The space policy news cycle—such as it is—has been dominated in the last week by developments in the Republican presidential race, thanks to speeches and debate appearances by the major candidates. However, there are a few other things that have taken place during the last week worth mentioning:
The Obama Administration has delayed the release of its fiscal year 2013 budget proposal by a week. The budget was to be released on February 6, but instead will be released on February 13. Federal law officially requires the budget proposal to be released on the first Monday of February, but the administration has missed that date in previous releases. (Plus, presumably everyone will be talking on February 6 about the Super Bowl the previous night, or at least the commercials that aired during the big game…)
While Americans have been discussing the space policy positions of Republican candidates, Indians have been witness to an emerging controversy involving the former head of the nation’s space agency. Last Wednesday the Indian government formally barred former Indian Space Research Organisation head G Madhavan Nair and three other officials from any future government positions. The government cited their roles approving a deal between ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix, and a telecommunications company, Devas, in 2005, giving the company a chunk of S-band spectrum in violation of existing regulations. The government canceled the deal last year as part of its investigation. Nair has been fighting back against the ban, and on Monday he formally asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to revoke the ban and probe the government’s actions.
Satellite broadband company LightSquared continues its debate with the government officials about the potential interference the company’s proposed ground-based portion of its system would have with GPS signals. An interagency group concluded that there’s no way for LightSquared to operate with GPS without causing interference, a conclusion LightSquared disputes, as Aviation Week reports. Meanwhile, the company has filed an ethics complaint with NASA’s Office of the Inspector General, claiming that the vice chairman of the government’s National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board, Bradford Parkinson, has a conflict of interest with a GPS terminal manufacturer flighting the LightSquared system.
This weekend, the Northeast Junior State Congress Convention will take place in the Washington area, including a Model Congress. Interestingly, according to the press release announcing the event, the legislation students will be considering during the Model Congress includes “a bill to promote privatized human space exploration”.