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Our Meeting Summaries

Sen. Ben Cardin Speaks to Maryland Space Business Roundtable, May 2017

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 16-May-2017 (Updated: 16-May-2017 11:27 PM)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) made his debut speech to the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR) on May 15, 2017.  With the retirement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski last year, he is now the state's senior Senator and head of the Maryland congressional delegation.  Mikulski was an ardent champion of NASA and NOAA space activities in Maryland and fought especially for funding for earth science programs.  Cardin does not serve on any of the Senate committees that oversee NASA or NOAA, but vowed to continue her advocacy for those agencies. published a summary of his remarks on May 15.

FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference, February 2017

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2017 (Updated: 08-Feb-2017 11:49 PM)

The 20th FAA Commercial Space Transportation conference was held February 7-8, 2017 in Washington, DC.  On February 8, published a summary of remarks by four of the speakers:

  • Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)
  • Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX)
  • Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations
  • Alan Stern, Chairman of the Board, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Culberson Talk to Space Transportation Association, February 2017

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2017 (Updated: 08-Feb-2017 11:50 PM)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), chair of the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee, spoke to the Space Transportation Association (STA) on February 7, 2017.  He discussed a wide range of NASA issues, expressing strong support for the agency -- calling it a strategic national asset -- and the full range of its programs, including earth science.  He is particularly supportive of robotic missions to Jupiter's moon Europa because he believes life exists there. published a summary of his remarks on February 7.

Galloway Space Law Symposium, December 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 14-Dec-2016 (Updated: 14-Dec-2016 11:29 PM)

The International Institute of Space Law (IISL) held the 11th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law on December 7, 2016 at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.  The day-long event focused on issues related to innovative commercial space activities that require U.S. government approval to comply with U.S. obligations under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST).  The OST is about to turn 50 years old, and State Department Legal Advisor Brian Egan spoke about the relevant of the Treaty today and the outlook for the next 50 years. published two articles summarizing the 2016 Galloway Space Law Symposium:

JAXA-NASA Space Science Cooperation, June 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 12-Jun-2016 (Updated: 12-Jun-2016 02:31 PM)

A day-long symposium on "U.S.-Japan Collaboration in Space Science--Past, Present and Future" was held in Washington, DC on June 10, 2016.  The meeting was sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.  Officials from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and its Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) discussed cooperation in astrophysics, heliophysics and planetary exploration.  A major portion of the meeting was devoted to an explanation by ISAS Director General Saku Tsuneta of the failure of the Astro-H (Hitomi) x-ray astronomy spacecraft, a joint JAXA-NASA project.  He expressed hope that the two agencies could find a way to recover the science that was intended to be collected by the spacecraft.  Cooperation in asteroid sample return missions -- JAXA's Hayabusa2 and NASA's OSIRIS-REx -- was another highlight.  JAXA also discussed a Phobos sample return mission -- Martian Moons Explorer or MMS -- that it is considering as a future mission. published a summary of the meeting on June 12, 2016.

Luxembourg Announces Plans to Invest in Space Resources Utilization, June 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 05-Jun-2016 (Updated: 05-Jun-2016 01:44 PM)

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel and Etienne Schneider, held a press conference on June 3, 2016 to announce plans to pass a law and invest in companies that want to mine asteroids and other solar system bodies.   Schneider, who is also the Minister of Economy, said the country has opened a 200 million Euro line of credit and more money will be provided if necessary.  It already has an agreement with the U.S. asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries and will soon sign an agreement with the other U.S. asteroid mining company Planetary Resources Inc.  Former ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and former NASA Ames Center Director Pete Worden serve on Luxembourg's advisory board for its initiative and joined Bettel and Schneider at the press conference. published a summary of the press conference, with a link to the archived webcast, on June 5, 2016.

SLS/Orion Update to the Space Transportation Association, May 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 10-May-2016 (Updated: 10-May-2016 09:14 PM)
On May 10, 2016, the program managers for the three components of NASA's future human spaceflight program -- the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft, and associated ground systems (Ground Systems Development and Operations or GSDO) -- provided an update to the Space Transportation Association (STA) at a meeting on Capitol Hill.   John Honeycutt (SLS), Mark Kirasich (Orion), and Mike Bolger (GSDO) were optimistic that the system will be ready for the first launch, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), in the fall of 2018. published a summary of the meeting on May 10, 2016.

Asteroids, Mining, and Policy (Secure World Foundation), May 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-May-2016 (Updated: 07-May-2016 11:42 PM)

The Secure World Foundation and the Alliance for Space Development held a seminar on "Asteroids, Mining, and Policy:  Practical Consideration of Space Resource Rights" on May 5, 2016 in Washington, DC.   Among the panelists was Christopher Ingraham, legislative aide to Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who discussed legislation the congressman is drafting to implement the asteroid mining provisions in the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA).  Another panelist, the State Department's Ken Hodgkins, reported on the reaction of the international community to the passage of CSLCA at the recent meeting of the Legal Subcommittee of the U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.  Peter Marquez from Planetary Resources Inc., "the asteroid mining company," and space lawyer Jim Dunstan were two other members of the panel. published a summary of the meeting on May 7, 2016.  

SSB/ASEB Panel Discussion on LEO Commercialization, April 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 01-May-2016 (Updated: 01-May-2016 11:34 PM)

The Space Studies Board (SSB) and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) held a joint session on April 26, 2016 to discuss the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit (LEO).'s Marc Allen summarizes the discussion in these meeting notes.  Participants included:

  • Sam Scimemi, Program Director, International Space Station, NASA Headquarters;
  • Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner of the Tauri Group;
  • John Elbon, Boeing’s Vice President and General Manager of Space Exploration;
  • Mike Gold, Director of Washington Operations for Bigelow Aerospace and Chair of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC);
  • George Nield, FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST);
  • Greg Johnson, Executive Director of NASA’s Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS); and
  • Ben Roberts, Assistant Director for Civil and Commercial Space in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

International Panel at Space Science Week, March 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 31-Mar-2016 (Updated: 31-Mar-2016 06:38 PM)

The Space Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine held its annual Space Science Week from March 29-31, 2016 involving the five SSB standing committees, several of which are operated in conjunction with other boards of the Academies. 

A plenary session for all of the committees was held on March 29, including a panel discussion on international programs and cooperation.  That panel discussion is summarized in these notes by contributor Marc S. Allen.  Panelists were:

  • David Spergel, Chairman, Space Studies Board
  • John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator, Science Mission Directorate
  • Fabio Favata, European Space Agency (ESA) space science programs
  • Maurice Borgeaud,  ESA Earth science and applications programs
  • Chi Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS),
  • Masaki Fujimoto, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and
  • Pascale Ehrenfreund, German Aerospace Center (DLR)