Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Update for the Week Ending June 10, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington: National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markups called for Pentagon reports on hypersonic missile threats, NASA’s Office of the Inspector General’s released its audit on the Mobile Launcher 2 Contract, the Space Development Agency (SDA) awarded its first Tranche-1 O&I contract, and France signed the Artemis Accords.

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)
  • NASA published a notice of intent to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX for five more Crew Dragon missions (, June 1)
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended establishing guidelines for establishing greater transparency and credibility in the Air Force (GAO, June 2)
  • SDA released a solicitation for its Draft Tranche 1 NDSA Experimental Testbed (NExT) (, June 3)
  • The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) included language requesting DOD reports on the Pentagon’s ability to defend against hypersonic missile threats in the draft NDAA markup (Breaking Defense, June 7)
  • The United States, represented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  joined the Space for Climate Observatory (Via Satellite, June 9)
  • NASA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released an audit on the Mobile Launcher 2 Contract and found significant cost overruns and delays (NASA, June 9)
  • A report from the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security on ISR gaps, required in the 2020 NDAA, is expected “within weeks perhaps” (Breaking Defense, June 9)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The Government of Uzbekistan met with Starlink representatives to bring broadband services to Central Asia (Space News, May 17)
  • OneWeb, Astroscale, and the UK and European Space Agencies partnered to launch space junk services with a €14.8 million investment (OneWeb, May 27)
  • A Long March 5B rocket arrived at China’s Wenchang spaceport as China prepares to launch its second space station module (Space News, May 31)
  • France signed the Artemis Accords at a French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) event in Washington, DC (Space News, June 8)
  • Three Chinese astronauts launched to the Chinese Space Station this week for a six month stay (, June 5)
  • Egypt’s NileSat Rocket launched successfully and is beginning its journey to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) (Space News, June 9)

Space Industry Updates

  • Starlink systems were approved in Nigeria and Mozambique (Tech Crunch and Nikkei Asia, May 27)
  • The SDA awarded its $324 million Tranche 1 O&I contract to General Dynamics (Inside Defense, May 27)
  • Sierra Space announced a partnership with Spirit AeroSystems (Spirit Aero, May 31)
  • NASA selected Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace for its new spacesuit contract (The Wall Street Journal, June 1)
  • Space Force awarded a $217 million contract to a.i. Solutions for satellite operation support (Via Satellite, June 3)
  • Sony launched a new company focused on developing laser communications equipment (Space News, June 3)
  • Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket successfully launched its fifth suborbital flight (Orlando Sentinel, June 4)
  • NASA awarded a $622 million contract to Booz Allen Hamilton for cybersecurity services at NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) (Via Satellite, June 7)
  • Starlink’s potential IPO has been pushed back by up to four years (Business Insider, June 7)

Space Leader Spotlight

Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund

Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund currently serves as both President of the International Space University and President of the International Astronautical Federation. She is also a Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute. Dr. Ehrenfreund’s long and illustrious academic and research career makes her an international space leader whose work contributes to the growth of the industry and its professionals.

Dr. Ehrenfreund began her studies in Vienna, Austria, and holds a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Paris VII and the University of Vienna. She has spent time working at the Leiden Observatory and instructing at the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, and Radboud University Nijmegen. She was a principal investigator for ESA and NASA missions, a distinguished Visiting Scientist at JPL, and a senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. These accomplishments led her to head the Austrian Science Fund in 2013 and the German Aerospace Center in 2015.

In recognition of her academic achievements, Dr. Ehrenfreund also had the honor of having an asteroid named after her. This particular asteroid was first discovered in 1977 by a Dutch couple at Leiden University and was named in her honor: Ehrenfreund 9826.

Reading Corner

Air Force Magazine | Lawmakers Suggest the Space Force Start to Coordinate Space Launches Among Providers

Greg Hadley analyzes a House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee provision in the 2023 NDAA markup encouraging the use of a “common launch integrator” as a way to diversify and promote robust competition among industry partners.