International Affairs

Biweekly Washington D.C. Updates for the Week Ending on May 31, 2024

Written by: Molly Prochaska

This Week in Washington

  • Peru and Slovakia became the 41st and 42nd signatories of the Artemis Accords.
  • The House Armed Services Committee marked up and reported H.R. 8070, the FY25 NDAA, to the House floor.
  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson testified before the Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.

United States Space Policy Updates

  • Dr. Vipin Narang, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, assumed the role of Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy. (DOD, May 20)
  • Lt. Gen. Philip Garrant, Commander of Space Systems Command (SSC), announced plans for the USSF to restructure all missions into integrated units to enhance readiness, starting with missile warning and space domain awareness (SDA), followed by satellite communications and orbital warfare in the future. (Breaking Defense, May 21)
  • Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station have been officially designated as the permanent headquarters for Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM). (UPI, May 22)
  • The U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) released a Forecast to Industry, identifying 10 upcoming satellite contract opportunities expected to be awarded over the next 12 months, with a combined value potentially worth nearly $1.7 billion. (SpaceNews, May 22)
  • The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved its version of the FY25 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in a 57-1 vote. Notable provisions include requiring governors to approve any transfer of Air National Guard units to the USSF, granting the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration oversight of the Contractor Responsibility Watch List (CRWL), establishing the Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve (CASR) program, and requiring the National Academy of Sciences to study the establishment of the U.S. Cyber Force (HASC, May 22)
  • The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) approved subcommittee allocations for FY25 in a 30-22 vote, dividing a total of $1.61 trillion among the 12 appropriations bills. (HAC, May 23)
  • The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Space Bureau is soliciting further comments on proposed rule changes for mitigating orbital debris, focusing on collision risks with large space objects. The comment period closes on June 27. (Federal Register, May 28)
  • The Maryland Department of Commerce and NASA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on developing the state’s aerospace economy, focusing on areas surrounding Goddard’s Space Flight Center and Maryland’s Eastern Shore near NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. (NASA, May 29)
  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), released a white paper advocating for increased defense spending to support advanced technologies, including USSF capabilities, to counter China’s expanding military presence in space. (Sen. Wicker, May 29)

International Space Policy Updates

  • Mohammed Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Agency (SSA), announced that space tourism trials will be revealed within the next 60 days. (Arab News, May 20)
  • At the United Nations (UN) Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood announced that Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit, which the United States has assessed to be a counterspace weapon and placed it in the same orbit as a U.S. government satellite. (UN, May 20)
  • For the second time since April, the UN Security Council has failed to adopt a draft resolution aimed at preventing an arms race in outer space. (UN, May 20)
  • At the 11th meeting of the European Union (EU)/European Space Agency (ESA) Space Council, twelve countries – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, signed onto the Zero Debris Charter. (ESA, May 22)
  • At the EU/ESA Space Council meeting, a joint resolution entitled ‘Resolution on Strengthening Europe’s Competitiveness through Space’ was adopted. (ESA, May 23)
  • The Dominican Republic has initiated a feasibility study to examine the development of a spaceport. (LinkedIn, May 23)
  • The leaders of space agencies from the BRICS countries convened in Moscow to discuss multilateral cooperation in the space industry. (TV Brics, May 23)
  • The Korea AeroSpace Administration (KASA) was formally launched and is tasked with landing spacecraft on the Moon and Mars by 2032 and 2045, respectively. (, May 27)
  • Scotland’s SaxaVord Spaceport, Europe’s first vertical launch spaceport, held its official opening. (X, May 29)
  • Peruand Slovakia have joined the Artemis Accords as the 41st and 42nd signatories. (NASA 1 & NASA 2, May 30)
  • Slovenia has completed negotiations to join ESA and is set to sign the accession agreement on June 18. (STA, May 30)

