You Go, Girl
By now everyone is familiar with Shana's government and policy background and "space cred." SLP congratulated her when the White House first tapped her for the position, and again when the Senate confirmed her appointment, but it's worth posting again: Space Law Probe congratulates the new second in command at NASA.
From Russia With Love
Here's the new law, which I meant to link last week when Pres. Bush signed it: S. 1713, the "Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005," which of course amends the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 to authorize NASA to buy Russian rocket rides and services for the International Space Station. Nostrovia! Next time Commander Bill McArthur watches a Harry Potter movie it could be from the comfort of earth. (Not necessarily as exciting...)
(For now, a personal greeting to Mr. Perminov from SLP:
Мы любим Россию ;-)
Postcards from Leiden
Looks like somebody found the law library at Leiden.
Wish I could take credit for these lovely, scholarly images, but this insider's view of some of the facilities at the International Institute of Air & Space Law, housed at the Faculty of Law of Leiden University, in Leiden, Netherlands come from intrepid LL.M student D. J. Den Herder, who put aside his digital camera and law treatises for a quick Space Law Probe Q&A about graduate studies in space law at world famous Leiden.
Staring with the obvious:
Q: Why did you want more torture after graduating law school?
A: I'm a glutton for punishment.
And continuing on with...
Q: How did you pick Leiden?
Leiden has developed a reputation as the premiere International Air & Space Law LL.M. program for students who desire a truly international degree and are looking to open trans-Atlantic doors. I was first turned onto the program by an alum who is now a senior attorney at NASA. From an aviation standpoint, the European perspective on international civil air transport is almost priceless. Just today in class we discussed for two hours the recent developments in, and issues facing, the proposed US-EC Open Aviation Area. The faculty is outstanding and augmented with guest lecturers who are truly the experts in the field. From a space standpoint, as you know, much of public space law takes shape in Europe (the UN OOSA is in Vienna), and learning about the European private space scene first-hand is irreplaceable. Courses are also periodically held at Leiden University's Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies in The Hague, which, as you know, is basically the cradle of international law.
The other well established Air & Space LL.M. program I'm aware of is at McGill University in Montreal.
Q: Tell us a bit about the Leiden program?
It's a year-long program, all in English, from September to September. The requirements are two semesters in residence and a minimum six-week apprenticeship/internship in the field, together with a Master's Thesis, due at the end.
In class, I sit alongside pilots, engineers, policy wonks, and others with diverse
experience and interest in the aerospace biz. There's also a blended learning program for those already ensconced in practice, which requires two weeks of residence in the fall and again in the winter, a thesis, and makes use of the digital learning environment.
Q: What classes are you taking?
This semester my courses include Private Air Law, Public Air Law, and EC Air Law, along with "seminars" on more specific topics, such as aircraft financing, which is a part of the private air law course. Next semester the main focus is space law (public and private), as well as the laws of competition. Of course, thesis research will consume an increasing amount of time as the year goes on. You can find a full course overview on the website. There are also opportunities to participate in various extracurriculars, such as the Lachs moot court competition.
Q: What are your plans for after graduation and what kinds of space law-related jobs and career opportunities intererest you most?
Without going into too much detail, I'd say I'm most interested in the commercial space business -- and specifically the financial and legal structures that make these commercial space deals possible. There are some exciting developments taking place right now in the field of international secured transactions in mobile equipment financing, including space equipment, and these are particularly interesting in light of the shifting nature of low earth orbit operations, which, as NASA administrator Griffin has recently espoused, is gearing toward a truly market-based paradigm. I believe that given the necessary financial liberty and regulatory certainty, the private sector can and will be prepared to meet both existing and future opportunities on the final frontier.
Q: How did your interest in space law begin?
I've been interested in space ever since I can remember. My parents took us to visit the Cape when I was like 8, and it's been a fascination for me ever since. In school my interests were manifested in literature and eventually the law. I hadn't necessarily considered the space biz to be a viable career path until I read several books in law school -- starting with Space: The Next Business Frontier by Lou Dobbs and HP Newquist. Right around then I decided: This is what I want to do. And I haven't looked back.
* * *
We'll be looking forward to updates as D.J. writes his thesis by day and fights random space crime as it happens. Of course, we also welcome any juicy gossip that's fit to post about nightlife in Leiden, The Hague and Amsterdam. (Although, typically, what happens in the Netherlands must stay in the Netherlands.)
Meanwhile, I will naturally pass along any inquiries from law firms or space companies interested in interviewing D.J. for a job. (And since he's such a hot pick, this once I'll even waive my usual finder's fee.)
