Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Update for the Week Ending April 29, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

Space Shuttle Discovery over Washington, DC Space Shuttle Discovery flies over Washington, DC, before its retirement. Credit: Architect of the Capitol

This week in Washington: Vice President Harris declared a commitment to end ASAT tests; Travis Langster was announced as DoD’s Principal Director of Space Policy; Richard DalBello was tapped to lead NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce; and NASA awarded $278.5 million in contracts for near-Earth space communication development.

US Space Policy Updates

  • Travis Langster was announced as the DoD’s Principal Director of Space Policy (Twitter, April 15)
  • The National Reconnaissance Office launched its NROL-85 mission with a SpaceX Falcon 9 (National Reconnaissance Office, April 17)
  • VP Harris announced a commitment to stop ASAT tests (White House, April 18)
  • The National Academies released its planetary science and astrobiological strategy for 2023 through 2032 (National Academies, April 19)
  • Future Mars sample collection and missions to Uranus and Enceladus were proposed by the National Academies (Space News, April 19)
  • DoD officials backed the White House’s decision to ban ASAT testing (Space News, April 20)
  • Representative Blumenauer introduced legislation for proposed taxes for commercial space launches (Congress, April, 21)
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee Chair says they will get through FY23 spending bills “on time” (Space News, April 22)
  • The Space Launch System was rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building while NASA discusses next steps for the Artemis 1 mission (NASA Spaceflight, April 25)
  • NASA Administrator Nelson anticipates having a decision as to the future of NASA-Roscosmos Crew partnerships by June (Space News, April 26)
  • The NRO is planning a solicitation for commercial radio frequency sensing this summer (Defense Daily, April 26)
  • Space Industry For Ukraine, a collaboration between more than 20 space and satellite industry firms, has already raised more than $1 million for humanitarian projects in Ukraine (Defense One, April 26)
  • Richard DalBello was tapped to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Space Commerce (NOAA, April 27)
  • NASA’s Crew 4 mission arrived at the International Space Station (NASA, April 28)

International Space Policy Updates

  • Chinese Shenzhou-13 astronauts arrived back on Earth after 182 days in space on the Tiangong space station (Yahoo, April 15)
  • Chinese launch company Deep Blue Aerospace secured Series A+ funding marking greater separation from state-sponsored space activities (Space News, April 19)
  • The Indian Space Research Organizations’s commercial division obtains deal with OneWeb for satellite launch program (OneWeb, April 20)
  • Canada plans to launch its own Space Force by the end of the year (Space News, April 20)
  • International partners, like South Korea, support the decision to ban ASAT testing and supports greater U.N. legislation (Yonhap News, April 21).
  • China announced plans to establish a lunar communications and navigation constellation (Space News, April 27)
  • The US and South Korea agreed to cooperate on space situational awareness (Defense Post, April 27)
  • The inaugural NewSpace Africa Conference took place in Nairobi this week (Space in Africa, April 27)

Space Industry Updates

  • Delta Air Lines tested Starlink Wi-Fi for in-flight use (Wall Street Journal, April 18)
  • Private jet airline JSX is the first to ink a deal with SpaceX for in-flight Starlink Wi-Fi (Twitter, April 21)
  • Japanese companies ispace and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance agreed to the first “Lunar Insurance Plan” (ispace, April 21)
  • Iridium and General Dynamics partnered to pursue the Space Development Agency’s Tranche-1 contract (GovCon Wire, April 25)
  • SpaceX successfully returned Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission (CNBC, April 25)
  • Capella Space closed a $97 million Series C funding round (Capella Space, April 25)
  • NASA awarded $278.5 million in contracts to Inmarsat Government, Kuiper Government Solutions, SES Government Solutions, SpaceX, Telesat U.S. Services, and Viasat to develop near-Earth space communication services (Satellite Today, April 26)
  • Hawaiian Airlines announced a partnership with SpaceX’s Starlink service (Tech Crunch, April 26)
  • Adranos, a rocket motor startup, closed a $20 million Series A funding round (Sat News, April 28)
  • Northrop Grumman anticipates a $2 billion contract with ULA for solid rocket boosters (Space News, April 28)

Space Leader Spotlight

Janet Petro

Janet Petro currently serves as NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Director. She assumed her present role in May 2021 following Bob Cabana’s transition from Director of Kennedy Space Center to NASA’s Associate Administrator. Petro is a U.S. Army veteran whose career in civil service began immediately following her graduation from West Point with a B.S. in Engineering. She continued her studies at Boston University’s Metropolitan College where she earned a Master of Science degree in Business Administration.

Prior to joining NASA, Petro worked for Science Applications International Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Corporation. Since 2007, she has been serving as Deputy Director of NASA Kennedy. In this role she helped Kennedy transition into a multi-user spaceport. Petro strongly believes that the commercialization of space can have an immense positive impact towards putting humans in space and positively contributes to NASA’s missions.

Reading Corner | Private Ax-1 astronauts on SpaceX capsule to mint NFT artwork in space

Axiom’s private astronauts released a collection of 4 NFTs from space, including one of a photograph taken by López-Alegría from the ISS.