Public Policy and Government Affairs


Biweekly Washington, D.C., Update for the Week Ending October 22, 2021

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington, the Senate Appropriations Committee exceeded NASA’s budget request for FY22 but only added $100 million to be spent on the Human Landing System, the Lucy mission successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Congress hosted two hearings on the future of deep space travel and international partnerships, and William Shatner went where very few have gone before. 

Space Foundation – CTE Caucus Briefing

Space Foundation co-hosted a briefing at the House of Representatives with the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus co-chaired by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-PA) on October 20, 2021. Dr. Autumn Thomas, Space Foundation’s Vice President for Education, gave a presentation on the importance of space-based education in K-12 curriculum for the future of the space industry. This briefing was Space Foundation’s first event back on Capitol Hill since the pandemic and was well attended by House staffers.

October Stakeholder Call

This month’s Stakeholder Call will take place on Tuesday, October 26th at 11 AM EST. Audrey Schaffer, Director of Space Policy at the National Security Council will be speaking. This call will be a 30-minute conversation providing an opportunity for the space community to gather and hear directly from top minds. Following a 15-minute presentation from our speaker, there will be time reserved for Q&A from the community. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Elizabeth Anderson, Government Affairs Associate, at eanderson@spacefoundation.org.

Space Policy Updates

  • Jim Cooper of HASC wants to see Space Force leadership using more of its budget on developing cutting-edge satellites and rockets (Breaking Defense, October 11)
  • The UK is pushing for the UN to pass a limited-scope treaty to ban kinetic anti-satellite weapons tests (Air Force Magazine, October 14)
  • The Department of the Air Force is making space policy development the purview of the Space Force chief rather than civilians appointed by Congress (Breaking Defense, October 14)
  • The Aerospace Corporation reports contradictions and regulatory policy gaps for commercial use of small satellites (Breaking Defense, October 16)
  • Senate Appropriations Committee exceeded NASA’s budget request for FY2022 but asked that only $100 million be spent on the second HLS for the moon (Via Satellite, October 20)
  • Senate Appropriations Committee exceeded NASA’s budget request for FY2022 but asked that only $100 million be spent on the second HLS for the moon (Via Satellite, October 20)

Space Industry Updates

  • The launch of a solid-fueled Japanese Epsilon rocket with nine small satellites was pushed back by weeks (Spaceflight Now, October 11)
  • British physicist, Will Marshall, made a deal that will take his satellite start-up to the center stage with Bezos and Branson (The Times UK, October 11)
  • Space Force Space Enterprise Consortium is projected to award $12 billion across the 600+ companies its working with in the coming decade (C4ISRNET, October 12)
  • The NRO will start buying space radar imagery from commercial providers (Space News, October 12)
  • The SDA issued a draft request for bids for 18 satellites that will carry experimental payloads in a single plane (Space News, October 12)
  • NASA’s Space Launch System has passed the design certification review (Spaceflight Insider, October 12)
  • An Australian-made rover will be launched to the moon as part of a NASA mission as soon as 2026 (ABC News,October 13)
  • NASA has awarded researchers at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Copper3D $1.13 million to develop antimicrobial materials for space applications (Space.com, October 14)
  • Private investment in space companies hit a new annual record of $10.3 billion (CNBC, October 15)
  • The Portuguese Space Agency and the Portuguese Army are allowing teams of the European Rocketry Challenge to launch their rockets (Spacewatch Europe, October 15)
  • Prince Albert II of Monaco approved the creation of an Office of Space Affairs, introducing the country into the space race (PR Newswire, October 15)
  • China successfully tested its new space capability with a hypersonic missile that circled the Earth at low orbit (Aljazeera, October 18)
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Lucy mission for NASA successfully launched from Cape Canaveral (SpaceRef, October 18)
  • China claims the nuclear-capable hypersonic missile was falsely reported as it was a space vehicle that was tested in July (Reuters, October 19)
  • The Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter will conduct a focused investigation of the Moon’s shadows when it launches atop a SpaceX booster in August 2022 (Leonard David, October 19)
  • The Space Force is developing a digital environment testing satellite threats under the National Space Test and Training Range program (Space News, October 19)
  • The classified Chinese satellite Shiyan-10 is active after unfortunate anomaly last month (Space News, October 20)
  • Chief of U.S. Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond called for increased cooperation in space with South Korea’s military (UPI, October 20)

Congressional Hearings

This week, the Senate and House both hosted key hearings on current issues in the space industry. The Senate Subcommittee on Space and Science hosted a hearing on International Collaboration and Competition in Space: Oversight of NASA’s Role and Programs. The House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hosted a hearing on Accelerating Deep Space Travel with Nuclear Propulsion.

Notes on October 21st Senate Hearing
Notes on October 20th House Hearing

Space Leader Profile

William Shatner is a Canadian actor best known for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk in the iconic Star Trek television and film series. Shatner became oldest person to travel to space at 90 years old, in his 10-minute sub-orbital flight with Blue Origin on October 13. His flight beat out the previous record of 82 years old set by Wally Funk on July 20.

The actor made a total of 94 appearances in Star Trek episodes from the years 1966-1969 and starred in 7 Star Trek films between 1979-1994. Shatner was originally trained as a Shakespearean actor and over the course of his career has published eight musical albums. Shatner is a 2x Emmy winner, Golden Globe winner, and multiple time world champion horse breeder. He is featured as this weeks’ space leader profile as he is one of the inaugural civilian space travelers in the dawning era of space tourism.

Reading Corner

Air Force Magazine | International Space Engagement Helps Fill Strategic Gaps

America’s space-dependent way of life and its military space advantage are threatened by the new space weapons wielded by adversaries. However, Space Force is motivating traditional and new partners to fill strategic gaps and to guarantee access to space through investment and information-sharing.

Fun Fact

On October 24th, 1946, the first motion pictures were taken of the Earth from space by a US-launched V-2 rocket. This was accomplished by researchers at White Sands Missile Base who attached a movie camera to the V-2 rocket, capturing the first bird’s-eye view of Earth.

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


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