Most Controversial Space Column
Of course, here on SLP, we only have good things to say about all space ventures, including the ones Sam mentions -- ATK Thiokol, Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Energia, Imaginova, Incredible Adventures, Lockheed Martin, Liftport, Masten Space Systems, Northrup Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Rocketplane, Space Adventures, The Spaceship Company, SpaceShot, SpaceX, TGV Rockets, t/Space, United Space Alliance, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Skill, XCOR Aerospace -- and more. So I personally will be the first to collect $1 dollar from Diplomat Dinkin for "not talk[ing] down any aerospace companies for twelve months." Easiest buck I'll ever make, and I'll put that good Yankee dollar toward a game on SpaceShot.
Of course, as lawyers, we know a bit of the ol' "Moon vs. Mars, hybrid vs. liquid, SSTO vs. TSTO, alt vs. biz, tourism vs. military, private vs. public, orbital vs. suborbital, robots vs. people, and asteroids vs. space invaders" can be invigorating too.
But Sam's right: Less dissent, proceed to ascent. Way to begin a new year in space.
An Astronaut for Parliament
Following in the spaceboots of John Glenn, who orbited Earth before launching himself into politics, Marc Garneau, Canada's first astronaut and the head of the Canadian Space Agency, is expected to "run for the Liberal Party" in Canada's next federal election. Should be interesting. Garneau became the first Canadian in space when he flew into orbit aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1984.
(And that's my Thanksgiving post: I'm off for turkey, trimmings, pie and football... Cheers, all!)
Pettibone Advises Space Tourists
If you can afford the trip, you can afford to hire Peter. Next best thing to taking him into space with you. (I don't care how rich you are, you can't have everything.)
(Credit for that dashing photo goes to Hogan & Hartson's Web site.)
Space Law in Nigeria
Dig that moon
Meanwhile, someone else has been very busy: Here's my super smart and industrious 3-year old nephew preparing for NASA's fifth Centennial Challenge --the Regolith Excavation Challenge, in which NASA will award a $250,000 prize to a team that designs and builds "autonomously operating systems to excavate lunar regolith, or 'moon dirt,' and deliver it to a collector."
Jake will attempt to tackle that lunar soil problem with nothing but his cool remote control Robosapien and shiny, rugged new excavator truck (both of which his Auntie Jesse gave him). High five, Jakie!
And speaking of SpaceX, I found the following announcement in the new, free, interactive space calendar, brought online by the folks at SpaceAlumni.com (where you can post your space events, view events by day, week or month, and keyword search upcoming happenings. Cool... Of course, you have to make time for this stuff. But that's your problem.)
“From PayPal to Payloads: How Internet and Space Ventures are the Same … and Different!”
The International Association of Space Entrepreneurs proudly presents its 2005 Speaker Series event, featuring Elon Musk.
Please join us for a lively discussion with one of the space industries hottest entrepreneurs. Elon successfully founded and sold two technology ventures (including PayPal, which was acquired by eBay) before turn his eyes skyward with SpaceX. Listen as he compares and contrasts his experiences in the Internet and space industries.
What: IASE 2005 Speaker Series
Who: Elon Musk, SpaceX
When: Thursday, November 18, 2005
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Physics for Space Lawyers
(Chapter are offered in HTML or PDF.)
Leave a digital apple for the teacher.
(Also, Doing Business In China: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies, prepared annually by US Embassy staff, looks interesting, and it's free.)
INA reform has passed the Senate (again) and is ready for the president's signoff. Finally. Griffin expressed his appreciation. (via SpaceRef)
While riding the subway yesterday, multitasking Jeff Foust took the opportunity to review the conference report on the 2006 NASA appropriations bill. (Subway? Well that's what we call it here in NYC, but I thought in D.C. it was the Metro?) Thanks, Jeff.
The senate approved Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-TX) amendment to the 2006 Defense Authorization bill to encourage cooperation between DOD and NASA.
Updated updates to come...
Bad Day for Astrologer
The angry astrologer who sued NASA for smashing the Deep Impact probe into the Tempel 1 comet on July 4 should have checked her charts before filing.
Alas, the Russian court has dismissed her damages claim.
(Who could have predicted that?)
No Moon For Sale in China
(Although, I suppose there's always this Internet site...)
BEIJING, Nov. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Beijing industrial and commercial authorities have suspended the license of a company claiming to sell land on the moon for engagement in speculation and profiteering.
The Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics Science and Technology Co., Ltd. with domestic financing, was registered on September 5 but has now stopped operation, said a source with the Chaoyang District Branch of the Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce over the weekend.
