What is happening in space politics 20.-26.  November 2022

What is happening in space politics 20.-26. November 2022

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of November 20-26, 2022 and any insight we can offer about them. The House and Senate are on recess this week.

During the week

It’s a relatively quiet week here in the US as people celebrate Thanksgiving. Congress is on recess, government agencies are closed on Thursday – Thanksgiving Day – and most organizations are forgoing their usual spate of webinars and conferences.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in space right now. Tomorrow (Monday) NASA’s Orion spacecraft will make the first step into deep retrograde orbit (DRO) around the moon after its successful launch last Wednesday as part of the Artemis I unmanned test flight.

Orion has 16 cameras, some on the ends of its solar panels, that send back great pictures of Earth and itself.

The Orion spacecraft takes a selfie with Earth in the background hours after launch on November 16, 2022. Photo credit: NASA
Another Orion selfie taken on November 18, 2022 en route to the moon. Photo credit: NASA

Tomorrow morning, Orion’s European Service Module, provided by ESA, will fire its main engine on the first of two trajectory corrections to bring it into DRO. NASA will provide live coverage beginning at 7:15 am ET. Combustion is scheduled for 7:44 a.m. ET and Orion will fly past the Moon at 7:57 a.m. ET at a distance of about 80 miles (128 kilometers). However, it will be behind the moon and out of communication with Earth from 7:25 to 7:59 ET when all of this happens. We have to wait a bit to know if everything is ok. Assuming this is the case, the second cremation is scheduled for Friday. We assumed NASA TV would also cover it, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET, but it’s not currently on NASA TV or NASA Live programming, so we’re not listing it here. Stay tuned.

Propulsion system for the Orion spacecraft, including ESA’s European Service Module. Photo credit: NASA

The International Space Station also remains a busy place as another cargo mission is due to launch on Tuesday. SpaceX’s 26th cargo mission was delayed by a day because SpaceX is working on an issue with a coolant leak in the cabin, but they said Friday they expect to be ready for launch at 3:54 p.m. ET on Nov. 22. If the weather plays along, that means. As of Friday, the forecast was only 30 percent favorable. Backup start days are November 26th and November 27th. If it launches on Tuesday, it will dock at 5:57 a.m. ET on Wednesday, just in time for Thanksgiving treats to be delivered. NASA and SpaceX will provide live coverage whenever this happens.

On Friday, Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin will conduct the second of four spacewalks as they continue to outfit the Nauka science module, which docked with the ISS last summer. In this case they will move a cooler from another module (Rassvet) to Nauka. NASA television coverage begins at 6:00 a.m. ET for the roughly 7-hour spacewalk.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher at a press conference on 20 October 2022. Screenshot.

There is also a lot going on in Europe this week. ESA’s ruling Council of Ministers, made up of the relevant ministers from the 22 member states, will meet in Paris from Tuesday to Wednesday to approve ESA’s programs and budget for the next three years. ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher is calling for a 25 percent budget increase to put ESA on course for more autonomy in space, an issue that has gained urgency with the collapse of most of its cooperation with Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine . Europe and Russia have been particularly closely tied to robotic Mars exploration (ExoMars) and launch vehicles, so ESA is developing a new way forward.

While ESA desires more autonomy overall, it remains a firm partner in high-profile NASA programs including ISS, Orion, the Gateway space station that will orbit the moon, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Mars Sample Return robotic mission to collect samples to be brought back to earth by the Perseverance rover. Among other things, NASA is hoping for a formal commitment from ESA to extend the collaboration on the ISS until 2030. Japan was the first of the ISS partners to officially make this commitment last week.

ESA TV will broadcast parts of the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as a media briefing on Wednesday, followed by the announcement of ESA’s new class of astronauts. The meeting will take place in Paris, which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. So keep that in mind if you decide to tune in.

There are a few other things happening here in the DC area this week. Tomorrow, the White House National Space Council will hold the second of its “Listening Sessions” to gather input from stakeholders on policy approaches to the provision of mission permits and the continued oversight of space activities not already regulated by the U.S. government. NASA’s Bhavya Lal, Associate Administrator for Technology, Policy and Strategy and Acting Chief Technologist, will address Tuesday’s Maryland Space Business Roundtable.

These and other events we know of Sunday morning are listed below. Check back throughout the week for more information we’ll hear about later, or changes to it.

And Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, 11/21

Tuesday, 11/22

Tuesday-Wednesday, 22nd-23rd November

Thursday, November 24th

Friday, 11/25

#happening #space #politics #November

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