Space Lawyer Wins EURISY Award

It's not an Oscar, but for a space lawyer, it's pretty cool. The Probe congratulates space lawyer Dr. Gabriel Lafferranderie, chairman (and founder in 1989) of the European Centre for Space Law, on winning the EURISY's Hubert Curien Award "for outstanding personal or institutional accomplishment in outer space."

The award was presented in Paris.

Dr. Lafferranderie served as the Legal Adviser of the European Space Agency. He helped draft the ESA Convention as well as many international agreements concluded by the Agency, and advised ESA's national delegations on legal matters.

He worked on "countless international negotiations" and participated in international conferences and sessions of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Dr. Lafferranderie earned his law doctorate from the University of Toulouse in 1966 for his thesis on the legal regime governing satellite telecommunications.

The Probe salutes a world-class space lawyer.

(By the way,
Hubert Curien, himself, the dignitary after which the award was named -- scientist, former minister, architect of European space policy and father of the Ariane series of rockets -- died Feb 6. He was 80.)

EURISY, an association of space agencies and organizations, promotes space applications in everyday life.


Friday Flybys (v. 9)

Starting with some welcome projections: Teal Group estimates there will be a total of 99 satellites launched into orbit in 2005, compared with launch (or attempted launch) of 73 spacecraft by 55 rockets in 2004 -- an 26% increase.

And doing its part to hit optimistic launch numbers, India is planning to send up a communications satellite devoted to exclusively to
telemedicine. (SpaceDaily)

Speaking of India, the ESA Council has approved a
cooperation agreement between ESA and the Indian Space Research Organisation for India's first moon mission, Chandrayaan-1.

After this week's space security conference in Geneva, Russia and China are urging an international pact to
prevent the deployment of weapons in space. (Financial Times)

Meanwhile... the Baltimore Sun argues,
first Hubble, then Mars.

Alan Boyle goes to Esther Dyson's Flight School.

Science Blog looks at the big popularity of
NASA podcasts.

And yet more good
word of mouth for space tourism from a member of the pool of future private space flight customers, quoted in the Lehigh University newspaper: "I would be interested in space travel because Earth has gotten boring," said Chris Cangelose, class of '06.

That's the spirit!

(And he added, "I think ET would be a good guy." )


Reynolds Raps About Griffin

Over on Tech Central Station, Glenn Reynolds finally weighs in with a column about Mike Griffin, calling the NASA chief-to be, A New Captain for the Titanic?

By the way, space lawyers and enthusiasts who are fans of the ever-eclectic and widely-published University of Tennessee law professor Reynolds, most recently famous for his blogging sensation, Instapundit, fondly recall the professor's early claim to space law fame: his text, first published in 1989 (with co-author Robert P. Merges), Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy. (Professor Reynolds of course has branched out -- his writings cover a great range of issues in law, politics and technology. And the Probe will happily post, reference or link to anything he writes about space.)


Forcing Hubble Fix

Things for Hubble are hot and getting hotter. A New Scientist article reports the House Science Committee is considering the option of stepping in with legislation to force NASA to repair Hubble.

The committee is awaiting various reports from NASA including an assessment of risks of a servicing mission.

(As the Probe has reported, lawmakers on the record supporting a Hubble repair mission include Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) who told NASA in a
letter March 2, "The funding that I included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act is to ensure that the workforce at Goddard, the Space Telescope Science Institute and their associated contractors remain fully engaged in all aspects of a servicing mission. Any attempt to cancel, terminate or suspend servicing activity would be a violation of the law unless it has the approval of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.")

Mike Griffin, what's your say on Hubble's fate?


Greece Joins ESA

It's official. After formally applied to join ESA in September 2003, Greece has become the 16th member state of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Member states of ESA, "Europe's gateway to space," are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. According to ESA, Luxembourg is expected to become a member of ESA in 2005. Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic participate in some projects under cooperation agreements.

