Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C., Update for the Week Ending November 6, 2021

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington, D.C., the House allocations of the Build Back Better Act sharply reduced allocations to NASA infrastructure repairs and climate change projects, a federal judge ruled against Blue Origin’s protest of the NASA Human Landing System contract, Space Force introduced a new commercial technology funding program called Orbital Prime, and the Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics was released.

Space Classified Series

On October 27th, Space Foundation partnered with Aerospace Corporation to host a virtual Space Classified Series focused on the threats, vulnerabilities, and assurances faced in the Space Cyber world. Ryan Speelman from Aerospace Corporation moderated the discussions surrounding Solarium Commission, priority intelligence requirements and intelligence gaps, and other approaches to emerging cyber challenges. The keynote speakers included the Associate Administrator of Internal Affairs at NTIA; Jaisha Wray, Deputy Director of the NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate; David P. Luber, and Representative Chris Stewart of HPSCI. To be included in future events, please reach out to Megan Wenrich, Manager of DC Operations, at [email protected]

Start Here For Space Season 2

Start Here For Space is a 101-level introductory series to space policy. This series features subject matter experts who provide insight into space policy issues and why they should matter to policymakers. These episodes are all free and publicly available on the Symposium 365 platform. Two episodes of Season 2 have been released thus far:

(1) Dr. Bhavya Lal, Associate Administrator of the Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy and Acting Chief Technologist at NASA, on nuclear propulsion. (link)

(2) Dr. Marcus Holzinger, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, on space domain awareness. (link)

US Space Policy Updates

  • Senior Space Force Officer Brig. Gen. John Olson asserted that the U.S. must establish itself as the lead national power in space before China (Breaking Defense, October 25)
  • House revisions of the Build Back Better Act (the budget reconciliation package) sharply reduced allocations to NASA infrastructure repairs and climate change projects (R. 5376, October 29)
  • The Space Development Agency reissued a solicitation to help build its Tranche 1 Transport Layer (SDA, October 29)
  • A federal judge ruled against Blue Origin’s lawsuit that sought to overturn NASA’s Human Lander System contract (Washington Post, November 4)
  • US Space Force released a new initiative to fund commercially developed technologies for orbital operations, called Orbital Prime (SpaceNews, November 4)
  • The Decadal Survey for Astronomy and Astrophysics from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine was released, urging a new approach to flagship astrophysics missions (Space Policy Online, November 4)

International Space Updates

  • China launched the Shijian-21 satellite to test space debris mitigation technologies (Space News, October 25)
  • The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) took place in Dubai during the last week of October (Space Policy Online, October 25)
  • Russian satellite failed to make it into orbit and blazed over the U.S. and Canada (cnet, October 25)
  • Japan’s H2-A rocket launched a navigation satellite (, October 26)
  • Head of Roscosmos Rogozin stated in a virtual appearance at the IAC that Crew Dragon is safe for cosmonauts (SpaceNews, October 26)
  • Poland signed the Artemis Accords at IAC (Parabolic Arc, October 27)
  • The UAE is examining options for future human spaceflight missions (SpaceNews, October 28)
  • The UN First Committee approved a new working group for rules on military activity in space (Breaking Defense, November 1)

Space Industry Updates

  • The ISS National Laboratory announced research goals to demonstrate biomanufacturing activities in microgravity (Parabolic Arc, October 25)
  • Blue Origin unveiled a plan for a private space station called “Orbital Reef” to deploy by the end of the decade (CNBC, October 26)
  • The University of Louisville’s astrosurgery team is looking to make emergency surgeries in space possible (BizJournals, October 26)
  • Orion capsule is fully stacked atop the Space Landing System at Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (Universe Today, October 26)
  • Amazon and Verizon announced a mutually beneficial partnership to challenge SpaceX’s satellite internet (Fast Company, October 27)
  • The Orbex Prime biofueled space rocket will be the first in a new generation of ultra-green launch systems (Biomass Magazine, October 27)
  • Terran Orbital announced plans to go public through a $1.58B SPAC merger (Wall Street Journal, October 28)
  • Falcon Heavy will be launching three Space Force missions in 2022 (SpaceNews, October 31)
  • Amazon will be launching prototype Project Kuiper satellites with ABL Space Systems in a multi-year agreement (Via Satellite, November 1)
  • Redwire acquired space biotech company Techshot (SpaceNews, November 2)
  • NASA is considering bringing Crew-2 back to Earth before the Crew-3 launch after a third launch delay (CBS, November 4)

Space Leader Spotlight – Shelli Brunswick

Shelli Brunswick is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the Executive Global Space Leader at Space Foundation. Brunswick regularly collaborates with commercial, government, and educational sectors to advocate for accessible space education, space technology innovation, and space entrepreneurship. Her dedication and influence as a role model for women in space was recognized in her nomination for four WomenTech Global Awards 2021.

Among key roles that she holds at other organizations, Brunswick is the Chair of the Women in Aerospace Foundation, a Space4Women Network Mentor at the UNOOSA, and a World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) Senator for the U.S., chairs Space Entrepreneurship Tod’Aers, and also recently became a Global Chair for Space Technology with the Group of 100 Global Women Leaders. Brunswick spent three weeks traveling in the month of October, meeting with space leaders in the Middle East and North Africa region and attended the International Astronautical Conference in Dubai. Space Foundation is proud to be represented by a leader as compelling, inspiring, and committed as Shelli Brunswick.

Reading Corner

Breaking Defense | UN Committee Votes ‘Yes’ on UK-US-Backed Space Rules Group

On Monday November 1st, the UN First Committee approved the creation of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) to establish rules for military activities in space. This is an indicator of growing political concern regarding the military space domain and a widespread motivation to take action. The OEWG will begin with biannual meetings where general consensus will be met and groundwork will likely be laid for a new treaty addressing the growing risks of military conflict in space.

Space Trivia

On November 3, 1973, NASA launched Mariner 10 using an Atlas-Centaur rocket. Mariner 10 became the first spacecraft to explore Mercury, making the close-range pictures it captured of the planet a major accomplishment. This was the first spacecraft to use the gravitational pull of one planet–Venus, to reach another planet–Mercury (NASA).