch vehicle and launch pad can cost anywhere from $1 billion to more than $3 billion and take perhaps 7 to 10 years to develop," Shelby said. James replied that technical experts have advised her that "It's 6 to 8 years ... for a newly designed engine and then an additional 1 to 2 years on top of that to be able to integrate the engine into the launch vehicle." As for cost, "I've seen $2 billion," James said.
James asked that Congress clarify what it wants, because the 2019 deadline is "pretty aggressive" and "I'm not sure 2019 is doable." She also stressed that they want "at least two" domestic engines "because we want competition of course."
Shelby also revealed that DOD's General Counsel "may" interpret the Section 608 language contrary to congressional intent resulting in a "capability gap for certain launches" and eliminating "real competition." James explained that the General Counsel is trying to interpret several different provisions of law that may or may not have had the same intent, but said the point she wanted to stress is that "virtually everybody" agrees that the United States should be less reliant on Russia. The question is how to accomplish that: "We don't want to cut off our nose to spite our face."
The two also discussed certification of "new entrants." a reference to SpaceX, which has been attempting to obtain certification from the Air Force so it can compete against ULA for these types of national security launches.
ULA manufactures the Atlas V and Delta IV in Decatur, Alabama, Shelby's home state. Shelby talked about the virtues of competition, but, without mentioning SpaceX by name, said "some of these so-called companies that are planning to compete, and we'd like for them to compete, they have had several mishaps" compared to ULA. James replied that every developmental program has mishaps and "I'm quite sure they're going to get there from here."
ULA is jointly owned by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. At yesterday's hearing before the Space, Science and Competitiveness subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, Boeing's John Elbon also urged a "thoughtful" approach to the transition from the RD-180 to a U.S. engine and keeping the pipeline of engines open as long as possible rather setting a hard cut-off date.
Meanwhile, ULA announced last fall that it is partnering with Blue Origin to develop the BE-4 rocket engine as an RD-180 replacement. ULA and Blue Origin said at the time that the project is fully paid for and not in need of government funding.
Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of February 23-27, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.
During the Week
This is one of those weeks when so much is going on that it's difficult to choose just a couple of events to highlight. Please peruse the list below to find your own favorites.
There are seven congressional hearings of interest to the space policy community, though one suspects two are of particular note to readers of this website: Tuesday's Senate hearing on the U.S. human spaceflight program and commercial space competitiveness (with three former astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin), and Friday's House hearing on NASA's commercial crew program.
But the others should be of interest, too: Wednesday's House hearing with the NASA Inspector General (and his counterparts at the Departments of Commerce and Justice) and hearings on the FY2016 budget requests for the Department of Transportation (including the Office of Commercial Space Transportation), Air Force (where many national security space programs reside), and the Department of Commerce (home of NOAA). Many congressional hearings are webcast (though usually not the ones held in the U.S. Capitol), so you can enjoy them live or later in archived webcasts. We'll provide summaries of as many of them as we can.
Tuesday, February 24
Tuesday-Wednesday, February 24-25
Wednesday, February 25
Thursday, February 26
Friday, February 27
OrbitalATK President and CEO David Thompson said today that the company plans the first flight of its upgraded Antares rocket on March 1, 2016 from Wallops Flight Facility, VA. An Antares exploded at liftoff in October 2014 destroying a Cygnus capsule loaded with supplies for the International Space Station (ISS). The upgraded Antares will use a different rocket engine.
Thompson and two other top officials of the new company held an investors teleconference this morning. The merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) closed on February 9. Thompson and CFO Garrett Pierce are from the Orbital side of the merger; COO Blake Larson is from ATK.
Data presented by the trio this morning show that 56 percent of the company's revenue is from national security programs, 26 percent from commercial programs, and 18 percent from NASA and other civil government programs. NASA programs were numbers two and three of the five top revenue producers last year: NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract to take cargo to the ISS (approximately $300 million) and the propulsion system for the Space Launch System (about $250 million). In first place was small caliber ammunition for the Army ($430 million). Fourth was medium and large caliber ammunition for the Army ($225 million) and fifth place was a tie between missile defense interceptors and tactical missiles, both at $150 million.