Συγχαρητήρια Ελλάδα (which, I think says, congratulations, Greece)


Kay Hutchinson Talks NASA

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) talked to the Houston Chronicle about her concerns about and vision for NASA. The senator, of course, chairs two panels with oversight over the space agency -- the science and space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee as well as the commerce, justice, and science subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

On her priorities: "It will be return to flight, finishing the space station, and renewing the commitment to science, which the space station is essential to do."

On the gap between retirement of the space shuttle (2010) and the first manned Crew Exploration Vehicle mission (2014): "I believe it is a security risk to our country to have a five-year lapse," she said. "We know now that Japan is looking at sending people into space. For America to go on a vacation for five years is unacceptable."

On saving Hubble: not if the mission would "take away from the capability to return to flight, finish the space station and do what we need to do to keep going towards Mars."

The senator says she will hold hearings in April in May: on the shuttle's future, and the space station and scientific research.


Friday Flybys (v. 8)

A few quick items for the week that includes Pi Day, the Ides of March and St. Patrick's Day...

Mike Griffin's nomination for NASA chief got more glowing press than an Elvis siting in Memphis. Join the nonstop cheers for the incoming NASA administrator
here (collected at NASA Watch), as we continue getting to know him (courtesy of Jeff Foust, The Space Review).

More on the beheading last week of Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher after the disclosure of his ongoing sexual affair with a female executive at the company... our friends at Law.com, say
'Stonecipher Affair' Signals Changing Climate in Corporate America. Advise your clients.

We applaud the news that
China has established its first space debris observation center.

And from the Lone Star State, Space.com reports on how
Blue Origin Spaceport Plans are Talk of Texas Town. And the Bezos buzz continues...


New White & Case Partner Loves Space

Patent litigator Heidi Keefe, formerly of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, has joined White & Case as a partner in the firm's Palo Alto office. According to the Recorder, Ms. Keefe "looks forward to working with lawyers in White & Case's telecommunications and space law practice because she was an astrophysics major in college." (via New York Lawyer, affiliate of The Recorder.)

The Probe congratulates Heidi and the firm.


Hearings update

For you Congress buffs, today:

The House Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics is holding a hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2006 budget for aeronautics at NASA.

And over on the Senate side, the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces of the Committee on Armed Services will hear testimony on
national security space policy and programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2006.


Paper Space

Reports, reports, reports. They may not be a problem for the "macho" contractors like Lockheed and Boeing who have "trusty cost-plus contracts," as Clark Lindsay's recently said in his RLV News Briefs on HobbySpace.

But we do feel for the plight of the small, nimble newcomers who can build hot rocketships but are flummoxed, and even frightened off, as New Scientist reports, by the astronomical amounts of required paperwork.

We can't necessarily explain or even comprehend what in the world NASA wants with "40 to 50 monthly reports on what you're doing," but we can offer some advice: Don't wimp out. Why not just hire some engineering space lawyers! E-mail us at the Probe and we'll be happy to hook you up with space-loving red-tape wrangling counsel to help you with those reports.


Energy Equals Mass Times the Speed of Light Squared

March 14, 2005... The Probe salutes Albert Einstein on his birthday during the 100th anniversary of his "miraculous year" (annus mirabilus), 1905, in which he wrote three fundamental papers including one on special relativity, which rocked the world and changed science forever.

A toast to
E=MC2. (Listen to Prof. Einstein himself explaining his galactically famous formula here.)

And here are just some of the zillions of
Einstein links across Webspace. (Boy, he would have loved the Internet...)

And by the way, happy
Pi day.


Make Way for Mike

Finally, what we've been waiting for: a nominee for NASA's top post. Here's the White House Statement on the Nomination of Michael Griffin to be NASA Administrator (via SpaceRef).

Keith Cowing at NASA Watch quickly collected some of
Mike Griffin on the record.

And the Probe will start by simply saying, congratulations and good luck Mike!


Failure to Fix Hubble Against the Law?

