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Our Meeting Summaries

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)

Rep. Bridenstine Addresses Commercial Spaceflight Federation, February 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-Feb-2016 (Updated: 29-Feb-2016 06:53 AM)
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. published a summary of Bridenstine's remarks on February 28, 2016.

FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference, February 2016

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 08-Feb-2016 (Updated: 08-Feb-2016 01:02 AM)

The FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) held its annual Commercial Space Transportation conference on February 2-3, 2016 in Washington, DC. published two articles summarizing discussions at the conference:

NASA Advisory Council Hears about Lunar Orbit Shakedown Cruise, December 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Dec-2015 (Updated: 07-Dec-2015 10:50 PM)

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. 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."

Council on Foreign Relations Panel on Future of Space, November 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-Nov-2015 (Updated: 22-Nov-2015 10:48 PM)

The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a panel discussion on the future of space on November 19, 2015.  The three panelists were:

  • Lori Garver, General Manager, Air Line Pilots Association, and former NASA Deputy Administrator
  • John Logsdon, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University
  • Charles Miller, President, NexGen Space LLC published a summary of the discussion on November 22, 2015.

COMSTAC Meeting, October 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 25-Oct-2015 (Updated: 25-Oct-2015 02:33 PM)

The FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) met on October 21, 2015.   COMSTAC is a federally-chartered advisory committee that provides advice to the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). published a summary of comments made by George Nield, FAA's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, regarding his position on a proposal by European Space Agency Director General Johannes-Dietrich Woerner for building a village on the Moon.   Another article summarized comments by Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) regarding the status of legislation on Capitol Hill.   The two articles are as follows:

NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot Speaks to Space Transportation Association, October 2015

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 07-Oct-2015 (Updated: 07-Oct-2015 10:05 PM)
NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot spoke to the Space Transportation Association (STA) on Capitol Hill on October 7, 2015.  His comments focused primarily on NASA's "Journey to Mars" to send people to Mars in the 2030s. published a summary of his remarks that day.