This Tuesday and Wednesday the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will be holding its annual Congressional Visits Day, where members meet with various congressional offices to discuss aerospace-related issues. Those topics are listed in its Key Issues document, and include “Facilitating Assured, Cost-Effective Human Access to Space” alongside others ranging from air traffic management to cybersecurity.
“Means for the U.S. to independently control placement of its citizens into space is at stake, including for continued utilization of the ISS, for expanded human activities in Earth orbit, and for revival of human space exploration,” the document notes in its section on human spaceflight. Its recommendations to policymakers, though, are rather general. “Make development of a sustainable means for transport of humans to/from Earth orbit a high priority,” they recommend, without indicating a preference for either the SLS and MPCV or commercially-operated systems. Another recommendation: “Base the development plan on a schedule consistent with a realizable budgetary authority.” Who would be opposed to that? (Actually developing such a schedule, though, is another story.)
Elsewhere in the document, the AIAA endorses NASA’s space technology development efforts, recommending that Congress provide “adequate resources for NASA to pursue the highest priority technologies in the space technology development roadmaps,” referring to the technology development plans recently reviewed by the National Research Council. AIAA also supports export control reform efforts, calling on Congress to “overhaul and amend the export control regime” that could remove many space-related items from the jurisdiction of ITAR.