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) vowed to fight for Hubble and she meant it. Reuters reports that the Senator sent a letter to NASA's acting administrator Frederick Gregory in which she "told the space agency that a failure to keep working toward a mission to fix Hubble could be against the law."

According to Reuters the Senator wrote, "I expect NASA to carry out Congress' intent and spend the entire amount appropriated this year so there will be no interruption in the planning, preparation and engineering work that will be necessary for a servicing mission to Hubble."

Meanwhile, calls for a Hubble servicing mission continue. "Hubble's biggest booster," Steven Beckwith, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI), has
his say on Space.com.

And the American Astronomical Society has issued a policy
statement calling for a Hubble servicing.

The next NASA administrator, if one is ever appointed, will have to face the Hubble issue, pronto.


GPS ankle bracelets track offenders

Goodbye to those radio-frequency ankle bracelet systems. Enter GPS technology to keep an eye on offenders and ensure they are in compliance with the terms of their probation or release.

As this USA Today article explains, "the GPS units typically consist of a small, lightweight ankle bracelet and a personal transmitter unit, or PTU, worn on a shoulder strap or around an offender's waist. The system sends an alert if the ankle bracelet is not within a prescribed range of the PTU, which is in constant signal contact with a network of Department of Defense navigation satellites orbiting 11,000 miles above the earth."

One of the things law enforcement folks love and bad guys hate about this use of GPS is that "it can pinpoint a wearer's exact location, rather than just alerting a probation officer that a subject [on probation or under house arrest] wearing an RF ankle bracelet has strayed from the base unit."

You are so busted.


Boeing Back to Ethics 101

Oh, Boeing, not again. What's up with the execs at the world-class defense and aerospace giant? Two executives in jail over procurement scandals, two consecutive CEO's ousted in scandal, a 20-month ban on the company bidding on satellite launch contracts, and hints of more negative news to follow?

Harry Stonecipher was supposed to help to clean up the company after a string of missteps and bad corporate deed doing. But while he was doing just that, as we've all heard by now (whether we wanted to hear it or not), the CEO was engaged in his own little doings with a unnamed female exec.

But even in the wake of all the Boeing naughtiness, and in this post-Enron environment, did the board overreact to Stonecipher's consensual affair with the employee, who "neither reported directly to him nor received favorable treatment as a result of the affair," as
some suggest?

Decide for yourself. Weigh in on a CNBC Squawk Box poll on the firing. (When I took it, the results were fairly even: yes - 48%; no - 52%).

And here is Boeing's own Ethics and Business Conduct Web page. The page includes a toll-free ethics phone number for employees and others who may be interested in calling to express their concern about possible violations. (Which is apparently how Stonecipher got nailed: an anonymous tip.) Warning: the line may be busy.

Boeing CFO James Bell will serve as interim president and CEO.



Monday already? Start the week with a walk through Legal Aspects of Astronauts in Extravehicular Activity and of Space Tourists, courtesy of Italy's Prof. Gabriella Catalano Sgrosso of the University of Rome (pdf or text)


Friday Flybys (vol. 7)

In a case involving offshore accounts and off-planet ventures, the feds have now arrested the biggest personal tax evader in history -- none other than Walter Anderson, the telecom tycoon who ponied up $20 million to try to salvage the space station Mir. Anderson allegedly owes the IRS $200 million and may go to prison for 80 years. Here's the story, from NY Times (free registration req'd). In space, the IRS can hear you scream.

Meanwhile, for those of you who have been paying more attention to Cassini than Congress (who can blame you?) and want a quick recap, Planetary Society's Washington Representative Lori Garver (formerly NASA associate administrator for policy and plans, also formerly executive director of the National Space Society, among other space-related things) offers a quick lowdown on
Winners and Losers in Proposed 2006 NASA Budget.

Hats off to any Probe-reading, enterprising space lawyers who networked with potential new clients at ESA's
Aurora Industry Day this week. Europe mean business in space.

