International Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Updates for the Week Ending September 16, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This Week in Washington

The National Space Council convened for a second time under Vice President Harris’s leadership, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen announced his resignation from NASA, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a nomination hearing for Lt Gen Chance Saltzman, and Senators Hickenlooper and Lummis introduced the ORBITS Act.

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The Department of Defense (DOD) updated its space policy directive, codifying the responsibilities of Space Force, Space Command, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy positions, among others (DOD, September 1)
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a draft order setting a five-year rule for post-mission disposal of satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO) (Space News, September 8)
  • DOD officials convened for a two-day discussion on Chinese space ambitions and capabilities (Defense Daily, September 8)
  • The National Space Council (NSpC) convened at Johnson Space Center (JSC) for its second meeting under Vice President Harris’ leadership and emphasized its focus on climate, human spaceflight, and STEM education (NASA, September 9)
  • The White House released a Fact Sheet prior to the National Space Council meeting, highlighting the efforts taken by the Biden Administration to inspire and equip the American workforce to pursue careers in STEM (White House, September 9)
  • The Departments of Defense and Commerce finalized a framework agreement for cooperation on space monitoring (Breaking Defense, September 9)
  • Kevin Coleman was appointed the head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) (Space Policy Online, September 9)
  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA signed a Memorandum of Agreement concerning commercial space mishap investigations, outlining the responsibilites of both federal bodies (NTSB / FAA, September 9)
  • The United States will introduce a United Nations (UN) Resolution calling for a halt on ASAT testing (Space News, September 9)
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to September 27th for its next Artemis 1 launch window (CNN, September 12)
  • Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, announced he will leave NASA at the end of 2022 (NASA, September 13)
  • Lt General Chance Saltzman testified for the Senate Armed Services Committee as his nomination for the Chief of Space Operations is being considered (C-SPAN, September 13)
  • The Space Development Agency (SDA) Tranche 0 satellite launch has slipped to mid-December (Space News, September 14)
  • NASA announced a solicitation for two additional private astronaut missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for 2023 and 2024 (, September 14)
  • The second meeting of the UN Working Group on Reducing Space Threats met this week in Geneva, Switzerland (UN, September 15)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense released a UK Space Power Joint Doctrine Publication, providing principles and philosophy for the UK Armed Forces use of space power (UK Ministry of Defence, September 1)
  • Joseph Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), does not foresee a future return to cooperation with Russia (Ars Technica, September 6)
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced its plans to develop a reusable rocket at the Bengaluru Space Expo (The Indian Express, September 9)
  • The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced its next Chang’e program mission, Chang’e 6, is almost completed (, September 13)
  • The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) announced the establishment of the Egyptian Space Startup Hub within the Academy of Scientific Research (Space in Africa, September 12)
  • The Chinese government approved three robotic moon missions to set groundwork for a permanent lunar base (, September 13)
  • Japan and Germany joined the US pledge against KE-ASAT testing (Space Policy Online, September 13)
  • The Chinese government sanctioned the CEOs of Raytheon Technologies, Gregory Hayes, and Boeing Defense, Space and Security, Ted Colbert (Breaking Defense, September 16)

Space Industry Updates

  • Apple announced its new iPhones will have emergency messaging capability enabled by Globalstar satellites (Via Satellite, September 7)
  • KMI won three Space Force Orbital Prime contracts for space debris mitigation technology (Space News, September 7)
  • Indian launch startup Skyroot Aerospace raised $51 million in a Series B round (Space News, September 7)
  • Iridium and SpaceX have partnered to launch five satellites from Falcon 9 rockets (PR Newswire, September 8)
  • HawkEye 360 is considering another funding round and potentially going public in the next few years (Space News, September 8)
  • Near Space Labs launched an imagery grant program to provide free satellite imagery for nonprofits, researchers, and universities (Geospatial World, September 8)
  • Data analytics firm SciTec won a $274 million Space Force contract to support its missile warning system (Air Force Technology, September 11)
  • A federal bankruptcy court approved the sale of Masten Space Systems assets to lunar developer Astrobotic (Space News, September 11)
  • Firefly Aerospace scrubbed its launch attempt of the Alpha rocket (NASA Spaceflight, September 11)
  • Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle aborted mid-launch (Florida Today, September 12)
  • Arianespace and OneWeb reached a settlement following the suspension of launches in March 2022 (Arianespace, September 13)
  • Starlink services have arrived in Antarctica and are now active on all seven continents (Tech Crunch, September 14)

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.

Space Matters

On Sept. 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy inspired the nation and awakened dreams of space exploration with a speech delivered at Rice University. Space Foundation’s Space Matters program discusses how that speech ignited a national mission, accelerated technology used in our daily lives and what’s next for the rapidly evolving space ecosystem. New data from The Space Report will be available to show the growth of space activity since that historic speech.

This episode will be available here 1 PM ET.


National Space Council Meeting

September 9, 2022

Chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris

Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing

September 13, 2022

Lt Gen Chance Saltzman Nomination Hearing

Space Leader Spotlight

Dr. Moriba Jah

This week’s space leader spotlight recognizes Dr. Moriba Jah, a world-renowned subject matter expert in astrodynamics-based Space Domain Awareness sciences and technologies. Dr. Jah is currently an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Mrs. Pearlie Dashiell Henderson Centennial Fellowship in Engineering. In addition to that, Dr. Jah serves as the Director of the Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST) group within the Oden Institute, as well as the Lead for the Space Security, Safety, and Sustainability Program at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law.

Dr. Jah received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, specializing in astrodynamics and statistical orbit determination. During his career, Dr. Jah has authored or co-authored 75+ publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been an invited lecturer and keynote speaker at 20+ national and international space events, workshops, and fora. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Jah spent part of his career working at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Specifically, he led the AFRL’s Advanced Sciences and Technology Research Institute for Astronautics (ASTRIA), which developed the first publicly available knowledge graph for space traffic monitoring called ASTRIAGraph, and served as a spacecraft navigator for JPL on multiple Mars missions.

As an expert voice in the space industry, Dr. Jah is a fellow at multiple organizations, including TED, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Astronautical Society (AAS), the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). He has also served on the US delegation to the United Nations Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS), is an elected Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and has testified to Congress on his work related to Space Situational Awareness and Space Traffic Management.

Reading Corner

Space News | It’s Time for Congress to Order the Nuclear Option

 This op-ed advocates for congressional investment into nuclear propulsion technology.

Written by Elizabeth Anderson, Amanda Nguyen, and Dana Kenow

Image credits to NPR and Science Direct