International Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Updates for the Week Ending November 10, 2022

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington, midterm election results returned slowly, with leadership of the 118th Congress still in the air, NASA’s Artemis 1 launch slipped from November 14th to November 16th, the UN First Committee endorsed the US resolution to ban direct-ascent ASAT weapons testing, and China launched its final space station module.

The 38th Space Symposium

Space Symposium is the premier assembly for the global space ecosystem, hosted by Space Foundation since 1984. The live event is widely attended by commercial and government leaders, young professionals, entrepreneurs, and educators in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Registration is now open for the 38th Space Symposium, which will be held April 17-20, 2023, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The event will include in-person and virtual attendance offerings.

The annual event with over 11,000 attendees will convene leaders from around the world representing government, industry, military, intelligence, research, and investment communities. As one of the largest and most notable gatherings of members of the global space community, Space Symposium brings all these diverse interests together to inform, engage, and connect with one another.

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The Navy Strategic Systems Programs (NSS) and Army Hypersonic Project Office (AHPO) successfully conducted a hypersonic flight campaign at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (US Navy, October 26)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System 2 (JPSS-2) launch was delayed to November 9 (NASA, October 29)
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) restored plans for Artemis 4 to make a lunar landing, months after announcing the launch would involve the delivery of a Gateway module (Space News, October 30)
  • General Chance Saltzman assumed command of the United States Space Force (Defense News, November 2)
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Rosenworcel proposed a separate Space Bureau and Bureau of International Affairs (FCC, November 3)
  • The United Nations First Committee endorsed the U.S. resolution to ban direct-ascent ASAT weapon testing (Breaking Defense, November 3)
  • The Departments of Commerce and Defense are targeting December to launch a joint Space Situational Awareness program (Breaking Defense, November 3)
  • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) will soon be releasing a request for proposals to acquire commercial hyperspectral satellite data (Via Satellite, November 3)
  • An independent review of NASA’s Psyche launch delay revealed institutional issues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, noting an unprecedented workload and resources stretched thin (NASA, November 4)
  • NASA’s Artemis 1 launch has been delayed to November 16 (NASA, November 8)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The Algerian Space Agency (ASAL) and Félix Houphouët-Boigny University of Côte d’Ivoire signed an agreement to facilitate space-related scientific research and higher education (Africa News, October 14)
  • Australia became the seventh country to join the US memorandum pledging not to conduct destructive direct-ascent anti satellite tests (Space Policy Online, October 29)
  • Russia threatened that commercial satellites used to support Ukraine could be legitimate targets for attack, the White House countered that any attack on U.S. infrastructure will be met with a response (Space Policy Online, October 29)
  • The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) installed a solar panel park at its satellite station facility in Santiago, Chile, the first of several planned at SSC’s facilities around the world (SSC, October 31)
  • China launched its third and final space station module (Mengtian), completing construction of the Tiangong-3 station (Space Policy Online, October 31)
  • The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) launched a new 24-hour South Africa Space Weather Centre at Hermanus in the Western Cape (Africa News, November 3)
  • China’s Long March-5B rocket stage that deployed the Mengtian space station module into orbit made an uncontrolled reentry on November 4, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson chastised China for its repeated dangerous behavior in space (Space Policy Online, November 4)
  • Zimbabwe’s first satellite, ZimSat-1, reached the ISS, where it will be launched into orbit (IOL, November 6)
  • The European Space Agency’s (ESA) 22 member states will meet in Paris, France on November 22-23, for the Ministerial Council to decide the agency’s programs and budget for the next three years (Space Policy Online, November 9)
  • The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) confirmed that China has scrapped plans for an expendable super heavy-lift launcher and will instead design a heavy-lift launcher with a reusable first stage (Space News, November 9)

Space Industry Updates

  • Boeing reported an additional $195 million charge for the CST-100 Starliner commercial crew program, bringing the total program losses to nearly $900 million (SEC, October 19)
  • The launch of the first crewed mission for the Polaris Program was delayed to no earlier than March 2023 (Space News, October 25)
  • Leonardo DRS confirmed that it expects to be traded on the NASDAQ market by the beginning of December (Breaking Defense, October 31)
  • Satellite designer and manufacturer Terran Orbital Corp. announced that it received a $100 million investment from Lockheed Martin to accelerate and expand its manufacturing capabilities (Via Satellite, October 31)
  • SpaceX successfully deployed a payload carrying two spacecrafts for the U.S. Space Force on its Falcon Heavy rocket (Kennedy Space Center, November 1)
  • Virgin Galactic reached agreement with Bell Textron Inc. and Qarbon Aerospace to manufacture key subassemblies for the company’s new Delta class spaceships (Virgin Galactic, November 2)
  • Maxar Technologies acquired Puerto Rico-based Wovenware, an AI and software development company, to strengthen its machine learning and 3D data production capabilities (Maxar Techologies, November 3)
  • Inmarsat selected Rocket Lab to develop and manufacture an L-band radio for NASA’s Communications Services Project (Inmarsat, November 3)
  • Rocket Lab successfully launched a science payload for the Swedish National Space Agency on its Electron rocket, but was unable to attempt the planned mid-air recovery of the rocket (Rocket Lab, November 4)
  • Virgin Galactic announced that its second suborbital spaceplane, VSS Imagine, will not enter commercial service in 2023, as scheduled (Space News, November 4)
  • Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft carrying cargo to the ISS for NASA failed to deploy one of its solar arrays, NASA is assessing whether it is safe for the spacecraft to approach the ISS (Space News, November 7)
  • Astra disclosed that it is laying off 16% of its employees and reducing investment on its space services business line to focus on its spacecraft propulsion and launch vehicle business lines (Astra, November 8)

Space Leader Spotlight

Major General Shawn N. Bratton

This week’s spotlight leader is Space Force’s Commander of Space Training and Readiness Program, Major General Shawn N. Bratton. Maj Gen Bratton is the first Commander of STARCOM and is responsible for overseeing and implementing the training, testing, and education activities of the USSF and more than 6,000 Guardians for competition and conflict in the space domain. Prior to his current assignment, Maj Gen Bratton served as the Space Training and Readiness Task Force Lead.

His list of accomplishments makes him more than suited to be the first person to take on this role in STARCOM. Bratton has an impressive list of educational qualifications, ranging from a Master’s Certificate in Homeland Security Studies to a Master’s degree in National Security Studies. He also served as the Deputy Director of Operations for USSPACECOM. Within his time in the military, Maj Gen Bratton also served as an enlisted member of the 107th Air Control Squadron, in addition to numerous operational and staff officer positions. Notably, over the years he has been awarded with the Defense Superior Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with four devices, a Bronze Star and more.

In an interview with World Teleport, Maj Gen Bratton describes his priorities as Commander, adopting priorities laid out by General Raymond, stating that the Space Force should have an independent Professional Military Education. He also wants to focus on building out the National Space Test and Training Complex, which is an issue he describes as a big technical challenge. Maj Gen Bratton will certainly use his background as a high school teacher and extensive military training and education to determine the best way to build out new training and testing programs in an area that is so vast and unmapped.

Reading Corner | NASA astronaut votes from space bunk bed for Election Day 2022

NASA astronaut Josh Cassada shared pictures from his makeshift voting booth aboard the International Space Station.