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What's Happening in Space Policy February 13-18, 2017

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 12-Feb-2017
Updated: 12-Feb-2017 05:50 PM

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of February 13-18, 2017 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

During the Week

The House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) Committee will hold the year's first congressional hearing on NASA this week. Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that it was intended to provide a "panoramic" view of NASA's past, present and future to acquaint new committee members with the agency.   No current NASA employees are on the witness list, but all four worked at the agency at one time:  Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, who along with Gene Cernan were the last two men on the Moon (he also was a U.S. Senator from 1977-1983); famed Gemini and Apollo astronaut Tom Stafford, who currently chairs NASA's International Space Station Advisory Committee; Ellen Stofan, who just stepped down after three years as NASA's Chief Scientist; and Tom Young, whose storied career includes serving as mission director for the Viking program, director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and industry executive with Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin (after Martin Marietta and Lockheed merged to form the current company).  Schmitt was the only scientist to walk on the Moon.  He is a geologist, as is Stofan.  Should be really interesting.  No shrinking violets on that panel!  That's on Thursday at 10:00 am ET.  The committee webcasts its hearings on its website and YouTube channel.

Earlier in the week. the D.C. alumni chapter of the International Space University is holding another of its "Space Cafes."  These monthly informal get togethers always feature really interesting speakers and this time is no exception -- there will be four of them, in fact, all from Europe.  Jean-Luc Bald from the European Union's Washington office; Micheline Tabache, the Washington representative of the European Space Agency (ESA); and Norbert Paluch and Juergen Drescher, the Washington reps for the French and German space agencies respectively.  Remember that the venue for the ISU-DC Space Cafes has changed to The Brixton at 901 U Street, NW.  The Space Cafes usually are on Tuesdays, but this one is Monday (tomorrow).

The date has slipped a couple of times already, but the current plan is for SpaceX to launch its first cargo mission to the ISS since the September 1, 2016 on-pad explosion on Saturday at 10:01 am ET.  This is SpaceX's 10th operational Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission for NASA -- SpaceX CRS-10 or SpX-10.   It will mark SpaceX's first launch from NASA's Launch Complex 39A, which SpaceX is leasing from NASA.   Previous SpaceX East Coast launches have been from the pad SpaceX leases from the Air Force at the adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  That is Launch Complex-40, which was damaged in the September 1 incident.  SpaceX plans to use LC-39A for launches of both its current Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy (FH) still in development.  The company expected that the first launch from LC-39A would be the maiden flight of the FH last November.  That didn't work out, but the launch pad was close to being ready so is available for this flight.  SpaceX is confident it has fixed the problem that caused the September 1 explosion and the Falcon 9 returned to flight status with an Iridium launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA last month.  No new date for the FH's maiden flight has been announced.

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday morning are shown below.  Check back throughout the week for others we learn about later and add to our Events of Interest list.

Monday, February 13

Tuesday, February 14

Wednesday-Friday, February 15-17

Wednesday-Saturday, February 15-18

Thursday, February 16

Thursday-Friday, February 16-17

Thursday-Saturday, February 16-18

Saturday, February 18


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