Two organizations will be meeting with national and state legislators today in separate events to convince them of the importance of key space issues. In Washington, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will be holding its annual Congressional Visits Day, as members meet with congressional staff members and others to raise “awareness of the long-term value that science, engineering, and technology bring to America.”
AIAA has issued its list of key issues for this year’s event, which include several items related to space policy. AIAA calls for “ensuring a robust U.S. human spaceflight program” that includes “stable long-term funding” for the Space Launch System, Orion, and other systems needed for human missions, with the long-term goal of a human mission to Mars in the early 2030s. AIAA also calls on Congress and the White House to “state clear priorities for linking NASA Human Spaceflight activity to national goals related to foreign relations, economic growth, education, and technological achievement.” AIAA also seeks to raise awareness about the threat posed by orbital debris, including methods to track and catalog items as small as 1 centimeter (current systems cannot reliably track objects smaller than 10 centimeters) and to work on the technical and legal issues of removing space debris.
While AIAA members are working on Capitol Hill, representatives of Florida’s space industry will be meeting with state legislators in Tallahassee for “Florida Space Day.” Their agenda includes support for a $10-million budget for state space agency Space Florida and $1.5 million for space industry tourism marketing, as well as more general support for a commercial launch site proposed north of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and commercialization of excess KSC assets, including the Shuttle Landing Facility there, which Space Florida seeks to operate. The event will have a little space star power: former astronaut and KSC director Robert Crippen “will be making scheduled appearances throughout the event,” according to a press release.