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December 21, 2014

Posts in "Space"

December 15, 2014

Changes in Store for Republican Rosters of Senate Commerce and Judiciary Panels

It looks like changes on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will happening on the Republican side of the panel as well next Congress.

On Monday, Senate Republicans announced committee assignments for the next Congress that starts in January, which the Republican Conference and the Senate will need to give formal approval.

The Senate Commerce panel’s Republican roster will add Jerry Moran of Kansas as well as the following new senators: Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana. Dan Coats of Indiana, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, are leaving the panel.

The Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction includes telecom and space issues.

A few changes are set for the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary panel as well, which has jurisdiction over intellectual property and some tech issues. David Vitter, R-La., will be added to the panel as well as new lawmakers David Perdue of Georgia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. It looks like the Republicans who are currently on the panel will stay on the committee.

December 11, 2014

Commercial Space Accidents: What Some Experts Have to Say

Experts say that two accidents in the commercial spaceflight industry this year won’t have much effect on its increasing expansion, CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta reports.

Within the course of a week this past fall, an Orbital Sciences rocket that was on its way to take cargo to the International Space Station exploded shortly after lift-off and Virgin Galactic’s suborbital craft known as SpaceShipTwo, which is intended for space tourism,  had a deadly accident during a test flight.

Margetta writes in this Roll Call Policy Focus that so far, lawmakers haven’t “jumped on the incidents as a reason to clamp down on the industry”:

After the Orbital Sciences explosion, Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said, “space flight is inherently risky,” but commercial space ventures “will ultimately be successful.” He expressed similar thoughts on the Virgin Galactic accident.

“Experts are hoping other lawmakers take similarly deliberative approaches; some have expressed frustration about the way the recent accidents have been reported,” Margetta writes.

He goes on to report that Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University, and “some others who study space travel say though the timing was unfortunate, comparing the two accidents is unfair and possibly misleading.”

You can find the rest of the story here.

December 8, 2014

The Week Ahead: Human Space Flight, the Sharing Economy and Surveillance

It could be the last week of the 113th Congress (maybe?) and with the December holidays fast approaching, it promises to be a packed with congressional hearings on intellectual property nominees, drones and human space flight and events on issues from surveillance to the sharing economy.


The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus hosts a panel discussion on the sharing economy.

The Direct Marketing Association and Venable LLP hold an event titled the “The Dynamic State of Data: A Policy Briefing for the Data-Driven Marketing Community.”

The Personal Connected Health Alliance’s mHealth Summit on mobile and connected health continues into the week.


The Atlantic holds a panel event on science, technology, education and math careers.

National Consumers League holds a panel discussion on legislation on data security standards.


The American Enterprise Institute holds an event on surveillance, specifically on “legal intercept.”

The Brookings Institution holds an event on mobile technologies and developing economies.

BSA | The Software Alliance holds a panel discussion on data.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association and The American Antitrust Institute hold an event on patent assertion entities.

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s heavy rocket and and crew vehicle.

A House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee holds a hearing on drones.

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of Michelle K. Lee, to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Daniel H. Marti, to be the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator.


The Federal Communications Commission holds its December open meeting.


The Cato Institute holds a day-long surveillance conference.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a panel discussion on the Internet of Things.

December 5, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Sports Blackouts, Intellectual Property Panel Chairman, Orion Test Flight

A Senate hearing on sports blackouts, the announcement of the next chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee with jurisdiction over intellectual property issues and NASA’s Orion crew capsule’s first flight into space was among the news this week.

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on sports blackouts and CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta reported (subscription) that senators and the National Football League exchanged threats over the issue.
  • A coalition of groups and companies, called the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition, opposing the Comcast Time-Warner merger was announced. The coalition includes satellite television provider Dish Network, Public Knowledge, Writers Guild of America, West, and NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, and others.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., announced Darrell Issa, R-Calif., as chairman of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee.
  • NASA’s Orion crew vehicle had its test flight which the Wall Street Journal described as “virtually flawless.” Technocrat had a preview here.
  • The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Pennsylvania resident Anthony Elonis, who was convicted in 2010 of a felony for making violent comments on Facebook and Technocrat had a roundup here.
  • Technocrat reported that Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.,  said there was “such potential for conflicting regulatory directives” from agencies when it comes to the Internet of Things and that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee had a responsibility to “really look at the big picture and ensure that agencies aren’t conflicting with each other, that what is being done makes sense and… allows for future innovation that we can’t even anticipate right now.”

