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Guest: Dr. Scott Pace; Topics: Space traffic management, Artemis and the Artemis Accords, National Space Councils, Space Policy Directives, bipartisan space policy, commercial space, commercial space station development, China, and lots more.
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We welcomed Dr. Scott Pace back to the show to discuss space policy and a wide ranging list of projects, policy goals, international space policy developments and issues plus we got an inside look at the making of space police from within the government. We led off the discussion by talking about a June 18, 2021 SpaceNews op-ed by our guest titled "NOAA is stalling U.S. space traffic management." You can read this op-ed at https://spacenews.com/op-ed-noaa-is-stalling-u-s-space-traffic-management. Dr. Pace introduced us to the issue at hand, clearly defined and discussed with us the importance of space traffic management now including focusing on space situational awareness. We spent the early part of the program talking about space traffic management plus this subject returned throughout our overall program discussion given its growing importance in space usage and development.
We moved to a discussion about Space Policy Directives issued by the National Space Council. Our guest talked about them being Executive Orders that a president can cancel. He cited examples plus he said that the Space Force was initially an SPD but enacted into law by the National Defense Act (NDA). Since the NDA was passed as law by congress only congress can reverse it with the signature of the president. Scott was asked about the progress of commercial space. He responded by talking about launch and remote sensing with a focus on very our high launch and flight rates. This led to a discussion about FCC and spectrum issues. In addition, bipartisan space support was talked about including having support from the general public, he commented on the positive job done by Bridenstine and the lunar landing crew selection for our return to the Moon.
Listener Barbara sent in a note asking for Scott's thoughts on China and their space policy. She wanted to know if our guest saw China as a threat, especially with space had seen articles going both ways from within the space community. Our guest provided an extensive and thorough discussion on China and space so don't miss it. He put forth the pros and cons, talked about good policy such as Artemis and even said there was a chance for China to do some things with Artemis without going against the Wolf Amendment. This was an important part of our discussion so again, don't miss it.
The latter part of the discussion talked about environmental issues, the EPA, NOAA, who should do science and who should do regulatory work. Our guest was of the opinion that one agency should not do both. He did say the science should be used in considering regulations. Scott referenced multiple examples of this. We paused the environmental type of questions too ask Scott about space debris and why there had been no specific SPD regarding debris and mitigation. He provided us with a great response, a detailed one about their inside discussions on the topic, plus he referenced SPD-3 which was an indirect approach to the debris issue. Don't miss what he said. Next, we returned to talking about the EPA and the FCC litigation by ViaSat against SpaceX and Starlink over brighter than expected satellites causing light pollution. He brought in NEPA but said NEPA did not apply to space. Michael Listener was listening to the discussion and sent in a note saying he too does not see NEPA applying to space.
I took the liberty of asking Scott about SPD-6 which focused on nuclear power in space. We had quite the discussion on nuclear power, the types most likely to be used, and more. He did say it would be used in space as he did not think we would agree to launch a live nuclear reactor from Earth. After we finished our nuclear discussion, Scott was asked about the recent release of the unclassified UAP report to Congress and the fact that they said the UAP were a situational awareness risk for aviation. The listener asking the question wanted to know if an extension could be made with Tic Tac and situational awareness in space. Our guest provided us with a most interesting comments that you must listen to rather than relying on me to summarize. How about a blog post regarding your thoughts on this question.
As we were heading toward the end of our discussion, Ashley sent in a note asking if he thought additional funding would be made available for a second human lunar lander. Scott was optimistic but he also said that there might be a government lander as he described the thought process for a backup lander. Don't miss this segment in our discussion.
Before closing, a listener wanted to know if we run the risk of bipartisan space giving way to the partisan divide impacting our country. You might be surprised by the reply to this question by our guest. We also talked more about Earth sensing, space stations and the life of the ISS plus the need for private space stations. Adrian sent in a series of questions and comments about China, their behavior, and a concern with their adhere to treaties and other agreements. Dwane sent in a last minute question about space property rights and the OST. Scott concluded these discussions with closing comments with a reminder that China was a risk.
Please post your comments/questions to our blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Pace through me or his faculty page at the Space Policy Institute at GWU.