Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Update for the Week Ending February 11, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington, D.C., House Representatives signed a letter to House Appropriators requesting an additional $50 million in military space funds, Space Force issued requests for procurement and cyber security support, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation members pushed for a NASA Authorization Bill, and a United Nations meeting on norms of behavior in space slipped to May.

Space Foundation Virtual Events

Space Matters

Space Foundation’s new series, “Space Matters,” convenes well known policy influencers for high level space policy conversations on emerging topics and trends within the global space economy. Check out the second episode here:

Start Here for Space

Why are norms the foundations of legal approaches to behavior in space? Are they legally binding? Join Secure World Foundation’s Victoria Samson for a conversation about Norms of Behavior in space:

Congressional Hearings

On February 9th, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Space and Science Subcommittee held a hearing on NASA Accountability and Oversight to examine NASA’s management of key programs critical to mission success and NASA’s partnerships in the commercial aerospace sector. The hearing witnesses were James Free, Mr. James Reuter, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, Mr. William Russell, and Dr. Scott Pace. Read hearing notes here.

 US Space Policy Updates

  • Laurie Leshin selected as the next Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) (NASA, January 28)
  • A NASA Safety Advisory Panel is closely monitoring agency reorganization (Space News, January 28)
  • Space Force issued a request to support National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 3 Procurement (Department of Defense, January 28)
  • A group of House Representatives signed a letter to House Appropriators requesting $50 million in additional funds for tactically responsive space launches (Breaking Defense, January 31)
  • NASA released its International Space Station (ISS) transition report (NASA, January 2022)
  • Space Force satellite WGS-11+ transitioned from design review to production phase (Space Systems Command, February 1)
  • NASA postponed the rollout of the Space Launch System (SLS) from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Pad 39B until mid-March (Florida Today, February 2)
  • The United States refuted Chinese accusations that Starlink satellites have endangered operations on China’s space station in a note verbal to the UN Secretary-General (UNOOSA, February 3)
  • NASA and SpaceX are investigating why parachutes on Crew-1 and Crew-2 missions have opened late (The Verge, February 4)
  • Space Systems Command issued a request for information on industry capability to combat cyber attacks (Space News, February 7)
  • The Senate Science and Space Subcommittee made strong pushes for a NASA Authorization Bill in a NASA oversight hearing (Senate Committee on CST, February 9)
  • Mike Bloomberg was nominated as the Chair of the Defense Innovation Board (DOD, February 9)
  • UN meeting on space norms and military space has been delayed to May following procedural complaints from Russia (Breaking Defense, February 9)
  • NASA sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) citing concerns with Starlink launches and potential collisions in LEO (Yahoo Finance, February 10)

International Space Policy Updates

  • U.K. officials hesitant to give the go-ahead for mid-2022 Virgin Orbit launch (Space News, January 29)
  • The U.K.’s new Advanced Research and Innovation Agency (ARIA), modeled after DARPA, hires DARPA Dep. Dir. Peter Hingham as its inaugural Chief Executive (Sky News, January 31)
  • Prince Charles of Wales wants humans to protect the space environment (Yahoo News, February 1)
  • The United Kingdom will invest $2 billion in military space programs (Space News, February 1).
  • India’s Chandrayaan 3’s lunar mission launch is planned for August 2022 (, February 8)
  • China will likely have over 60 launches in 2022 (Space News, February 9)
  • The United Arab Emirates’ Hope has passed one year in orbit around Mars (, February 9)

Space Industry Updates

  • A test incident destroyed the upper stage of an ABL Space Systems rocket, delaying its first flight by three months (Space News, January 27)
  • Satellite start up ICEYE raised $136 million in Series D investment round (CNBC, February 3)
  • Rocket Lab announced an expansion of its centers in Littleton, Colorado (Space News, February 4)
  • Sustainable mega constellation startup E-Space raised $50 million (Via Satellite, February 7)
  • Space Development Agency performed an early demonstration of Artificial Intelligence technology for autonomous data fusion in-orbit (Space Ref, February 8)
  • Starlink satellites reentering after only two weeks in orbit following a geomagnetic storm (NPR, February 9)
  • Hypersonic aircraft firm Destinus raised $29 million in seed capital (Flight Global, February 9)
  • Astra’s Rocket 3.3 cubesat launch failed after potential payload fairing issue (Orlando Sentinel, February 10)
  • Elon Musk provided long-awaited Starship updates (SpaceX, February 10)

Space Leader Profile – Melissa Price 

Melissa Price is the Australian Minister for the Defense Industry and Minister for Science and Technology. Price assumed these roles in May 2019 after previously serving in the House of Representatives and as Minister for the Environment. In her current position she works to promote and enable aerospace development. Price has set goals for Australia to improve its autonomous systems, AI capabilities, hypersonic weapons, space operation capabilities, and cyber capabilities as part of the “Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities”. These goals were set to help Australia compete in the ever-contentious Pacific region. The Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) is a joint Australian-US program to produce a hypersonic weapon, which is a continuation of the Allied Prototyping Initiative (API).

Price strives to support small and medium-sized Australian space companies to “triple the space sector’s size to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 new jobs by 2030.” She is also an advocate for Australian women in STEM where she has helped Prime Minister Morrison’s Administration distribute grants and scholarships to underrepresented groups in STEM. Price also contributes to the STEM community as a staunch advocate and supporter of cancer research.

Reading Corner

NASA | International Space Station Transition Report

This report covers the budget, health, and de-orbit plan for the International Space Station and identifies NASA’s goals for space exploration, commercial partnerships, and international collaboration in the next decade.

Fun Fact

On February 10, 2022, China’s Tianwen 1 Mars mission completed its first year in orbit.