Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Update for the Week Ending July 22, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington: The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act passed the House, the Senate Armed Services Committee released its version of the NDAA requesting an additional $45 billion in defense spending, NASA and Roscosmos reached an agreement exchanging seats on Crew Dragon and Soyuz launches, and the NASA Authorization Act was included in the Senate Commerce Committee’s text of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act.

Space Foundation Virtual Events

Please join us for a special Space Foundation Stakeholder call, at 11 AM EST on Wednesday, July 27. Speakers include Lesley Conn, director of Research and Analysis for Space Foundation, and Mariel John Borowitz, associate professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech to discuss the 2021 space economy numbers from The Space Report Q2 that we release that same day. Please RSVP to [email protected].

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The first images of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) were released (NASA, July 11)
  • A draft environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has given a clean bill to all six proposed locations of Space Command headquarters site options (Air Force, July 13)
  • The House of Representatives passed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with $839 billion, a total of $37 billion more than the President’s request (Politico, July 14)
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Roscosmos reached an agreement exchanging two seats on a Crew Dragon launch for two seats on a Soyuz launch (New York Times, July 15)
  • Dmitri Rogozin was dismissed from Roscosmos by Russian President Vladimir Putin (Business Insider, July 15)
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released its version of the 2023 NDAA, requesting a $45 billion increase in defense spending (Breaking Defense, July 18)
  • NASA delayed the launch of its ice-inspecting rover, VIPER, by a year (Space News, July 19)
  • The Senate Commerce Committee released its text of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductor (CHIPS) Act, which included the NASA Authorization Act. The House’s version of this bill did not include the NASA Authorization Act (Space News, CHIPS Act, July 20)
  • NASA announced three potential launch opportunities for Artemis 1, beginning August 29 (NPR, July 20)
  • Members of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel expressed concern over the timeline for commercial space stations to be built before the decommissioning of the International Space Station (Space News, July 22)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Academies of Sciences to work to bridge a technological gap for crop monitoring and food security (Space in Africa, July 9)
  • Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, Maj Gen Rolf Folland, called for a Nordic Air Operations Center if Finland and Sweden join NATO (Breaking Defense, July 9)
  • China will launch the second module of its Tiangong space station on July 24 (Space News, July 14)
  • Georgia approved Starlink services in a first for the South Caucasus region. SpaceX predicts its services will be available in Eastern Europe in 2023 (Starlink, July 14)
  • Imagery company Iceye will participate in a risk transfer project with the Ghana Ministry of Finance, the UN Development Programme, and the Insurance Development Forum, to better protect the safety and financial risks of Ghanaians exposed to flooding (Via Satellite, July 15)
  • Saudi Arabia signed the Artemis Accords (Space News, July 16)

Space Industry Updates

  • SpaceX’s Starlink began offering its satellite connectivity services to the maritime sector (Smart Maritime Network, July 8)
  • New venture capital firm Stellar Solutions launched a fund with more than $23 million in capital commitments dedicated to improving space technology (Satellite Today, July 9)
  • York Space Systems selected Canadian launcher MDA for a satellite antenna contract to support space security and constellation networks (Satellite Today, July 12)
  • US Space Systems Command has awarded a $22 million contract to Northrop Grumman for its Rapid On-Orbit Space Technology Evaluation Ring (ROOSTER) program to rapidly deploy small satellites (Via Satellite, July 14)
  • The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) awarded BlackSky a second $4.4 million contract to automate analysis of satellite imagery (Satellite Today, July 14)
  • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has released a request for proposals for commercial radio frequency remote sensing (NRO, July 14)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded a contract for ground station service to Atlas Space Operations (Via Satellite, July 15)
  • The Space Development Agency (SDA) awarded $1.3 billion to L3Harris and Northrop Grumman for Tranche 1 of the Tracking Layer Satellites (DOD, July 18)
  • General Dynamics Information Technology won a $908 million contract to provide network and IT services to US Air Forces in Europe (Breaking Defense, July 18)
  • Raytheon will acquire the UK startup Northern Space and Security (Space News, July 18)
  • NASA awarded its launch service contract for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope to SpaceX (NASA, July 19)
  • Impulse Space and Relativity Space announced a partnership to deliver the first commercial payload to Mars (Relativity Space, July 19)
  • Kratos won a US Army Future Command contract to demonstrate a virtualized ground system (Kratos, July 20)

Space Leader Spotlight

Dr. Arati Prabhakar

This week’s selection for the space leader profile goes to Dr. Arati Prabhakar. Dr. Prabhakar is President Biden’s nominee for the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Dr. Prabhakar was a former Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a former Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She holds a PhD in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology and is an engineer by trade.

Dr. Prabhakar has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation and technology development. At NIST, she built out the institute’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership to boost competitiveness of manufacturers and its Advanced Technology Program. During her time in Silicon Valley, she focused her efforts on research and development deployment and venture capital investments in green technology. At DARPA, she founded the DARPA Microelectronics Technology Office, an organizational division dedicated to the development of technology for the Armed Forces.

She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Academy of Engineering, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Dr. Prabhakar exemplifies a space leader who has consistently pushed the limits of scientific and technological innovation.

Reading Corner

Via Satellite | How the Space Industry Competes Amid the Tight Market for Talent

Rachel Jewett of Via Satellite examines the strong labor market and competition for talent among companies in the space industry.

Written by Elizabeth Anderson

Image credits to DOD and Via Satellite