International Affairs

Biweekly Washington, D.C. Updates for the Week Ending February 10, 2023

Written by: Elizabeth Anderson

This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington, the Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act passed the House, Roscosmos announced plans to deploy an orbital station by 2027, and the Federal Aviation Administration and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation hosted the 25th Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference.

Space Foundation Virtual Program

Space Matters

Space Foundation’s third season of “Space Matters” convenes well-known policy influencers for high-level conversations on emerging topics and trends within the global space economy. Join the Honorable Robert Walker, the Honorable Jim Bridenstine, and Ms. Carissa Christensen, as they discuss their predictions on future space exploration, policies, and space acquisition in 2023 and beyond.

Watch this month’s timely and important episode HERE.

United States Space Policy Updates

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce (OSC) published a request for information regarding which services the Traffic Coordination System for Space (TraCSS) program will provide free of charge (Office of Space Commerce, January 26)
  • Frank Calvelli, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, said the U.S. Space Force will prioritize supporting military operations on Earth rather than supporting cislunar operations with NASA (SpaceNews, January 26)
  • The Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act of 2023, H.R. 290, passed the House (, January 30)
  • NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor (, January 31)
  • NASA has reached full utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) (SpaceNews, January 31)
  • A Chinese high altitude surveillance balloon flew over the northern United States (Breaking Defense, February 2)
  • President Biden announced new appointees, Johnathan Caldwell of Lockheed Martin and Mark Dankberg of Viasat, to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) (The White House, February 3)
  • NASA announced that it was awaiting congressional approval for its proposed Moon to Mars Program Office (SpacePolicyOnline, February 7)
  • NASA stated that it is refining an architecture for the next stages of the Artemis mission in a bid to improve chances of mission success (Space News, February 7)
  • The Supreme Court of Georgia denied a request by Camden County to build a spaceport within its borders (Georgia Recorder, February 8)

International Space Policy Updates

  • The UAE and the Republic of Korea have signed several agreements as part of their “Special Strategic Partnership,” including a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that strengthens the nations’ ties in the realm of space exploration and industry (Gulf Business, January 16)
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned a Chinese small satellite manufacturer, Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute, for allegedly providing strategic satellite photos of Ukraine to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization (U.S. Department of the Treasury, January 26)
  • The African Space Agency has been inaugurated and declared open and operational (SpaceWatch, January 30)
  • The United States and India announced plans to increase cooperation in the civil space sector, including training an Indian astronaut at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and sending Indian payloads on American commercial lunar landers (The White House, January 31)
  • China is building new satellite ground stations at its Zhongshan research base in Antarctica (Reuters, February 2)
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has identified and corrected the error that caused the failure of its Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), clearing the way for the second launch expected in the first quarter of 2023 (ISRO, February 2)
  • Russia announced plans for an orbital station to be deployed in 2027 (TASS, February 6)
  • The U.S. intelligence community linked the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down on February 4th to a vast surveillance program run by the People’s Liberation Army (The Washington Post, February 7)
  • The Hague Institute for Global Justice released the Washington Compact on Norms of Behavior for Commercial Space Operations to encourage cooperation and collaboration amongst nations and corporations (SpacePolicyOnline, February 8)

Space Industry Updates

  • L3Harris has delivered the Navigation Technology Satellite-3 to the Air Force for testing in preparation for its late 2023 launch (AFRL, January 26)
  • The U.S. Air Force awarded a $2.3 billion contract to Boeing to produce 15 additional KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft (Boeing, January 30)
  • Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) operator Capella Space has announced a new business venture, Capella Federal, which will provide SAR satellite imagery to US defense agencies (Capella Space, January 31)
  • The Space Development Agency (SDA) released a solicitation draft requesting input from contractors looking to develop 72 new small satellites as part of its Tranche program (, January 31)
  • European startup the Exploration Company has raised 40 million euros to build a sustainable, reusable space capsule (LinkedIn, February 1)
  • Ovzon announced that the launch of its first satellite has been postponed for over 5 months and has selected SpaceX as the new launch provider to accommodate manufacturing delays (Ovzon, February 3)
  • US defense contractor CACI International announced that it would cooperate with the US Army to develop and test advanced payload technologies, space sensor applications, and resilient positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) devices (CACI, February 6)
  • Virgin Orbit Chief Executive Dan Hart said the company may have discovered the cause of their failed Jan. 9 launch (SpaceNews, February, 7)
  • Firefly Aerospace announced that it would launch its first mission for the US Space Force in May of 2023 (SpaceNews, February 7)
  • SpaceX successfully launched the Amazonas Nexus Satellite, a telecoms satellite built by Thales Athena Space, from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral (Thales, February 7)
  • Amazon received final approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy and operate a constellation of 3,236 satellites as part of Project Kuiper (FCC, February 8)

Space Leader Spotlight

Senator Kyrsten Sinema

This week’s space leader spotlight is Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Space and Science. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over national and civil space policy, and conducts oversight of governmental entities such as NASA, FAA, NIST, NSF, and the National Space Council. Prior to being elected to the Senate in 2019, she represented Arizonans in the U.S. House of Representatives, Arizona State Senate, and Arizona State House of Representatives.

Space is a key topic for the Arizona legislator. With Arizona’s universities fueling space innovation in the state and across the country, Arizona is fully poised to contribute to the expanding space industry. In this effort, Sen. Sinema has been a strong advocate for building a strong Science, Technology, Education, and Math (STEM) education pipeline to help expand America’s leadership in space and national security.

Sen. Sinema most recently chaired the Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation and previously chaired the former Subcommittee on Aviation and Space. In addition to her chairmanships, Sen. Sinema also played an integral role in the passage of the historic CHIPS and Science Act that included a NASA authorization provision and approved the 2030 extension of the International Space Station (ISS). A native Arizonan, Sen. Sinema earned her Master of Social Work, J.D., and Ph.D. in justice studies from Arizona State University. Sen. Sinema’s committee experience and commitment to working across the aisle places her in a good position to lead the Space and Science Subcommittee as it plans to take up key policy issues during the 118th Congress.

Reading Corner

Space News | Artificial intelligence aiding the space business across the board

Sandra Erwin details how artificial intelligence is being used to improve technology in the space industry.

Written by Elizabeth Anderson, Amanda Nguyen, Jake Sell, and Catherine Rodriguez

Image credits to Senator Sinema and True Anomaly