Space Industry Updates

  • Following a 21-month hiatus, Blue Origin conducted its seventh human spaceflight mission aboard the New Shepard rocket. (Blue Origin, May 19)
  • The Ariane 6 Launcher Task Force announced that the first launch attempt of Ariane 6 is planned for the first two weeks of July 2024, with the tentative launch date to be revealed at the ILA Airshow in Berlin. (ArianeSpace, May 21)
  • Ursa Major hired Abbey Overland, formerly with Palantir Technologies, as Senior Vice President for Washington Operations. (LinkedIn, May 22)
  • The USSF selected six companies – Nou Systems, ExoAnalytic Solutions, TMC Design, HII Mission Technologies, Parsons Government Services, and Lockheed Martin – to develop proposals for an electromagnetic warfare (EW) training range, awarding each six-month contracts for concept development. (SpaceNews, May 22)
  • ESA has signed contracts with The Exploration Company and Thales Alenia Space to provide commercial space cargo return services. (ESA, May 22)
  • Lockheed Martin has announced the election of Dr. Heather Wilson, former Secretary of the Air Force, to its board of directors. (Lockheed Martin, May 22)
  • Jennifer Manner, formerly Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at EchoStar Corporation, is joining the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as Senior Advisor for Space and Satellite Policy. (LinkedIn, May 23)
  • SpaceX has announced it is targeting June 5 for the fourth flight test of Starship, pending regulatory approval. (X, May 24)
  • Terran Orbital has announced the appointment of Peter Krauss as Chief Operating Officer (COO), Adarsh Parekh as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Mathieu Riffel as Chief Accounting Officer (CAO). (Terran Orbital, May 29)
  • MDA Space has joined Starlab Space LLC as a strategic partner and equity owner, providing a full range of external robotics, robotics interfaces and robotic mission operations to the Starlab commercial space station. (MDA, May 29)
  • Boeing and NASA have received the ‘go’ to launch the Starliner crew flight test on Saturday, June 1. (Boeing, May 29)

Space Leader Spotlight

Congressman Bill Posey

This week’s Space Leader is Congressman Bill Posey, a steadfast advocate for space exploration throughout his tenure in Congress. Representing Florida’s Space Coast since 2013, and previously serving Florida’s 15th District from 2009 to 2013, Rep. Posey has been a leading voice on space issues.

As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and its Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Rep. Posey has played a crucial role in shaping space policy and promoting initiatives to advance America’s space program. In addition to his involvement in space-related matters, Rep. Posey serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He also holds the position of Co-Chair for both the House NASA Caucus and the Florida Port Caucus, and is a member of the House Space Force Caucus and STEM Education Caucus.

Rep. Posey’s involvement in space exploration traces back to his early career at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), where he worked until the end of the Apollo Program. Following his time at KSC, he founded Posey & Co. Realtors. As a realtor, Rep. Posey served as Director of the Florida Association of Realtors and President of the Space Coast Association of Realtors. Additionally, he served as a member of the Rockledge City Council for a decade before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992, and subsequently to the Florida Senate in 2000, where he served until 2008.

Throughout his career, Rep. Posey has remained committed to advancing America’s space program and ensuring the nation’s leadership in space exploration. His recent decision not to seek reelection marks the end of a chapter in his decades-long commitment to public service. Congressman Posey’s unwavering commitment has been instrumental in driving the growth of the U.S. space industry, shaping it into the thriving sector it is today.

Reading Corner

USA Today | ‘Planet parade’ 2024: How to view the astronomical event

In the early hours of June 3, a rare celestial event known as a “planet parade” will occur, as six planets—Jupiter, Mercury, Uranus, Mars, Neptune, and Saturn— will align briefly in the sky as they travel past Earth. Weather permitting, observers in the Northern Hemisphere will have the opportunity to view Mars and Saturn with the naked eye, while Uranus and Neptune will only be visible with the help of a telescope. Mercury and Jupiter, however, will be positioned too close to the horizon, making them invisible against the backdrop of the rising sun.