Speaking of enterprising space lawyers, now that
craigslist will beam classified ads into space, (courtesy of the Deep Space Communications Network) think of the marketing opportunity this may present for your firm.

And speaking of space marketing, as the feeding frenzy gets sweeter, move over Volvo and Virgin Atlantic,
Space Tourism News reports a Norwegian chocolate company has joined with Space Adventures to offer a space ride sweepstakes.

And now that it has seen space, SpaceShipOne, the world's first privately built manned rocket ship, boldly
goes on display at the Smithsonian, along with the Apollo 11 Command Module and Wright Brother's 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis.

Of course, in the But Who's Counting? department:
1694 launches is a charm. Soyuz is go, go, go (again and again and . . .)

Finally, while in the minds of many it may be a nuisance, a cause of emotional distress, or even a downright crime, there is no legal recourse for
leaking gravity.


FAA draft space transport regs

The FAA has issued a draft of changes to the commercial space transportation regulations governing licensing and safety requirements for launch; with notice of public meeting.

Her's the
info in PDF, or text (c/o SpaceRef.)
SUMMARY: The FAA is making available a draft of changes to the commercial space transportation regulations governing licensing and safety requirements for launch. We intend the changes to identify, codify, and maintain the successful safety measures that have been implemented at the federal launch ranges belonging to the Department of Defense and NASA. We are also establishing clear safety requirements for launches from non-federal launch sites. We will hold a public meeting on March 29-31, 2005, to give stakeholders an opportunity to get information about, and provide comments on, the draft regulatory language.

DATES: Send your comments to reach us by May 2, 2005. The FAA will host a facilitated public meeting in Washington, DC on March 29-31, 2005 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m each day.

(Get involved now, complain later.)


Japan Space

While many eyes are on China, there's a lot going in the wide world of space, for Japan.

First, the Probe congratulates Japan on this weekend's successful
H-2A rocket launchfrom Tanegashima Space Center, the first lift-off since the nation's embarassinglaunch failure in November 2003 (-- just one month after neighboring Chinashot itself into space history by launching its first manned orbital mission).Japan's rocket carried a weather and navigation satellite (the Multi-functionalTransport Satellite-1 Replacement, or MTSAT-1R), and the nation is quitehappy to be back in the launch biz. Tsukasa Mito, executive director of theJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency offered the soundbite, "I hope it willbe a new starting point of the history of H-2A." Indeed.

Of course, last week the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA)
joinedthe Space and Major Disasters Charter(or officially, the Charter On CooperationTo Achieve The Coordinated Use Of Space Facilities In The Event Of NaturalOr Technological Disasters) to work with NOAA, ESA and other space agenciesin international disaster relief. (See related Probe post.)

And. . . oh -- this week Japan again made space news when it announced thatit plans to develop its own manned spacecraft, like the shuttle, and puta manned station
on the moon by 2025. Well. All that remains to be seen, of course.

But it's sure starting to look like things may get a bit crowded up there...

'Space and Major Disasters' Charter: Update

It's only the first of March, and already it's been a busy year for members of the Space and Major Disasters Charter (or officially, the Charter On Cooperation To Achieve The Coordinated Use Of Space Facilities In The Event Of Natural Or Technological Disasters).

You don't have to read the full text; basically, the Space and Major Disasters Charter is an international network of space partners putting "space technology at the service of rescue authorities in the event of a major disaster."

And it's not just about satellite images of tsunamis. The Charter's slick Web site, at
disasterscharter.org, includes a showcase of recent charter activations around the world in which Charter member agencies responded to international disasters, including post-Indian Ocean tsunami events such as the earthquake in Iran, landslides in Venezuela, floods in Pakistan and Guyana, even hurricane-force winds in Sweden. See how space agencies step in to lend a hand.

(And Space Law Probe applauds any international agreement that has its own dynamic, up-to-the-minute Web site not to mention nifty domain, like disasterscharter.org.)

Charter members include NOAA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization, and other good-Samaritan space agencies and organizations. And last week, the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) signed on

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?