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Events of Interest: Week of December 10-14, 2012

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 09-Dec-2012
Updated: 10-Dec-2012 08:18 AM

The following events may be of interest in the week ahead.  The House and Senate will be in session.

During the Week

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on the future of NASA.  The witnesses offer an interesting assortment of backgrounds. 

  • Bob Walker, a former Republican Congressman who once chaired this committee, is now a prominent Washington lobbyist with the firm Wexler & Walker.   Walker has been an advocate for a strong, forward looking civil space program for many, many years, and chaired the 2001 Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry.  He is on the Board of Advisers of Golden Spike Co., which debuted last week as a company offering two-person trips to the lunar surface and back for $1.4 billion per mission.
  • Ron Sega, a retired Air Force Major General and former astronaut with a long career in both military and civil space, is testifying as vice chair of the National Research Council (NRC) committee that issued its report on NASA's strategic direction last week.
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, a space scientist from the University of Michigan, was vice chair of another recently-released NRC report -- the Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics.
  • Marion Blakey is a former FAA Administrator who now leads the Aerospace Industries Association, which is intently focused on the dire consequences for the aerospace industry if sequestration goes into effect.
  • Scott Pace, currently Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, was NASA's Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation when Mike Griffin was Administrator and closely involved in developing the Constellation program.  He chaired the space policy team for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

Also on tap this week are negotiations over a final version of the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and, perhaps, a bill to give NASA another INKSNA waiver and extend third party liability indemnification for commercial launch service companies.  Amendments proposed to the Senate version of the NDAA for INKSNA and liability were not considered, so separate legislation is now in the works.  Most of those negotiations undoubtedly will be behind the scenes

And, of course, there might be news on the fiscal cliff situation.   President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are the key negotiators on that as the days tick down to the end of the year.  Spending cuts and tax increases will automatically take effect at that point unless Congress passes and the President signs new legislation to delay or change current law.  All federal activities, including national security and civil space programs, could be affected if the country stays on the current course.

Here is the full list of space policy-related events that we know about.   Feel free to send us information on anything we missed.

Monday, December 10

Tuesday, December 11

Wednesday, December 12

Editor's Note:  This article was updated Dec. 10 to add the information about Bob Walker serving on the Board of Advisors of Golden Spike.


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