Shutdown effects percolate through the space community

As the federal government shutdown enters its second week, the focus of the space-related impacts of the lapse in appropriations has been on NASA, who was forced to furlough about 97 percent of its employees and, temporarily, suspended preparations for the time-sensitive launch of the MAVEN Mars orbiter. Those furloughs have forced NASA to maintain [...]

Code of conduct and other space issues in the defense authorization bill

Earlier this week President Obama formally signed into law the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization act. This means that the satellite export control reform provisions included in the bill are now law, much to the relief of the satellite industry and other proponents of reform. However, it was not the only—or even, necessarily, the most [...]

Space policy issues for the next four years

On Monday, a panel of experts discussed the space policy issues that will be at the forefront of the Obama Administration’s second term at an event organized by the Secure World Foundation. There are, as one might expect, no shortage of challenges facing NASA, the White House, Congress, and other players in space policy, from [...]

Amendments to defense authorization bill cover export control and NASA policy

The Senate is debating this week S. 3254, its version of the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization bill, including handling a mountain of proposed amendments to the bill: more than 360 as of this writing. A couple have space policy implications, as Space News reported yesterday. One amendment deals with export control, while the other [...]

Defense Department quietly releases a new space policy

The Defense Department, with very little fanfare, issued a new space policy last month. The memo about the space policy, dated October 18, is signed by deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter. The memo, though, has received little coverage beyond an article Wednesday by the American Forces Press Service, including no formal press releases or [...]

Members of Congress express concern about EELV new entrants

Members of Congressional delegations from Alabama and Colorado have written to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about their concerns regarding potential competition for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) missions, Space News reported this week. Those launches are currently performed by the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 vehicles from United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture [...]

Export control, spaceport measures added to defense authorization bill

Given how heated a topic like export control reform can be, yesterday was almost an anticlimax. At the beginning of debate on HR 4310, the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2013, the House approved by voice vote a group of amendements deemed sufficiently non-controversial that they could be enacted without individual debate on each. [...]

House and White House at odds over code of conduct language in defense bill

The House of Representatives is debating today HR 4310, the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization act. The legislation covers a very wide of issues, many of which attracted the attention of the White House in its Statement of Administration Policy (SAP), which stated that if the bill passes as currently written, senior advisors will recommend [...]

Next steps in export control

Last month the Defense Department released the final version of the so-called “Section 1248″ report describing the national security implications of moving satellites and related components off the US Munitions List (USML) and thus out of the restrictive jurisdiction of ITAR. The report found that most items can, in fact, be moved off the USML [...]

Proposed imagery cuts may trigger industry consolidation

On Friday commercial remote sensing company GeoEye surprised many in the space field when it announced an unsolicited offer to acquire its chief rival, DigitalGlobe. GeoEye is offering $17 per share in cash and stock, valuing DigitalGlobe at $792 million, a 26% premium compared to DigitalGlobe’s stock price at the close of trade Thursday. (DigitalGlobe [...]