WSJ editorial criticizes California tax break bill that benefits SpaceX

Earlier this month, the California Senate approved AB 777, legislation that would exempt space companies from paying taxes on certain property related to spaceflight, including an “orbital space facility, space propulsion system, space vehicle, launch vehicle, satellite, or space station of any kind,” as well as components of such systems.

The bill is slightly different [...]

Intel community willing to allow higher resolution commercial imagery

For the last few years, commercial satellite remote sensing company DigitalGlobe (and, before its merger with DigitalGlobe, GeoEye) has been lobbying the government to allow it to sell sharper satellite imagery that it’s currently allowed. DigitalGlobe is currently restricted to selling imagery with resolution no sharper than 0.5 meters per pixel, but has been pushing [...]

NASA suspends non-ISS cooperation with Russia

In a decision that is more symbolic than substantive, NASA confirmed late Wednesday that it is suspending cooperation with the Russian government, with the very large exception of operations of the International Space Station (ISS).

“Given Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with [...]

Fears of loss of access to the ISS fade despite ongoing crisis

A month ago, as the crisis over the Crimea ramped up, many people worried about the ramifications of Russia’s actions on operations of the International Space Station (ISS), particularly since NASA and the other partners rely on Russia for transporting crews to and from the outpost. However, those concerns have started to fade, in part [...]

A European wildcard for EELV competition

The debate on competition for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) class US government launches has focused on SpaceX’s challenge to incumbent United Launch Alliance (ULA). However, this week an executive with a European company expressed his desire to compete for such launches as well.

Speaking at the Satellite 2014 conference in Washington on Tuesday, Arianespace [...]

Canada releases space policy framework, but some want more details (and money)

On Friday, Canadian Industry Minister James Moore released a new space policy document, “Canada’s Space Policy Framework,” at an event in Ottawa. The document outlined, in broad terms, Canadian space policy in the form of a set of five core principles:

Canadian Interests First Positioning the Private Sector at the Forefront of Space Activities Progress [...]

Industry, FAA at odds over extension of “learning period” for commercial spaceflight safety regulations

When Congress passed the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (CSLAA) of 2004, one section of the bill restricted the FAA’s ability to promulgate regulations regarding the health and safety of spaceflight participants and crews of commercial spacecraft. While sometimes called a “moratorium” on regulations, it is more accurately a partial restriction: the law (51 USC [...]

Satellite export control final rule due out by early summer

Speakers at a panel on export control reform at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Tuesday said that the part of the US Munitions List (USML) that deals with satellites and related items, Category XV, is the next one to be finalized. Kevin Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export [...]

In astrophysics, uncertainty lingers after FY14 budget passed

At first glance, NASA’s astrophysics division got a pleasant surprise in the final fiscal year 2014 appropriations bill signed into law last month. The bill gives astrophysics $668 million, $26 million more than the $642 million originally requested by the administration. (The James Webb Space Telescope, funded as a separate line item in the budget, [...]

Upcoming: Canadian space policy rollout, House hearing on NASA property

Canada is expected to roll out a new national space policy later this week. The Canadian Press reports that Industry Minister James Moore, whose portfolio includes the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), will unveil the new policy on February 7 at 10 am in Ottawa. Neither Industry Canada nor CSA have formally announced plans to release [...]