December 3, 2014

Tomorrow: NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Scheduled For First Test Flight

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A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying NASA’s Orion crew vehicle as it’s prepared for launch on Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

While you’re having your morning coffee Thursday here on Earth, NASA’s Orion crew vehicle is scheduled to launch into space in its first test flight from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

While the capsule is intended to ultimately carry astronauts into space, the test flight won’t have any people on board. According to NASA, the test flight will take about four-and-a-half hours, orbit Earth twice, reach an altitude of roughly 3,600 miles and land in the Pacific Ocean.

Orion is intended to ultimately launch from NASA’s own heavy rocket called the Space Launch System, but for this test flight, it’ll launch from a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.

A NASA fact sheet says the flight will test systems like “heat shield performance, separation events, avionics and software performance, attitude control and guidance, parachute deployment and recovery operations.”

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said on The Kojo Nnamdi Show on Wednesday that in the long-term context, the goal was to demonstrate a continuance on what’s been a “40 year journey to try to get humans to Mars.”

You can watch the live stream of the test flight tomorrow here.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 2:16 p.m.

December 1, 2014

The Week Ahead: Cybercrime, Telecommunications Law and the Internet of Things

I hope you had your rest and relaxation over the Thanksgiving holiday because things are kicking into gear again, with events on cybercrime, telecommunications law and the Internet of Things.


The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies holds an event on patent regulation and policy.

New America hosts talk with Shane Harris, author of “@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex.”

New York University’s Information Law Institute and Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy center host an event titled “Building Privacy Into Data-Driven Education.”

The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic  Public Policy Studies holds its U.S. Telecoms Symposium.

The Planetary Society holds an event on the future of solar system exploration.


The Bipartisan Policy Center holds an event on health information technology.

The Cato Institute hosts a talk with Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor emeritus at the University of Buckingham, on public funding of science and research.

The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

The Information Technology Industry Council and Intel host an event on technology, policy and emerging health crises.


Georgetown University Law Center and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division sponsor an event titled “Cybercrime 2020: The Future of Online Crime and Investigations.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s Center for Data Innovation holds an event on the Internet of Things.

Republic 3.0 hosts a panel discussion on progressives and a rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

November 20, 2014

Culberson to be Next House C-J-S ‘Cardinal’

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House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., left, and Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, at a markup in the Rayburn Building on April 9. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Republican John Culberson is slated to become the next chairman of the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee and on Thursday he signaled that he’ll be a booster for NASA and the National Science Foundation.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., announced on Thursday the 12 House Appropriations subcommittee chairman (known as “cardinals”) approved by the House Republican Steering Committee.  Among them: Culberson for the panel that has jurisdiction over funding for NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Full story

November 3, 2014

The Week Ahead: Antitrust, Crypto-Currencies and Farming & Space Tech Transfer

Attention will be focused on the mid-term elections this week, but there are other events happening as well that cover issues including antitrust, crypto-currencies and farming and space tech transfer.

Full story

October 31, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Spacecraft Crashes & ECPA

Some highlights of the news this week relate to net neutrality, commercial spacecraft and data “throttling.” In case you missed it, Technocrat had a Q&A with the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Chris Calabrese on the details of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act as well as coverage of a report on tariffs and taxes different countries place on technology goods and services.

Full story

October 24, 2014

Who Might Replace Wolf on House C-J-S?

approps006 052411 445x291 Who Might Replace Wolf on House C J S?

A House Appropriations Committee markup. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

With Virginia Republican Frank R. Wolf retiring, the top seat on the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee is opening up next Congress.

Under that subcommittee’s jurisdiction: the spending bill that covers the Justice Department, the Commerce Department (including the U.S Patent and Trademark Office), NASA, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Whoever replaces Wolf would be in a position to influence not just the dollars, but also the policy of several science and tech-related agencies (for example, though limitation provisions in the bill that prohibit spending for specified activities).

Full story

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