Our Meeting Summaries
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.
SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the meeting on June 12, 2016.
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 spaceresources.lu initiative and joined Bettel and Schneider at the press conference.
SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the press conference, with a link to the archived webcast, on June 5, 2016.
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. SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the meeting on May 10, 2016.
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.
SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the meeting on May 7, 2016.
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). SpacePolicyOnline.com's Marc Allen summarizes the discussion in these meeting notes. Participants included:
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 SpacePolicyOnline.com contributor Marc S. Allen. Panelists were:
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) spoke to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) on February 26, 2016. He laid out a multipronged legislative agenda to advance commercial space. He plans to introduce the American Space Renaissance Act later in the year that will address many of those issues, but he does not expect it to pass en toto. Instead, he views it as a conversation piece and repository for "plug and play" provisions that can be inserted in other legislation, especially the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act now in development. SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of Bridenstine's remarks on February 28, 2016.
The FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) held its annual Commercial Space Transportation conference on February 2-3, 2016 in Washington, DC. SpacePolicyOnline.com published two articles summarizing discussions at the conference:
The NASA Advisory Council (NAC) met at NASA's Johnson Space Center on December 1-3, 2015. It heard presentations from NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Bill Gerstenmaier and ISS Program Director Sam Scimemi about NASA's plans for human spaceflight especially in the 2020s. NASA revealed that it is planning a one year "shakedown cruise" in lunar orbit around 2029 to test hardware and crews before sending them on an even longer mission to Mars. Such missions will require development of a habitation module in addition to the Orion spacecraft. NASA is considering whether a single monolithic module should be developed or something that could be launched in smaller pieces and assembled in orbit. They also discussed NASA's plans for low Earth orbit (LEO) after the International Space Station (ISS) ceases operations.
SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the meeting on December 7 under the title "NAC Hears About Lunar Orbit Shakedown Cruise, Worries About Readiness for New Administration."
The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a panel discussion on the future of space on November 19, 2015. The three panelists were:
SpacePolicyOnline.com published a summary of the discussion on November 22, 2015.