Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Updates for the Week Ending August 19, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This week in Washington: The House and Senate are in summer recess, though the House came back in for a quick vote on CHIPS. President Biden signed the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act into law earlier this week. Vice President Harris announced the next National Space Council meeting in September ​with a focus on commercial space regulation.

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has expanded potential Artemis astronauts to the entire NASA astronaut corps, not a previously announced 18-member subset (Space News, August 6)
  • The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act to provide $430 billion to fight climate change and reduce drug costs. The bill will head to the House. (Yahoo Finance, August 8)
  • President Biden signed the CHIPS Act into law​, which includes NASA Reauthorization (NPR, August 9)
  • The Army has been experimenting with the integration of the Special Operations Command, Space and Missile Defense Command, and the Cyber Command (Breaking Defense, August 9)
  • US Space Command (USSPACECOM) Commander General Dickinson called for space traffic management to be transferred to a civilian agency as soon as possible (Space News, August 9)
  • Vice President Kamala Harris announced the next National Space Council meeting will be held on September 9 and will focus on updating rules for the commercial space industry (Breaking Defense, August 9)
  • SPACECOM announced its integration of joint integrated space teams within the other ten combatant commands (Breaking Defense, August 9)
  • General Dickinson condemned Russia for launching a spy satellite in nearly the same orbit as a classified American reconnaissance satellite (, August 10)
  • President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law (Space Policy Online, August 14)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, announced its intention to partner with Russia to develop and launch satellite capabilities (Space in Africa)
  • The launch of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) failed after a data loss at the terminal stage. The satellites launched into an elliptical orbit and are no longer usable (The Indian Express, August 8)
  • NASA is in talks with the Italian Space Agency (ISA) to fly a NASA Earth science payload on an Italian satellite (Earth Science Advisory Committee, August 6)
  • Roscosmos launched an Iranian Space Agency satellite into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Al Jazeera, August 9)
  • Roscosmos unveiled a model of its proposed space station after its future departure from the International Space Station (The Guardian, August 15)

Space Industry Updates

  • Virgin Galactic delayed the commercial launch of its SpaceShipTwo rocket plane to the second quarter of 2023 (Reuters, August 4)
  • The Space Development Agency (SDA) issued a special notice for proposals on live demonstrations of laser crosslinks between the SDA Transport Layer satellites and moving aircrafts (, August 4)
  • SpaceX raised an additional $250 million in a July 2022 equity round (CNBC, August 5)
  • Lockheed Martin announced it will launch 3 satellites in 2023 to demonstrate Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) (Via Satellite, August 5)
  • Northrop Grumman and Firefly Aerospace announced a joint partnership to develop a new first stage for the Antares rocket (Northrop Grumman, August 8)
  • SpaceLink signed an agreement with the US Army to study the use of relay constellation to deliver commercial satellite imagery directly to troops on the ground (Space News, August 8)
  • Maxar was selected to manufacture 14 missile-detection satellites for the SDA Tracking Layer Tranche 1 (Maxar, August 9)
  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected five commercial satellite operators to help develop laser terminals and technical standards to connect satellites in space: SpaceX, Telesat, SpaceLink, Viasat, and Amazon’s Project Kuiper (Space News, August 10)
  • TheFederal Communications Commission (FCC) ​decided not to subsidize SpaceX​ after $866 million ​bid for rural broadband Starlink services (Bloomberg, August 10)
  • SpaceX won a $1.9 million Air Force contract for Starlink services in Europe and Africa (Space News, August 15)
  • D-Orbit and Breeze Holdings canceled their SPAC merger plans (Via Satellite, August 15)
  • Orion Space Solutions was selected by US Space Force to develop three satellites to be stationed in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) (Insider, August 16)
  • Ursa Space and Spire announced a partnership on maritime domain awareness services (Via Satellite, August 17)
  • Sky Perfect JSAT satellite operator signed a deal with SpaceX to launch its satellite on the Starship launch vehicle (Bloomberg, August 18)

Space Foundation Events

Faga Forum

The Faga Forum on Space Intelligence brings together senior leaders from  agencies  including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Reconnaissance Office, United States Air Force and Space Force, National Security Council, Defense Intelligence Agency, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency together with industry executives for robust discussions on a number of issues confronting the space and intelligence community.

The FAGA Forum is a unique opportunity for government and industry decision makers versed in national security, space, and intelligence issues to discuss current challenges, opportunities and solutions. The Forum will be conducted on October 27th at the TS/SCI level (US only) and will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.

Start Here for Space

In our third episode of a special season of Start Here for Space, Jill Smyth, Space Counselor for the Canadian Space Agency at the Embassy of Canada, shares insight into CSA operations, the agency’s presence in DC, and international cooperation between CSA and the United States. Join us here for the third episode of the season!

Space Leader Spotlight

Robyn Gatens

This week’s Space Leader Profile goes to Ms. Robyn Gatens, Director of the International Space Station at NASA. In her current position, she is responsible for leading strategy, policy, integration, and stakeholder engagement for the space station program and works closely with ISS teams across NASA centers. Ms. Gatens is also in charge of leading activities to secure an ongoing U.S. presence in low-Earth orbit (LEO) by enabling a successful, long-term private sector commercial LEO space economy. She assumed this role in March 2021, after spending time as the Deputy Director of the ISS for two years.

Ms. Gatens has spent the past thirty five years at NASA working in both the space station program and in development and management of the life support systems for human spaceflight missions. She began her career at Marshall Space Flight Center, holding multiple leadership positions including Manager for the Orion spacecraft crew support. Ms. Gatens transferred to NASA Headquarters in 2012 where she initially worked as Technology Demonstration Lead. For her three and a half decades of dedicated service, she has been awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership and Exceptional Achievement Medals and is certainly a space leader at NASA and in the international space community.

Reading Corner

Air Force Magazine | Time is Already Running Short for Congress to Pass 2023 NDAA Spending Bills

This opinion piece, written by AFM’s Greg Hadley, discusses the high likelihood of a National Defense Authorization Act Continuing Resolution (CR), which would allow the Pentagon to continue working despite having not passed a 2023 NDAA.