Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C., Update for the Week Ending October 8, 2021

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington, the Senate voted to extend the debt ceiling, NASA reassigned Astronauts Nicole Mann and John Cassada from Boeing’s Starliner flight to the SpaceX Crew-5 mission, and the HPSCI approved the creation of a separate National Space Intelligence Center.

Space Foundation Online Content

Women in Space: The Dr. Sally Ride Quarter Story

  • Space Foundation’s Manager of DC Operation Megan Wenrich spoke with two representatives from the US mint – April Stafford, Chief of the Office of Design Management, and Elana Hagler, Artistic Infusion Program Designer, who both worked on the quarters honoring Ride and the other celebrated women. (LINK)

Space is Better Together: Tomorrow’s Space Jobs are Here Today

  • Join Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Jessica Deihl, Meredith Garofalo, and Erin McLean for a discussion about unconventional fields in the space industry. (LINK) 

Space Policy Updates

  • NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy spoke at the Washington Space Business Roundtable and Global Satellite Servicing Forum virtually (Space Policy Online, September 27)
  • The University of Nebraska held its annual Space Law Week virtually this week (Space Policy Online, September 27)
  • In late September, the House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act with several space-related amendments (Space News, September 28)
  • The British government released a space strategy intended to make the country a major global space power (Space News, September 29)
  • The HPSCI approves the creation of a separate National Space Intelligence Center (Breaking Defense,October 2)  

Space Industry Updates

  • Rocket Lab has secured $24.35 million from the U.S. Space Force to continue developing its new Neutron rocket (NZ Herald, September 27)
  • Nuclear power systems and nuclear rockets are returning to focus at NASA and the Department of Defense (Breaking Defense, September 27)
  • The Army’s Space Operations Brigade and the Navy’s Satellite Operations Center are expected to move under Space Force command in October (Breaking Defense, September 27)
  • Blue Origin announces its second crew of space tourists will launch into suborbital flight on October 12 (com, September 28)
  • China’s cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-3 successfully docked with the space station core module Tianhe (Space Daily, September 28)
  • SpaceX is preparing to launch the largest rocket in the history of spaceflight from Texas despite ongoing FAA review (Texas Public Radio, September 28)
  • Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announces that China is developing the ability to launch space-based strikes against terrestrial targets (Breaking Defense, September 30)
  • The U.S. has been urged by China to join talks on banning weapons in outer space (SCMP, September 30)
  • The launch of 9 Japanese satellites was cancelled late in the countdown due to an issue with a ground station (, October 1)
  • China is showcasing elements for future human landing missions and announced that a super heavy-lift rocket will be ready by 2028 (Space News, October 1)
  • SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraftcompleted is 23rd Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS (SpaceRef, October 2)
  • Blue Origin’s first human flight to space in July broke four Guinness World Record titles (Guinness World Records,October 2)
  • The four private space travelers who were aboard SpaceX’s Inspiration4 receive their astronaut wings (,October 4)
  • NASA releases interactive graphic novel “First Woman” to set the stage for the historic milestones associated with the Artemis missions (NASA,October 4)
  • The Space Warfighting Analysis Center is hosting a ‘business fair’ with defense contractors for the first time (Space News,October 5)
  • A commercial Chinese launch company is inspired by Blue Origin and aiming to provide suborbital space tourism by 2024 (, October 5)
  • South Korea’s air force has launched a space operations center (Space News,October 5)
  • A letter signed by 21 current and former Blue Origin employees accuses the company of mishandling harassment allegations (Lioness,October 5)
  • NASA reassigned Astronauts Nicole Mann and John Cassada from Boeing’s Starliner flight to the SpaceX Crew-5 mission (NASA, October 6)
  • NASA’s Lucy Asteroid Mission is days away from launch (Spaceflight Now, October 6)

Featured Profile

Jared Isaacman is the CEO and founder of Shift4 Payments, founder of Draken International, civilian pilot, and commander of the Inspiration4 flight. As an entrepreneur in the aerospace industry, Isaacman has been a space leader long before the Inspiration4 flight.

When Isaacman was 16 years old, he started Shift4 Payments out of his parent’s basement. The company underwent massive expansions and today handles nearly 40% of the restaurant and hotel industry’s payments. In 2011, Isaacman founded Draken International, a firm that trains pilots for the United States Armed Forces and houses the world’s largest private fleet of military fighter jets. Isaacman is a trained pilot, set a record for circumnavigating the globe in a light jet in 2009, and has more than 6,000 of flight hours logged. Despite having never graduated from high school, he received his undergraduate degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2011.

On September 14, 2021, Isaacman and three other civilians lifted off in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule from Kennedy Space Centers’ Pad 39A and spent the next three days orbiting the Earth. The Inspiration4 mission was designed by Isaacman in tandem with SpaceX leadership, funded by Isaacman, and raised over $200 million for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. This mission marked the first all-civilian crewed flight in history.

Reading Corner

Popular Science | Scientists have discovered new moon rocks for the first time in fifty years

Leto Sapunar provides insight into the Chinese National Space Administration’s Chang’e 5 Lander, which has been collecting rocks on the far side of the Moon since its landing on December 1st, 2020. These are the first moon rock samples collected in 45 years since the final Apollo mission in 1976.

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 Tuesday, October 5th, Roscosmos launched three crewmates from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. These three crewmates include Russian actress Yulia Peresild, film producer Klim Shipenko, and veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. They docked with the ISS on Tuesday afternoon and will be filming onboard for twelve days. (SPACE.COM)