Public attention is focused on the merged company's recovery from the Antares failure. Thompson was confident that OrbitalATK will be able to fulfill its contract with NASA to deliver 20 tons of cargo to the ISS by the end of 2016. Between now and the first launch of the upgraded Antares, OrbitalATK will launch one of its Cygnus spacecraft on a competitor's rocket -- United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5. Thompson said that launch will be ready for flight in early October, but NASA may want to wait until later that month or November, depending on other ISS activities. That will be followed by the March 1 launch of the upgraded Antares and two more later in the year. The Cygnus itself is an upgraded model as well that can carry more cargo than the earlier version, allowing OrbitalATK to meet the tonnage requirements with only four more launches instead of five.
Thompson said that NASA is not asking the company to fly a demonstration launch of the upgraded rocket -- the March 1 launch will have a full cargo load. However, in January the company will conduct a test firing of the first stage on the launch pad at Wallops.
The first stage is built in Ukraine by Yuzhmash and Thompson was asked if he had any concerns considering the situation there. Thompson replied that he needs five more Antares first stages over the next two-and-a-half years and three are complete and the other two are "almost" complete. "We're watching closely with nearly full time presence" at Yuzhmash and "we do have a fallback plan if things really deteriorate there." No details were provided during the teleconference and the company has not yet responded to a query from SpacePolicyOnline.com about what that plan is.
The engines used for the original version of Antares were old Russian NK-33 engines manufactured more than four decades ago and refurbished here by Aerojet Rocketdyne and redesignated AJ26. Thompson said shortly after the October 28 launch failure that early indications were that the engines were the cause of the failure 15 seconds after launch.
The replacement engines also are Russian, but newer RD-181s built by NPO Energomash, a subsidiary of Energia. In a January 16, 2015 press release, Energia's President Vladimir Solntsev said the two companies had been working on the contract for three years. According to that press release, the contract value is $1 billion for 60 engines (plus engineering services), but apparently that is a firm contract for 20 engines plus two options for 20 more engines each. The first two engines are due to be delivered in June 2015. The RD-181 was "developed specifically" for Antares, according to the Energia press release, based on the RD-191 engine built for Russia's new Angara rocket family. Orbital/OrbitalATK itself has released very little information about the contract.
Joan Johnson-Freese explained to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission today why former Rep. Frank Wolf was wrong to effectively ban all U.S.-China bilateral space cooperation. Wolf retired at the end of the last Congress, but his successor as chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA holds similar views.
Johnson-Freese is a professor at the Naval War College and author of "The Chinese Space Program: A Mystery Within a Maze" and "Heavenly Ambitions: America's Quest to Dominate Space." She was one of the witnesses at today's hearing on China's space and counterspace programs.
Wolf included language in several Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bills that prohibits NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from engaging in any bilateral activities with China on civil space cooperation unless specifically authorized by Congress or unless NASA or OSTP certifies to Congress 14 days in advance that the activity would not result in the transfer of any technology, data, or other information with national security or economic implications. His indefatigable opposition to cooperating with China was based largely on its human rights abuses and efforts to obtain U.S. technology. He was one of the strongest, but certainly not only, congressional critic of China, always stressing that he loved the Chinese people, but not the Chinese government.
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) is Wolf's successor as chairman of the CJS subcommittee. In December 2013 when rumors swirled that he would replace Wolf, he was interviewed by a reporter for the Houston Chronicle and when asked whether he agreed with Wolf about China replied: "Yes. We need to keep them out of our space program, and we need to keep NASA out of China. They are not our friends."
It remains to be seen whether he will include the same language in this year's CJS bill, but Johnson-Freese spelled out why she thinks it is the wrong approach.
She provides a comprehensive rebuttal to Wolf's reasoning, but in essence her contention is that "the United States must use all tools of national power" to achieve its space-related goals as stated in U.S. National Space Policy, National Security Strategy, and National Security Space Strategy. Wolf's restrictions on space cooperation simply constrain U.S. options, she argues: "Limiting U.S. options has never been in U.S. national interest and isn't on this issue either." She disagrees with Wolf's assumption that the United States has nothing to gain from working with China: "On the contrary, the United States could learn about how they work -- their decision-making processes, institutional policies and standard operating procedures. This is valuable information in accurately deciphering the intended use of dual-use space technology, long a weakness and so a vulnerability in U.S. analysis."
