International Affairs

Biweekly Washington D.C. Updates for the Week Ending on May 3, 2024

Written by: Molly Prochaska

This Week in Washington

  • Congress passed a resolution to designate today, May 3, as National Space Day.
  • Russia vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution on preventing nuclear weapons in outer space.
  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson testified before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on the FY2025 budget request for NASA. Read Space Foundation’s summary of the hearing here. 

United States Space Policy Updates

  • 53 governors from U.S. states, commonwealths, and territories expressed opposition to the Department of Defense’s Legislative Proposal 480, which seeks to transition Air National Guard Space Units to the U.S. Space Force (USSF) in a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. (NGA, April 22)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has introduced S. 4207, the Spectrum and National Security Act, which seeks to modernize federal spectrum strategy and restore Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction authority. (S. 4207, April 26)
  • Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2024. (Rep. Bill Posey, April 26)
  • The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) unanimously approved a recommendation to transfer the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) from the FAA to become a separate organization under the Secretary of Transportation. (COMSTAC, April 27)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Space Commerce (OSC) has opened a solicitation for up to 25 individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee on Excellence in Space (ACES), a Federal advisory committee. (Federal Register, April 29)
  • Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has announced Liz Young McNally as its new Deputy Director for Commercial Operations. (DIU, April 29)
  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has named John Bailey as director of the agency’s Stennis Space Center, effective immediately. (NASA, April 29).
  • Congress agreed to a resolution to designate Friday, May 3, 2024, as National Space Day. (S.Res.665, April 30). 
  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson testified before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee (HSST) on the FY2025 budget request for NASA. Read Space Foundation’s summary of the hearing here. (HSST, April 30)
  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense (HAC-D) held a hearing on the FY2025 budget request of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Space Force (USSF). (HAC, April 30)
  • HSST Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) expressed concerns regarding the delayed release of the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) five-year Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan for 2023-2028, in a letter to Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Director of the White House OSTP. (HSST, May 1)
  • The House Armed Services (HASC) Subcommittee on Strategic Force held a hearing on the FY2025 budget request for national security space programs. (HASC, May 1)

International Space Policy Updates

  • Construction has commenced on an unidentified installation at the Sohae Satellite Launching Center, North Korea’s primary space launch complex. (NK News, April 22)
  • The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has disbanded its Strategic Support Force (SSF), restructuring the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into three arms: the (1) Information Support Force, the (2) Cyberspace Force, and the (3) Aerospace Force. The Aerospace Force will now include the SSF’s Space Systems Department, which is responsible for managing space operations and launches. (DefenseNews, April 23)
  • South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has appointed Yoon Young-bin as the first chief of the Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA). Yoon, currently an aerospace engineering professor at Seoul National University, is scheduled to assume his role at KASA on May 27. (Yonhap News Agency, April 24).
  • Officials from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) have confirmed that the Tiangong Space Station sustained damage from a debris strike, resulting in a partial loss of power supply. (, April 24)
  • The Egyptian Space Agency (EgSA) and Italian Space Agency (ASI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen collaboration in areas including space science and research, technology, earth observation, training initiatives, and the establishment of a joint steering committee, among other initiatives. (Egyptian Space Agency, April 23)
  • Nicaragua has signed on to the PRC-led International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) program. (SpaceNews, April 25)
  • Russia has vetoed a United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution on preventing nuclear weapons in outer space. (U.S. Mission to the UN, April 24)
  • Representatives from the Bahraini National Space Science Agency (NSSA) and the Turkish Space Agency held a meeting to discuss joint initiatives in space infrastructure, technology transfer, and joint training programs. (LinkedIn, April 28)
  • The Artemis Accords signatories are scheduled to meet in Montreal, Canada, this month to discuss best practices and guidelines for responsible and sustainable space exploration, as a follow-on to the 2023 gathering in Poland. (Payload, May 1)

Space Industry Updates

  • L3Harris plans to reduce its workforce by 5% in 2024 as a cost-saving measure. (Reuters, April 23)
  • RTX will transition away from competing as a prime contractor for space contracts, opting instead to focus on supplying components to other companies. (DefenseOne, April 23)
  • True Anomaly has laid off 30 employees, approximately a quarter of its workforce, citing a need to streamline operations and eliminate duplicative roles. (SpaceNews, April 25)
  • Bayanat and Yahsat shareholders have approved a merger between the two companies to create SPACE42. (Yahsat, April 25)
  • Secure World Foundation (SWF) has announced the promotions of Krystal Azelton to the Senior Director of Program Planning and Ian Christensen to Senior Director of Private Sector Programs. (SWF, April 26).
  • SES has announced an agreement to acquire Intelsat for $3.1 Billion. (SES, April 30)
  • Slingshot Aerospace has published its report on the State of Satellite Deployments and Orbital Operations for 2023. (Slingshot Aerospace, April 30)
  • Millennium Space Systems was awarded a $414 million contract from the Space Development Agency (SDA) to develop hypersonic missile tracking satellites for the Fire-control On Orbit-support-to-the-war Fighter program. (Millennium Space Systems, April 30)
  • Astroscale has announced that the company will be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on June 5. (Astroscale, May 1)

Space Leader Spotlight

John W. Bailey, Jr.

This week’s space leader is John W. Bailey, Jr., the Director of the NASA Stennis Space Center. Mr. Bailey was appointed Director this week after serving as the Acting Director since January 2024. He previously served as Deputy Director and Associate Director at NASA Stennis.

Mr. Bailey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of South Alabama in 1988. Shortly after earning his degree, he began his career as a communications engineer in the U.S. Air Force (USAF), eventually overseeing electronic communications testing globally. While in the USAF, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Alabama. Mr. Bailey joined NASA in 1999, serving in various leadership positions within the agency. In 2015, he was selected as Deputy Director of the NASA Stennis Engineering and Test Directorate, later advancing to become its Director the same year. In 2023, Mr. Bailey was honored with a Presidential Meritorious Award alongside thirteen other NASA employees.

We extend our congratulations to Mr. Bailey on his new appointment. We anticipate that his decades of leadership experience and dedication to the Stennis Space Center will be invaluable to the Stennis team in their critical missions.

Reading Corner

DIU  | The Defense Innovation Unit FY2023 Annual Report

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has released its FY2023 Annual Report, highlighting significant developments such as the Secretary of Defense’s decision to restructure DIU as a direct report and introducing the “DIU 3.0” plan. The report also outlines DIU’s portfolio projects, including areas such as AI & Machine Learning, Cyber & Telecommunications, and Space.