Report from Washington, D.C.

Update on Space-related Activities

Written by: developer

by Charles A. Harris, Space Foundation Manager – Washington Operations

Capitol Hill
Throughout October, most of the activity on Capitol Hill was largely focused on tax reform, but there was some space-related activity.

On Oct. 4, the House Space Subcommittee held a hearing on “Powering Exploration: An Update on Radioisotope Production and Lessons Learned from Cassini.”  The committee discussed the United States’ current radioisotope supply and future needs for space exploration missions, with several different Planetary Science experts and professionals in government accountability.

On Oct. 25, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on “The Commercial Satellite Industry: What’s Up and What’s on the Horizon.” The Senators heard from executives of four different commercial satellite services companies about significant upcoming activity in the industry and the potential of various next-generation satellite technologies.

The House and Senate began meeting in conference on Oct. 25 to work out differences in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will head to the President’s desk to be signed once the two bodies reach agreement on all the bill’s provisions.

On Oct. 5, the executive branch convened the first meeting of the re-established National Space Council. The meeting, which was titled “Leading the Next Frontier: An Event with the National Space Council,” was held at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. Following a speech by Vice President Mike Pence on restoring America’s leadership in space, the members of the council listened to, and asked questions of, expert panels on civil space, commercial space and national security-related space issues.

In September, the White House formally nominated Representative Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma to serve as the next Administrator of NASA. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold an initial confirmation hearing for the appointment on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Congressman Bridenstine has already met with several senators in anticipation of the proceedings.

This article is part of Space Watch: November 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 11).