For some issues, there really is no choice, she continues. China must be involved in international efforts towards Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs) and space sustainability, especially with regard to space debris, a topic given urgency by China's 2007 antisatellite (ASAT) test that created more than 3,000 pieces of debris in low Earth orbit. She notes that since that test and the resulting international condemnation, "China has done nothing further in space that can be considered irresponsible or outside the norms set the United States."
Not that China has refrained from tests related to negating other countries' satellites, however. She and other witnesses detailed China's recent activities in that regard. Kevin Pollpeter of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation joined her at the witness table. They reported on "missile defense tests" in 2010, 2013 and 2014 that are widely considered in the West to be de facto ASAT tests, along with a 2013 "high altitude science mission" and co-orbital satellite tests in 2010 and 2013, as potentially related to ASAT development. These tests were non-destructive, however, and did not generate space debris.
Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Missouri), who co-chaired today's hearing, said that the Commission will publish a report by Pollpeter's institute on China's counterspace activities "in the coming days." The Commission was created by Congress in 2000 and submits an annual report on national security implications of the U.S.-China trade and economic relationship.
UPDATE, February 18: Friday's WSBR luncheon has been postponed.
Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of February 16-20, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. Congress is in recess this week in observance of Presidents' Day (which commemorates Abraham Lincoln's birthday on February 12 and George Washington's on February 22).
During the Week
Members of Congress will be working in their State or District offices this week instead of Washington, D.C., hearing directly from their constituents about whatever is on their minds.
Lots of non-congressional events are on tap, though, including what could be a very interesting investors conference call with the leadership of the brand new OrbitalATK on Thursday. This is the first such call for the merged company, which melds Orbital Sciences Corporation and Alliant TechSystems' (ATK's) aerospace business (it spun off its sporting division as part of the merger). Only financial folks get to ask questions, but anyone can listen and the company is actually making this available via webcast. Orbital's David Thompson is President and CEO of the merged company, and Garrett Pierce is CFO, the same positions they held at Orbital. Blake Larson, who headed ATK's Aerospace Group, is COO of the merged company.
The Director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Chris Scolese, will speak to the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR) on Tuesday.
Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.
Editor's Note: Some of you may have heard about the Pioneering Space National Summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday. That event is by invitation only, so we do not list it. On a personal note, I wish them luck. I've been involved in too many of these exercises over the decades and declined their kind invitation to participate in yet another one. Perhaps this will be the one that makes a difference, but I admit to being skeptical.
Tuesday, February 17
Wednesday, February 18
Thursday, February 19
Thursday-Friday, February 19-20
Friday, February 20
Here is our list of space policy events for the week of February 9-13, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week. (Updated to show new launch date for DSCOVR)
During the Week
The launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) (formerly Triana) was scrubbed on Sunday due to a problem with a radar on the Eastern Test Range needed to track the rocket. The launch was TENTATIVELY rescheduled for Monday, BUT ON MONDAY MORNING NOAA ANNOUNCED THAT THE LAUNCH DATE WILL BE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, AT 6:05 PM ET BECAUSE THE WEATHER TODAY IS UNFAVORABLE. Wednesday at 6:03 PM ET is a backup launch opportunity. If it doesn't go by then, DSCOVR will have to wait until February 20.
The House is poised to pass a new NASA authorization bill. The bill has not yet been introduced, but the bipartisan leadership of the House Science, Space and Technology (SS&T) Committee announced agreement on Friday. They said the bill would be introduced this coming week and not only is that still expected, but the bill is skipping over committee action entirely and going directly to the House floor for a vote on Tuesday under suspension of the rules. From the information released by the committee so far, the bill is very similar to last year's bill, which passed the House 401-2. It was never considered by the Senate, however, and died at the end of the 113th Congress.
That committee also will hold the first hearing of the 114th Congress dedicated to a space topic -- weather satellites -- on Thursday. No space-specific hearings are scheduled in the Senate, but the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) tentatively plans to vote on the nomination of Ash Carter to be Secretary of Defense on Tuesday.
