Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C., Update for the Week Ending November 13, 2020

Written by: Hanh Le

The Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of a dozen FY2021 bills this week in order to pass a large funding omnibus and prevent a government shutdown in December. However, it is unclear how much progress will be made in a lame duck session. Other priorities Congress must tackle include a coronavirus relief package and navigating a peaceful presidential transition. The Biden-Harris transition team also announced an agency review team for NASA this week, led by Ellen Stoffan.

Sign Up for Space Symposium 365

  • Space Foundation has launched Space Symposium 365, a year-round digital platform for learning, collaborating, and conducting business within the global space community.
  • Videos of interviews are available to view on demand for Space Symposium 365 subscribers.
  • Register here to learn more and join us for these upcoming events:
    • Wednesday, Nov. 18 — Panel: A Conversation with the ISS Expedition One Team
    • Thursday, Nov. 19 — New Generation Space Leaders Panel: “Unmute Yourself”
    • Tuesday, Dec. 9 — Panel: Workforce Perspectives

Other Highlights

Space Policy Pod: Episode 14 – Dale Nash, Virginia Space

  • Our latest episode features Dale Nash, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA). He has 38 years of experience in the aerospace industry.
  • Nash headed the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska for six years prior to joining VCSFA. He has also served in senior management positions, working space shuttle launch operations and program development on the Orion program with United Space Alliance, Lockheed Martin, and Thiokol Corp.

Space Industry Updates

  • Airbus, U.S. Space and Defense, and Raytheon protested the Space Development Agency’s satellite contract awards. (SpaceNews, Nov. 6)
  • Japanese lunar lander company ispace will open an office in Denver. (The Denver Post, , Nov. 9)
  • Weather and technical issues may push the Space Launch System (SLS) Green Run to the end of the year. (SpaceNews, Nov. 8)
  • SpaceX prices their Starlink satellite internet service at $99 per month. (CNBC, Oct. 27)
  • The SpaceX Crew Dragon rolled out to the pad for the Crew-1 launch. (, Nov. 10)

Space Policy Updates

  • The Biden-Harris agency review team for NASA will be led by Ellen Stoffan. (BuildBackBetter, Nov. 10)
  • The Biden administration is likely to place more emphasis on Earth sciences at NASA. (SpaceNews, Nov. 9)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-WA) says she will continue to push for the passage of a NASA authorization bill supporting the Artemis lunar exploration program, but not necessarily the agency’s goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2024. (SpaceNews, Nov. 6)
  • Senate appropriators questioned the practice by some agencies of procuring launch services directly from commercial providers, bypassing the National Security Space Launch program run by the U.S. Space Force. (SpaceNews, Nov. 10)
  • The U.S. Air Force continues to make efforts to organize space acquisition authority and streamline rules in order to allow the Space Force to develop new capabilities more rapidly. (Breaking Defense, Oct. 28)
  • The U.S. Space Command is considering opening the door to wider allied participation in parts of command operations that are traditionally reserved for U.S. nationals. (Breaking Defense, Nov. 5)

Additional Space Foundation Resources

  • The latest Space4U Podcast episode features Dylan Taylor, Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, a firm that acquires and integrates commercial space exploration enterprises, and founder of nonprofit Space for Humanity, which plans to send citizen astronauts into orbit on commercial spaceflights.
  • The Space Report Quarter 3 is available here.
  • Online learning, lesson plans, and video lessons for students grades K–12 are available at the Discovery Center website.

Further Reading

The Space Review | The Green New Deal for Space
By S. Mike Pavelec

  • The article discusses space technology as being essential for the future of the Green New Deal in supporting climate change research. It also discusses efforts to decrease the costs of space access through reusable launch technologies and by utilizing resources on the Moon and Mars.

Space Trivia

Fifty-four years ago, on Nov. 11, 1966, Gemini 12, the last mission of the Gemini program launched Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell into orbit. (Source: