Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Update for the Week Ending May 27, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington: The Department of Defense’s Program Integration Council (PIC) successfully coordinated five-year planning documents for space acquisition among interagency members, a Congressional conference committee met to start reconciling competitiveness bills, including language in USICA (United States Innovation and Competition Act) authorizing NASA to select a second company for the Human Landing System (HLS) program, and the Tokyo Summit produced commitments for the Gateway Program and satellite cooperation.

Congressional Hearings

May 13, 2022, House Committee on Appropriations, FY23 Budget Request for the US Air Force and US Space Force


The Honorable Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Air Force

General Charles Brown Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force

General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, US Space Force

Notes on the May 13 House Appropriations Hearing

May 17, 2022, House Committee on Appropriations, Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee, FY23 Budget Request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Senator Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

Notes on May 17 House Appropriations Hearing

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed an end to the InSight Mars lander mission by the end of 2022 (NASA, May 17)
  • The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) announced Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation and Avalanche Energy have won contracts to develop small nuclear-powered spacecraft (Defense Innovation Unit, May 17)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp and Raytheon Intelligence & Space for atmospheric composition instrument studies (NASA, May 17)
  • The Department of Defense’s Program Integration Council (PIC) successfully coordinated the five-year planning documents for space acquisition among interagency members, for the first time (Breaking Defense, May 19)
  • The next rollout of the Space Launch System (SLS) for a wet dress rehearsal is planned for early June (Yahoo, May 20)
  • NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission launch was delayed until September (Spaceflight Now, May 23)
  • A joint House-Senate conference committee met for the first time to start reconciling competitiveness bills, including language authorizing NASA to select a second company for the Human Landing System (HLS) program (Space News, May 23)
  • NASA announced a comment period for its Moon to Mars Objectives through June 3 (NASA, May 23)
  • Space Systems Command spoke at the Space Tech Expo about refining its front-door concept, a single point of contact for commercial innovators (Space News, May 24)
  • The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center will cease to exist come June 1, and will become a part of the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (Breaking Defense, May 24)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The Government of Uzbekistan met with Starlink representatives to bring broadband services to Central Asia (Space News, May 17)
  • Indian authorities are investigating suspected space debris that landed in Gujarat (The Indian Express, May 16)
  • US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met in Tokyo and confirmed their commitment to include a Japanese astronaut aboard the lunar Gateway outpost (The White House, May 23)
  • Quad Leaders at the Tokyo Summit (US President Biden, Indian Prime Minister Modi, Australian Prime Minister Albanese, and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida) committed to strengthen cooperation through exchanging satellite data and coordinating on Earth observation programs (The White House, May 23)

Space Industry Updates

  • Israeli satellite company Spacecom announced an expansion to maritime services (May 16)
  • Space tourism startup Space Perspective raised an additional $19 million in funding (Bloomberg, May 19)
  • Chinese launch startup Orienspace raised $59.9 million in Series A funding (Space News, May 20)
  • Boeing’s Starliner aircraft docked with the International Space Station for the first time (Insider, May 20)
  • The Japanese Air Self Defense Force awarded a space domain awareness contract to LeoLabs (PR News Wire, May 24)
  • The Space Rapid Capabilities Office awarded a $1.4 billion contract to Blue Halo for the Satellite Communications Augmentation Resource (Space Force, May 24)
  • Amazon Web Services selected ten companies for its AWS Space Accelerator program (Executive Biz, May 25)
  • Boeing’s Starliner capsule landed successfully at the White Sands Space Harbor (, May 25)

Space Leader Spotlight

Dr. John Plumb

Dr. John Plumb currently serves as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy. He was confirmed in this role in March 2022, following nearly two years as the Chief of Government Relations at the Aerospace Corporation. In his role as Assistant Secretary, he is responsible for the overall supervision of policy for the Department of Defense for space warfighting. He also currently serves as the Principal Cyber Advisor to the Secretary of Defense.

Dr. Plumb has spent the last 25 years working in a variety of government positions at the Department of Defense, the Senate, and the National Security Council. He spent two years at the White House working as Director of Defense Policy and Strategy, ran for Congressional office in New York, served in the Navy and Navy Reserves since 1993, and holds the rank of Captain. With a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, he also spent time as a postdoctoral research fellow, aerospace engineer, and Congressional legislative assistant.

His background in government, industry, and military reflects a spectrum of knowledge from both a technical perspective and a cross-governmental perspective. This combination provides him with a strong foundation for the new position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy.

Reading Corner

Space News | Melting Arctic ice opens new front in strategic power competition

Sandra Erwin analyzes the evolving nature of the Arctic region and its potential in becoming a hotspot for military activity.