Three non-legislative events of particular interest this week are: (1) on Tuesday, the monthly ISU-DC Space Cafe will feature a panel of representatives of several European countries discussing the recent ESA ministerial meeting; (2) on Wednesday, the National Research Council's Space Technology Industry, Government, University Roundtable will hold its second meeting, and (3), on Friday, GWU's Space Policy Institute will hold a symposium on U.S.-Japan Relations and Space Cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region.
NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel also is meeting this week, but their public meetings are usually pretty pro forma even though they have some very interesting observations that appear in their public reports, like this year's recently released annual report.
Those and other events we know about as of Sunday evening are listed below.
Tuesday, February 10
Wednesday, February 11
Thursday, February 12
Friday, February 13
Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of February 2-6, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate will be in session this week.
During the Week
This is budget week in Washington. The President will submit his FY2016 budget request to Congress tomorrow (Monday), kicking off debate over how much the government should spend and on what in the "discretionary spending" portion of the federal budget. FY2016 begins on October 1, 2015. Discretionary spending is generally broken into two parts -- defense and non-defense. NASA and NOAA are part of non-defense discretionary spending. Although by law the sequester goes back into effect in FY2016, a senior administration official told reporters last week that the President's budget request will not adhere to the spending caps set by the law. The President apparently believes that the deeply unpopular sequester rules will be waived again (as they were for FY2014 and FY2015) or repealed or replaced entirely.
Most departments and agencies hold budget briefings the day the budget is released, as does the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Typically the budget is posted on the Office of Management and Budget's website in mid-morning, followed by the individual briefings. Traditionally the NASA Administrator holds a budget briefing in Washington, but this year Administrator Bolden will be at Kennedy Space Center and instead will "address the progress made and the exciting work ahead on the agency's exploration initiative that secures America's leadership in space." That talk will be broadcast on NASA TV, especially to all the NASA field centers, which are holding "State of NASA" events for the public that include tours, briefings, and listening to Bolden. For all the budget-watchers and policy wonks, explaining the budget request will be left to NASA Chief Financial Officer (CFO) David Radzanowski, who succeeded Beth Robinson as CFO last year. He will hold a telecon with the media at 4:00 pm ET that will be broadcast on NASA's News Audio website.
Another big event this week will be the confirmation hearing for Ash Carter to be the new Secretary of Defense. That hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 am ET.
Also on Wednesday, as well as Thursday, is the annual Commercial Space Transportation conference sponsored by the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. It will be held at the National Housing Conference Center in Washington, DC, the same locale as the last several years.
On Thursday, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) will hold its 2nd annual "State of the Universe" briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight new discoveries about the universe in the past year.
Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.
Monday, February 2
Monday, February 2 - Friday, February 13
Wednesday, February 4
Wednesday-Thursday, February 4-5
Thursday, February 5
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III told a Senate committee today that the bill has come due for a number of infrastructure activities that were postponed because of sequestration, including space launch infrastructure. By law, sequestration returns in FY2016 and Welsh and the other military service chiefs warned about the impacts if the law is not changed.
Welsh began his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) by commenting that the Air Force is the smallest it has ever been, with 54 fighter squadrons, down from the 188 at the time of Operation Desert Storm in 1990, and 200,000 fewer active duty airmen than the 511,000 in place at that time. Additional cuts will be required if sequestration -- part of the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) -- returns, making the Air Force "even smaller and less able to do the things that we're routinely expected to do," Welsh said.
"Now, I would like to say that that smaller Air Force would be more ready than it's ever been, but that's not the case," he continued. Even though the last two years, when BCA budget caps were relaxed, have permitted improvements, there is a "broader readiness issue" involving infrastructure, including space launch infrastructure, that was "intentionally underfunded" in order to ensure individual and unit readiness instead. "That bill is now due, but BCA caps will make it impossible to pay," Welsh warned.
More broadly, he worried about technological gaps that could develop if sequestration is not reversed. One of those is space: "we cannot forget that that is one of the fastest growing and closing technological gaps," Welsh said. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert also mentioned space capabilities as an area of concern saying that "we're slipping behind and our advantage is shrinking very fast" in "electronic attack, the ability to jam, the ability to detect seekers, radars, satellites ...."
