Happy Tuesday. Welcome to the 104 of you who have come aboard since last week. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of today’s newsletter for an invite to Payload’s first DC event on June 6. You won’t want to miss it.
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Space Norms to STEM to Climate Change
National Space Council Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh at the panel’s Users’ Advisory Group Meeting in February. Image: NASA
Setting norms of behavior in space and building a future space workforce are at the top of the National Space Council’s list of priorities for the remainder of this year, the group’s executive secretary, Chirag Parikh, told Payload.
His other to-dos as he nears the end of his second year with the panel include buoying international partnerships in space using assets in orbit to study and combat climate change, and building resilience in the national security space enterprise.
National Space Council 101: The National Space Council has existed on and off since the H.W. Bush administration in 1989, and was last reinstated by the Trump administration in 2017. President Joe Biden opted to keep the panel going under the leadership of VP Kamala Harris. It’s intended to serve as a government-wide space hub to ensure civil, commercial, and national security space aren’t working in silos.
Parikh touted the council’s work in the Biden administration to boost investment in the commercial space industry, including making sure the government is prepared to capitalize on and support new tech being developed by private companies.
“We have also initiated bringing the US space industry into some US bilateral space discussions with allies and partners to broaden the reach of our private sector and form unique industry-to-industry…partnerships across the world,” Parikh said in written answers.
Out of the public eye: The Trump administration’s space council met eight times between 2017 and 2020. By contrast, Biden’s council has met just twice, in Dec. 2021 and Sept. 2022. But Parikh says work is going on behind the scenes, including “routinely” meeting with other government agencies, the private sector, international partners, and academics.
“Ultimately, United States government space efforts are executed by respective departments and agencies, but the National Space Council assists in helping shape initiatives to ensure they are aligned with national policies,” Parikh said.
The first spark: Parikh got interested in space the same way many kids did in the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s—by watching a shuttle launch on TV and dreaming about being on board as an astronaut. “The spark of space led me to many jobs,” he said. “Space is far more than just going around the Earth and to the Moon; it’s about being able to solve challenges here on Earth.…Being able to drive change from space for the betterment of humanity is something that drives me every day.”
Go boldly: As space tourism becomes a reality, Parikh is ready to strap in. “I would absolutely go to space, both to achieve my childhood dreams but also to experience the Overview Effect where you see the beauty, fragility, and interconnectedness of our planet and our civilization,” he wrote.
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Library of Cosmos
The ISS will meet its end in less than a decade. What will replace it?
Jonathan Pellish, a former senior NASA staffer, is the National Space Council’s new director of civil space policy.
NPR digs into the ethics of space exploration and what we can learn from the history of colonization on Earth.
SDA released a draft solicitation for 100 satellites in its Transport Layer Tranche 2.
The era of space capitalism has begun, and with it come ads in orbit.
Meet Us in DC on June 6
Join Payload and In-Q-Tel for an evening where the emerging space community meets DC. We will be connecting space companies with the government to learn how to best serve each other.
Tom Gillespie, Managing Partner at In-Q-Tel
Rep. Max Miller, (R-OH) a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee who represents NASA Glenn Research Center
Rep. Salud Carbajal, (D-CA) a member of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee who represents Vandenberg Space Force Base
Tweet of the week
One day on Venus lasts 5,832 hours. The equivalent to a Monday on Earth.
— Latest in space (@latestinspace)
May 15, 2023