Public Policy and Government Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Updates for the Week Ending September 2, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

Global Alliance

This week in Washington: The House and Senate are in August recess. The Artemis 1 launch slipped to Saturday, September 3rd. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) extended SpaceX’s commercial crew mission contract by $1.6 billion and 5 launches. Boeing, Raytheon, and Ursa Major were awarded government contracts for missile and engine development.

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The decision that only states with Space Force bases will be allowed to compete for STARCOM headquarters has Texas lawmakers calling for a revision (Breaking Defense, August 23)
  • The US government released its 2022 State of the Space Industrial Basereport, calling for strategic competition with China to sustain US leadership (State of the Space Industrial Base, August 24)
  • A US appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to allow Starlink satellites to be launched into low-Low Earth Orbit (Space News, August 26)
  • The long-awaited Artemis 1 launch was scrubbed on its first launch attempt (NASA, August 29)
  • Former NASA Administrators Jim Bridenstine and Charlie Bolden criticized US overdependence on Russia (, August 30)
  • The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced that federal agencies must make papers that describe taxpayer-funded work freely available to the public as soon as the final peer-reviewed manuscript is published (AAAS, August 26)
  • A draft of the Air Force’s Chief Information Officer Public Strategy was released, calling for heightened implementation of zero trust, cloud adoption, and artificial intelligence (AF CIO, August 30)
  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will hold a meeting next week to discuss Russian and Chinese space capabilities (Defense News, August 30)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 68 crew, made up of 2 Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut, is moving forward despite heightened geopolitical tensions with Russia (Space News, August 25)
  • The Kingdom of Bahrain will host this year’s Arab Space Cooperation meeting on November 8th (The National News, August 25)
  • The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company will jointly develop insurance policies for commercial space travelers (Kyodo, August 28)
  • Maritime Launch Services has been approved to begin construction of a spaceport in Nova Scotia, which will become Canada’s first commercial spaceport (Via Satellite, August 29)
  • China has plans to make its Long March rocket reusable (Space News, August 29)
  • China’s Ministry of Science and Technology approved a space nuclear reactor project aiming to generate a megawatt of electricity (, September 1)

Space Industry Updates

  • Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Orbital Reef passed NASA’s review phase (Space News, August 22)
  • SpaceLink announced a partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to analyze and develop protocols for commercial communication constellation interactions with Department of Defense systems (PR Newswire, August 22)
  • The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) selected five companies for a $4.8 billion contracts to provide research, development, and software services over the next ten years (GovCon Wire, August 22)
  • SpaceX and T-Mobile announced a joint venture to provide cell phone connectivity worldwide using the Starlink constellation and T-Mobile’s wireless network (T-Mobile, August 25)
  • Royal Caribbean has partnered with Starlink services to provide broadband capabilities on its cruise fleet (Via Satellite, August 30)
  • Collins Aerospace opened a new facility in Houston and revealed its next generation xEVAS spacesuit (Click 2 Houston, August 31)
  • Boeing was awarded a $5 billion Missile Defense Agency (MDA) contract for ballistic missile defense integration (Breaking Defense, August 31)
  • Raytheon Technologies was awarded a $972 million contract to supply the US and allied militaries with advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) (Defense News, August 31)
  • Ursa Major won a $3.6 million Air Force contract for developing rocket engines for the booster and upper stages of satellite launches (Aviation Weekly, August 31)

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 fifth episode of a special season of Start Here for Space, Krunal Joshi, Space Counselor for the Indian Space Research Organization at the Embassy of India, shares insight into ISRO operations, the agency’s presence in DC, and international cooperation between India and the United States. Join us here for the fifth episode of the season!

Space Leader Spotlight

Charlie Blackwell-Thompson

This week’s space leader spotlight recognizes Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Exploration Ground Systems Launch Director at NASA. Appointed in January 2016, Ms. Blackwell-Thompson is the first female launch director in NASA’s history. As launch director, Ms. Blackwell-Thompson leads the planning and execution of launch operations for the Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) program and Exploration Systems Development Division (ESD) at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. She also serves as the cross-program lead to the Launch Integration team responsible for the integration and coordination of launch operations across the SLS, Orion, and EGS programs.

Ms. Blackwell-Thompson has held numerous leadership positions since joining NASA in 2004. Notably, she served as the EGS program’s Test Management Branch chief prior to being named launch director. She also served as the Launch and Landing chief through the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) and supported planning efforts for launch operations in the Constellation Program. Before joining NASA, Ms. Blackwell-Thompson earned a BA in Computer Engineering from Clemson University and began her career with Boeing as a payload flight software engineer. She worked on several missions in that role, including the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) and the Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) missions.

In recognition of her contribution to the global space industry, Ms. Blackwell-Thompson has received numerous awards, including multiple Space Flight Awareness Team Awards, the astronaut’s Silver Snoopy for her work on the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award.

Reading Corner

New Scientist | NASA made enough oxygen on Mars to last an astronaut for 100 minutes

NASA’s Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) device was able to reliably produce 15 minutes of oxygen per hour over the course of seven production runs in 2021

Written by Elizabeth Anderson and Amanda Nguyen