Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the past three weeks, June 10-30, 2024 including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 30-July 13, 2024

June 30, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the next two weeks, June 30-July 13, 2024, and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are in recess this week except for pro forma sessions, returning the week of July 8.

Date for Boeing Starliner CFT Return Still Up in the Air

June 28, 2024. Today NASA and Boeing pushed back on the narrative that the Starliner crew is stranded in space, but declined to provide a date for when they will return. Starliner is ready to bring NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams back home anytime if there is an emergency, but otherwise they want to collect more data before deciding on a date.  They also are holding off on deciding when to try again to accomplish a spacewalk after two attempts this month were scrubbed.

House Passes FY2025 Defense Appropriations Bill on Largely Partisan Lines

June 28, 2024. The House passed the FY2025 Defense Appropriations bill today on largely partisan lines, primarily because of social policy provisions that were included. The bill cuts almost $1 billion from the $29.6 billion requested by the Biden Administration for the U.S. Space Force as the House continues to prioritize reductions in federal spending.

NASA Picks SpaceX to Build ISS Deorbit Vehicle

June 27, 2024. NASA just awarded a contract to SpaceX to build a vehicle to deorbit the International Space Station at the end of its lifetime, currently planned for 2030. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has been urging Congress to fund such a vehicle for more than a year, but without success so far. With 2030 just six years away, time is getting short.

ULA Changes Plans for Vulcan’s Second Certification Mission

June 26, 2024. The United Launch Alliance will not wait for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spacecraft to be ready before launching the second certification mission of its new Vulcan rocket. Instead it will launch a mass simulator and use the “Cert-2” flight to test the capabilities of the new Centaur V upper stage. Cert-2 must be successfully accomplished before Vulcan can be used for national security space launches, two of which need to lift off before the end of the year.

New NOAA Weather Satellite on Its Way to GEO

June 25, 2024. A new NOAA weather satellite lifted off from Kennedy Space Center this evening enroute to geostationary orbit above the equator. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U, or GOES-U, is the fourth and last in a series of advanced meteorological satellites that provide greatly improved data over their predecessors. This one has an added feature — a coronagraph to help monitor the Sun and warn of solar storms.

China’s Chang’e-6 Returns Samples from Lunar Farside

June 25, 2024. China’s Chang’e-6 sample return canister landed in Inner Mongolia today, bringing back samples from the far side of the Moon for the first time in history. The farside always faces away from Earth and nothing was known about it until the Space Age began in 1957 and Soviet and American spacecraft began sending back grainy images. Those images improved considerably over the decades and show that it’s very different from the nearside. Scientists are eager to learn why and now will be able to study actual samples.

House Appropriators Focus Cuts on Science, STEM

June 25, 2024. The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee that funds NASA released its proposals for FY2025 this morning, a day prior to when it will formally mark up the bill. Only top-line numbers are available now, but the news is not good for NASA’s science and STEM programs. NASA’s science portfolio is already coping with significant cuts in FY2024 compared to what it expected and once again bears the brunt for FY2025.

Another Spacewalk Scrub for NASA Astronauts

June 24, 2024. For the second time in a row, NASA had to scrub a spacewalk today.  In this case, water began leaking from NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson’s spacesuit as she and Mike Barratt were about to step out of the International Space Station’s Quest airlock into space. They were still in the airlock and could close the hatch and reattach to ISS systems relatively quickly. NASA insists they were not in danger because of the leak.

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 23-29, 2024

June 23, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 23-29, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The House is in session this week. The Senate is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

Starliner Return Delayed Yet Again

June 21, 2024.  Late today NASA said it is again delaying the return of the Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test. Unlike the earlier schedule changes, no new date was announced. NASA and Boeing said only they are “adjusting” the return date until after two spacewalks on the International Space Station are completed on July 2. That will allow time for further reviews of Starliner’s propulsion system.

Turner Doubles Down on Russian Nuclear ASAT Threat

June 21, 2024. In a blistering speech, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee criticized the Biden Administration’s refusal to declassify more information about Russia’s plans to place a nuclear weapon in orbit. Calling the moment such a satellite is placed in orbit “Day Zero” and the end of the Space Age because no one could ever again count on their satellites functioning, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) insisted Biden do more to ensure that Russia abides by the 1967 U.N. Outer Space Treaty that bans nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction from orbit.

Tabletop Exercise Illuminates Gaps in Responding to Theoretical Asteroid Threats

June 20, 2024.  NASA and other U.S. and international agencies participated in a tabletop exercise in April to work through how they might effectively respond to a potential asteroid threat. This fifth planetary defense tabletop exercise, or TTX-5, postulated a threat 14 years from now and discovered quite a few gaps. International participation was a key aspect of TTX-5 and figuring out the process for making decisions both domestically and internationally is one of them.

Another New Starliner Landing Date, Updated Spacewalk Plans

June 18, 2024. Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are getting another four days on the International Space Station. Their return to Earth and the end of Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test has been reset for June 26 as Boeing and NASA continue to perform spacecraft tests that can only be done on-orbit. NASA also has rearranged the ISS spacewalk schedule after scrubbing a planned outing at the last minute a few days ago.

What’s Happening in Space Policy June 16-22, 2024

June 16, 2024. Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of June 16-22, 2024 and any insight we can offer about them. The Senate is in session this week, but the House is in recess except for pro forma sessions.

Starliner Will Stay an Extra Few Days at ISS for Additional Tests

June 15, 2024. NASA and Boeing have decided to keep the Starliner capsule docked to the International Space Station a few days longer than planned. The first landing opportunity was June 14, but NASA pushed that first to June 18 and now to June 22. Weather or other considerations could change it again. The extra time will be used to conduct additional tests of Starliner’s propulsion system and other aspects of the new spacecraft’s systems.

NASA Scrubs Spacewalk

June 13, 2024. A spacewalk at the International Space Station this morning was scrubbed because of a “spacesuit discomfort” issue. The two NASA astronauts, Tracy Dyson and Matt Dominick, were scheduled to conduct a 6.5 hour spacewalk or Extravehicular Activity (EVA), the first of three planned over the next three weeks. This evening NASA posted a new spacewalk schedule, but refused to say anything more about the reason, citing the “crew member’s personal privacy.”

Weekly Roundup for SpacePolicyOnlne.com: June 3-9, 2024

June 10, 2024. Here are links to all the articles published on SpacePolicyOnline.com over the last week, June 3-9, 2024 including our “What’s Happening in Space Policy” for this coming week. Click on each title to read the entire article.

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