Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C., Update for the Week Ending September 10, 2021

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

The 36th annual Space Symposium took place in Colorado Springs and on the virtual Symposium 365 platform from August 23-26. Thousands of individuals participated in the in-person programming and more joined us virtually. Thank you to all of our distinguished speakers, sponsors and industry partners, exhibition participants, and attendees.

Rosh Hashanah began earlier this week, and the House and Senate remain out until mid September. President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring all public and private businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccination or weekly testing for employees.

Space Foundation reflects on the fallen on this 20th anniversary of September 11th.

Space Symposium

  • This year’s featured speakers included: Gen. John “Jay” Raymond (USSF), NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson, Frank Kendall III (USAF), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Dr. Josef Aschbacher (ESA).
  • For the first time, the virtual event had a dashboard for users to access Symposium live and on-demand content, create a custom agenda, engage live with Q&A with the speakers.
  • If you would like to revisit sessions, panels and speaker sessions are available year-round through our virtual platform, Symposium 365.

Space Policy Updates

  • Space Foundation in partnership with KPMG released a report on the Future of Defense in Space (Space Foundation, Aug. 17)
  • The full GAO decision on the Blue Origin Human Landing System protest rejection was released. (GAO, Aug. 10)
  • NASA Administrator Nelson upgraded the agency’s allocation request from $11.5 billion to $15.7 billion for infrastructure repair and Human Landing System support (SpacePolicyOnline, Aug. 15)
  • Blue Origin sued NASA in federal court over NASA’s evaluation of Human Landing proposals (NPR, Aug. 17)
  • NASA and SpaceX halted HLS activity until November 1st pending the Blue Origin lawsuit (, Aug. 20)
  • Air Force Secretary Kendall announced at Space Symposium the reorganization of the Space Development Agency (Air Force Magazine, Aug. 25)
  • House Armed Services Committee approved legislation establishing a Space National Guard (Air Force Magazine, Sept. 1)
  • House Science Space and Technology Committee marked up an infrastructure report for a proposed $4.4 billion for NASA, no allocations made for the Human Landing System (SpacePolicyOnline, Sept. 6)
  • Vice President and National Space Council Chairwoman Kamala Harris is leading an effort to diversify the Users Advisor Group that oversees NASA (SpaceNews, Sept 10)

Space Industry Updates

  • Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner will be delayed several months for valve repair (SpaceNews, Aug. 13)
  • Arianespace launched its second Pleiades Neo imagine satellite (Airbus, Aug. 14)
  • Space Force awarded $32 million in Small Business Innovation contracts to 19 companies (SpaceNews, Aug. 20)
  • Millennium Space Systems successfully de-orbited a satellite in an eight-month experiment, providing an avenue for safely removing space debris (SpaceNews, Aug. 23)
  • Virgin Orbit announced plans to go public under $3.2B SPAC merger (Reuters, Aug. 24)
  • Rocket Lab went public under a $777M SPAC merger (SpaceNews, Aug. 26)
  • Amazon called on the Federal Communications Commission to reject SpaceX’s second generation Starlink plan (SpaceNews, Aug. 26)
  • Astra’s Rocket 3.3 failed to reach orbit during its latest launch attempt (, Aug. 28)
  • RedWire went public under a $260M SPAC merger (SpaceNews, Sept. 2)
  • The latest round of Space companies going public through SPACs is likely to grow. (SpaceNews, 9)
  • China launches ChinaSat-9B a broadcast satellite, marking 33 of 40 planned satellite launches this year. (SpaceNews, Sept. 9)
  • Applications for the 2022 Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship now open (, Sept. 9)

Further Reading

The Space Review | The Making of an Enterprise: How NASA, the Smithsonian, and the aerospace industry helped create Star Trek

  • On the series’ 55th anniversary, Glen Swanson provides insight into the impact that NASA and the Air and Space Museum had on Gene Roddenberry’s iconic franchise.

Additional Space Foundation Resources

  • The Space Report (TSR) Q2 2021 is now available.
  • Get a free White Paper from The Space Report on President Biden’s FY2022 Space Budget.
  • Online learning, lesson plans, and video lessons for students grades K–12 are available at the Discovery Center website.

Space Trivia

On September 12, 2021, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and JAXA astronaut Aihiko Hoshide will conduct the first spacewalk by two international partner astronauts in history. (NASA)