Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Update for the Week Ending January 28, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington, D.C., NASA announced a shift towards Gateway construction instead of Lunar landings after Artemis 3, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, longtime military space advocate Representative Jim Cooper will retire from Congress, and news broke that Congress may require a short-term continuing resolution (CR) as they finalize negotiations on an omnibus funding bill in advance of the February 18th deadline.

Space Foundation Virtual Events

Space Matters

The first episode of Space Matters, a series that convenes well known policy influencers for high level space policy conversations in monthly conversations on emerging topics and trends within the global space economy, released January 13th. Please join former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Congressman Bob Walker, and Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux in their first Space Matters discussion:

Start Here For Space Season 3

Season three of Start Here for Space will premiere next Tuesday, February 1st with “Intro to Orbital Mechanics” featuring The Aerospace Corporation’s Dr. Kerstyn Auman. Dr. Auman provides an overview of foundational orbital mechanics, insight into her role as an aerospace engineer, and discusses connections between orbital mechanics and space policy. Catch the first episode of Season 3 here:

United States Space Policy Updates

  • NASA’s Inspector General warned that the current Astronaut Corps may be too small (NASA OIG Report, January 15)
  • A NASA safety panel recommended an agency review on human spaceflight management (Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, January 18)
  • Space Force named Colonel Eric Felt Deputy Executive Director of Space Force’s Architecture, Science, and Technology Directorate at the Pentagon (Executive Government, January 18)
  • The NRO granted five contracts to Capella Space, Ice Eye U.S., Airbus U.S., PredaSar, and Umbra for SAR imagery (Defense News, January 20th).
  • NASA announced a foreseeable gap in lunar landings after Artemis 3 as the agency will shift towards Gateway delivery and construction instead of additional moon landings (Space News, January 20)
  • The James Webb Space Telescope has reached its final orbit (The Hill, January 25)
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, the U.S.’s last independent missile propulsion manufacturer (Federal Trade Commission, January 25)
  • Representative Jim Cooper, a longtime space advocate, will retire from Congress (Politico, January 25)
  • The issue with NASA’s Lucy Asteroid Mission was identified (, January 25)
  • NASA is facing difficulties finding a geostationary commercial satellite to house the Geo CARB mission (Space News, January 25)
  • NASA announced new contracts for twelve companies for small satellite launch services (Space News, January 27)

International Space Policy Updates

  • China’s Landspace is experimenting with methane-LOX fuel on its new Zhuque-2 rocket (Space News, January 18th)
  • Chinese satellite has a near miss with Russian ASAT test debris (Daily Mail, January 18)
  • In addition to India, Pakistan has stopped Starlink pre-orders for the same reason: Starlink does not have the proper licenses to operate (Space News, January 19th).
  • An ESA-EU space summit scheduled for February 16 will cover human spaceflight efforts (ESA, January 21)
  • China’s Galactic Energy raised $200 million in Series B and B+ funding rounds for reusable launch vehicle development (Deal Street Asia, January 24)
  • Japan’s H3 rocket has been further delayed (Aviation Week, January 24)
  • Israel signed the Artemis Accords (The Jerusalem Post, January 25)
  • A Russian Cosmonaut has received a visa to train in the United States after initially being rejected (The Space Review, January 24)

Space Industry Updates

  • SpaceX has now launched over 2,000 Starlink Satellites (Space News, January 18th).
  • The USAF offered SpaceX a $102 million contract to explore delivering cargo on Earth using rockets (Space News, January 19th).
  • Blue Origin acquired space robotics company Honeybee (Honeybee Robotics, January 25th).
  • Australian company Hypersonix Launch Systems and American defense company Kratos announced a partnership to build and fly the hydrogen-fueled hypersonic drone DART AE (Hypersonix, January 25th).
  • Comtech Telecommunications announced their board unanimously rejected a $790 million acquisition offer from Acacia (Yahoo Finance, January 25th).
  • The European Union awarded Isar Aerospace €10 million to build-up the E.U. launch sector (Space News, January 25th).
  • The FTC has sued to block Lockheed Martin’s $4.4 billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, the U.S.’s last independent missile propulsion manufacturer (FTC, January 25th).
  • After a $150 million funding round led by Former Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Satellogic became a SPAC (AP News, January 25th).
  • Shortly after its third test flight, Stratolaunch, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, announced a contract with the USAF Research Laboratory (Stratolaunch, January 25th).
  • A SpaceX upper stage will impact the Moon on March 4th after a chaotic seven year orbit (Washington Post, January 26)

Space Leader Profile

Hypersonic technology, though not a new technology, has taken the news and defense industries by a storm in the last two years due to public displays by Russia and China. The United States is not far behind its competitors in having an active hypersonic arsenal in part thanks to Dr. Gillian Bussey.

Before working for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), Dr. Bussey attended MIT where she focused on security studies and physics. She then obtained a Master’s and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. Dr. Bussey continued to study and work as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Maryland, all while working as a Science, Technology, and Weapons Analyst for the CIA.

Dr. Bussey is the first Director of the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) which is part of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Research, and Engineering, Advanced Capabilities. She oversees a $100 million budget for key efforts and programs like the HyFly2 Propulsion System, Technology Transition Plans, and the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) under a goal of fostering university, government, and private sector relations and expediting hypersonic development.

Dr. Bussey is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow and believes that strong science and technology (S&T) strategy based in engineering is  “…essential for battlefield dominance in 2025 and beyond.”

Reading Corner

Click Orlando | NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts in Day of Remembrance

This interactive article provides a background into each of the fallen NASA Astronauts prior to the 55th anniversary of the Apollo 1 disaster on January 27th, 1967.

Fun Fact

In 1965, astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, on the Gemini 6 mission, were woken up by singer Jack Jones’ parody of “Hello Wally” to the tune of the hit Broadway song “Hello Dolly”.