SASC is a friendly audience for airing such concerns. SASC Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) referred to the "mindlessness of sequestration" and its requirement to cut $1 trillion from defense spending by 2021. "If we in Congress don't act, sequestration will return in full in fiscal year 2016, setting our military on a far more dangerous course." The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), put it in a broader context saying that sequestration relief is needed at DOD "and for other critical national priorities, including public safety, infrastructure, health and education."
The BCA was enacted in 2011 when Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration could not reach agreement on how to fund the government in the face of political gridlock over Republican insistence that the deficit be reduced through spending cuts alone and Democratic insistence that it be achieved through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. A congressional "supercommittee" was created to find a solution, with the "poison pill" that if they did not, then automatic across-the-board cuts -- sequestration -- would ensue for all departments and agencies funded by congressional appropriations. They did not reach agreement, and sequestration went into effect. Across-the-board cuts do not allow choosing priorities -- every budget account is cut by the same percentage. Republican and Democrats in Congress and the White House oppose sequestration and agreed to temporary relief through the Ryan-Murray agreement in December 2013, but that covered only FY2014 and FY2015.
President Obama is expected to submit his FY2016 budget request on Monday (February 2), the formal kick-off of the FY2016 budget debate. The BCA was enacted when the House was controlled by Republicans and the Senate by Democrats. Now both chambers are under the control of Republicans, but whatever they pass still must be signed into law by a Democratic President, so the outcome of the debate is still very much up in the air. Whether either side has moderated its views on the amount of deficit reduction required or how to achieve it will become known in the coming months.
Here is our list of space policy related events for the week of January 26-30, 2015 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in session this week.
During the Week
On the off chance you haven't been watching the weather forecasts, the week starts off with a major winter storm for the Northeast, so if you're headed in this direction for meetings, be prepared for delays. The Washington, DC area is not expected to get much snow (a few inches) but it may as well be the two feet they're forecasting for New England when it comes to impact. This area just does not do well in snow.
Tomorrow in warmer climes -- Houston -- NASA and its Commercial Crew Transportation Program (CCtCAP) partners, Boeing and SpaceX, will hold a news briefing at Johnson Space Center to provide an update on their progress in developing crew transportation systems to service the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017. The 11:00 am Central Time (12:00 noon Eastern) briefing will be broadcast on NASA TV.
Or head to Cocoa Beach, FL for the three-day (Tuesday-Thursday) NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts (NIAC) 2015 symposium. If you can't make it in person, it will be webcast.
Back here in DC, on Tuesday, when it may still feel like the Arctic, the Secure World Foundation will hold a really interesting seminar on "Space and the Arctic: Why Space Capabilities are Important for Sustainable Arctic Development" from 12:00-2:00 pm ET. Please RSVP in advance if you plan to attend.
An hour before that, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold its 114th Congress organizational meeting, postponed from last week. The House Appropriations Committee holds its organizational meeting on Wednesday. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees (HASC and SASC) have interesting hearings on broad topics this week. It is not clear whether national security space issues will come up at all, but they may, and the hearings seem interesting nonetheless. One SASC hearing is on the impact of sequestration on national security with the military service chiefs (the sequester comes back into effect in FY2016 unless the law is changed) and the other is on global challenges with three former Secretaries of State (Kissinger, Shultz and Albright). The HASC hearing is on how to improve DOD's ability to respond to technological change.
If you're interested in a career in space policy and in the D.C. area on Tuesday, don't miss the panel discussion on that topic Tuesday evening at George Washington University's Space Policy Institute. Five young professionals who are climbing that ladder of success right now will be there to offer their perspectives and advice.
We also want to note that this week begins the anniversaries of the three fatal spaceflight accidents: Apollo 1 (or Apollo 204) on January 27, 1967; Challenger, January 28, 1986; and Columbia, February 1, 2003. NASA usually holds a remembrance event around this time, but we have not heard when/where/what it will be this year.
The meetings that we do know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.
Monday, January 26
Tuesday, January 27
Tuesday-Thursday, January 27-29
Wednesday, January 28
Wednesday-Thursday, January 28-29
Thursday, January 29