Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C., Update for the Week Ending January 15, 2021

Written by: Hanh Le

Welcome to the New Year, Space Foundation friends! We are looking forward to working with our partners and friends (new and established) this year, and we’re also excited to bring even more new and informative programming to the space community.

Sign-up for Space Symposium 365

  • Register here to follow key events and discussion from industry professionals, 365 days a year.
  • Upcoming panels and speakers:
    • Jan. 26 — New Generation Space Leaders Panel: Unmute Yourself
    • Feb. 1 — Construction on the Moon
    • Feb. 3 — Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw, U.S. Space Force
    • Feb. 10 — Women in Space Series

Space Industry Updates

  • NASA has finalized a lunar Gateway agreement with the Japanese government. (SpaceNews, Jan. 13)
  • Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard launch vehicle intended for crewed flights. (SpaceNews, Jan. 14)
  • OneWeb has raised $400 million from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems. (SpaceNews, Jan. 15)
  • How the Arecibo telescope fell, and how it might rise again. (Science, Jan. 14)
  • SpaceX won contracts for both a commercial lunar lander mission and a privately funded satellite to track methane emissions. (SpaceNews, Jan. 13)
  • OneWeb is reducing the deployment size of a proposed next-generation satellite constellation (from nearly 48,000 to 6,372 satellites). (SpaceNews, Jan. 14)
  • Astronomers are left with questions about the Arecibo Observatory’s collapse. (, Jan. 14)
  • Lockheed Martin has acquired Aerojet Rocketdyne, “to better compete with SpaceX and Blue Origin.” (CNBC, Dec. 21)
  • Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency, is leaving his role. (Parabolic Arc, Jan. 14)
  • ESA Director General Jan Worner will step down at the end of February. (SpaceNews, Jan. 8)

Space Policy Updates

  • Huntsville, Alabama, has been announced as future home of U.S. Space Command. (SpaceNews, Jan.14)
  • The final report from the National Space Council under Vice President Mike Pence’s leadership is released. (White House, Jan. 15)
  • A new White House executive order seeks to “Promote Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration.” (White House, Jan. 12)
  • The new IC Commercial Space Council is fleshing out working groups to assess how aspects of unclassified satellite data can be integrated with classified intelligence. (Breaking Defense, Jan. 12)
  • The Space Force is looking to build ties with nations in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean region. (Breaking Defense, Jan. 13)

Additional Space Foundation Resources

  • The latest Space4U Podcast episode features Lori Garver and Courtney Stadd, veterans of Presidential transition teams (from both Democratic and Republican administrations), to discuss the process and how it relates to the U.S. space program.
  • 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 | Can space bridge a widening partisan divide?
By Jeff Foust

  • The op-ed covers legislative efforts in the 116th Congress, with regard to the increasing partisan divide in passing legislation. The article examines how GOP members’ challenge to the election results could potentially impact cooperation from House Democratic members on space policy issues.

Breaking Defense | The Most Overlooked Defense Stories of 2020
By Colin Clark

  • The article discusses stories that didn’t get much coverage last year, such as the end of the Budget Control Act, and the Trump administration’s efforts to bring NASA into closer relations with the military through a memorandum of understanding.

Space Trivia

Sixteen years ago, on Jan. 14, 2005, the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe landed on Saturn’s moon, Titan. (