Report from Washington, D.C.
At the beginning of November, NASA held a televised award ceremony on Capitol Hill for the two winners of the X Prize Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. NASA administrator Charles Bolden awarded $1.65 million in prize money to Masten Space Systems and Armadillo Aerospace for their successful simulations of landing a spacecraft on the moon and lifting off again.
On Nov 12-13, the Space Foundation, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the Chinese Society of Astronautics, hosted the second Global Space Development Summit in Washington, D.C. The first day of the summit focused on global cooperation, future lunar programs, and policy elements of space exploration. The second day centered on cooperation in Earth observation systems. Panelists touched on the values of Earth observation, its affect on climate and energy policy goals, national investment issues, and the global problems and solutions going forward in Earth observation. Speakers included distinguished policy experts and industry leaders from China, India, Europe, and the United States.
For most of the month, Congress was consumed by legislation related to health care and climate change, but did manage to move forward on funding for next year's civil space programs. The Senate passed its version of the FY 2010 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill. The bill restored the $670 million cut from manned space exploration contained in the House of Representatives' Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill in June. Currently, the two chambers of Congress are working out their differences on the bill in conference.
On Nov. 18, the Space Foundation hosted a discussion and briefing for congressional staff on its Solutions from Space White Paper, Space Applications for International Development. See related article in this issue of Space Watch. Then, on Nov 19, Marty Hauser, Space Foundation vice president for Washington operations, research and analysis, testified at a Congressional hearing hosted by the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. See related article in this issue of Space Watch.