The so-called Lunar Embassy in China claimed that one can purchase an acre on the moon for 298 yuan (37 US dollars) through the company. The company started operation on October 19.
The Lunar Embassy issued customers a "certificate" that ensured property ownership including rights to use the land and minerals up to three kilometers underground, Li Jie, chief executive officer of the company was quoted as saying by earlier reports.
A Chaoyang District branch official said that according to state regulations, all activities which are in violation of state laws and regulations, and disturb social and economic order are regarded to be engaged in speculation and profiteering.
The branch official said that the Lunar Embassy is suspected of being engaged such infractions. Further investigation into the case will continue, the branch official said.
The Chaoyang District branch together with local police also seized invoices, "permits" of ownership of land on the moon, relevant documents, files of employees and more than 10,000 yuan (about 1,200 US dollars) involved in the company's business.
Li Jie, CEO of Lunar Embassy, said that 34 clients bought 49 acres of land on the moon in the first three days after his company became operational. The deals involve more than 14,000 yuan.
Li said he would cooperate the industrial and commercial authorities' investigation and expected to reopen his business when policies permit.
Earlier investigations by the Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Chaoyang District branch show that the Lunar Embassy in China was registered to do businesses covering space travel, development of the moon and sales of land on the moon.
With a registered capital of 10 million yuan (1.23 million US dollars), the company has actually turned in only 100,000 yuan, a source with the administration was quoted as saying by the Beijing News.
In a different investigation, the Chaoyang District Branch of the Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce found that sale of land on the moon was not listed as the company's business when it was registered, according to early reports by the Beijing News.
China's Lunar Embassy claimed to be the sole agent in China for US-based Lunar Embassy, but it could not provide any materials put on record in the United States other than an authorization certificate by the US company, earlier investigations showed.
An earlier report said that Li Jie was nominated as the agent in China by Dennis Hope, a US entrepreneur who founded the first extraterrestrial estate agency Lunar Embassy in 1980, 11 years after the Apollo II mission first landed people on the moon.
Hope thinks a loophole exists in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty, which forbids governments from owning extraterrestrial property but fails to mention corporations or individuals.
Despite the aforementioned deal with Lunar Embassy in China and telephone orders Li Jie claimed to have received from moonstruck people in the country, some doubt the legitimacy of the trading and others even regard it as fraud or a joke.
"It's ridiculous! The moon belongs to all mankind, so how can a company sell it?" said a man surnamed Xu, who works at a media group in Beijing.
Attack of the Law Bloggers
Billed as a convention of "the largest group of legal bloggers ever assembled for two days of education, innovation, fellowship and fun," if you ask some people, it's really just a sinister gathering of lawyers conspiring to take over the blogoverse:
Yes, it's BlawgThink 2005, coming to Chicago, November 11-12, 2005.
Questions that may or may not be addressed at BlawgThink 2005 include: Why must lawyers blog? Aren't lawyers seen and heard enough? And what about fears that the blogosphere is already way overlawyered, what with Technorati top of the pops and TTLB chart topping blogmasters like Glenn Reynolds, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, Eugene Volokh, Hugh Hewitt, Ann Althouse, the guys at Powerline, and many more.
(By the way, rumors that Michelle Malkin and Wonkette herself were secretly cramming for their LSAT's have not been confirmed.)
Not to mention all these zillions of blawgs.
And the ultimate questions: Does blogspace really need BlawgThink? How can we stop it??
Be very afraid.
Blawg ispa loquitor.
Friday Flybys (vol. 23)
Mike Griffin was back at the House Science Committee yesterday, chatting about money. (NASA Watch)
And Shana Dale appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee for her confirmation hearing, talking about how she can help Mike.
Across town, Jeff Foust covered a conference at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in which Griffin spoke about international cooperation in space exploration.
If you missed the public seminar last week at the National Academies on property rights and the moon, here are panel presentations posted by James E. Dunstan, of Garvey, Shubert, Barer, and High Frontier director Klaus P. Heiss. I know Professor Reynolds wanted to go, but since his new book is not about space law, why would he?
Jon Goff is not worried that litigation may distract Elon Musk from Falcon building. "It's not like the ~120 engineers at SpaceX have all abandoned Omelek Island and McGregor Ranch to don wingtips, three-piece suits, and briefcases to take on the big boys. They aren't the ones doing the legal footwork." Indeed.
Roger Pielke talks with Nixon science advisor Dr. Ed David on Apollo about Apollo and other interesting stuff. (Prometheus)
Even without a $5 billion shortfall NASA took flak for allocating $20,000 for an artist-in-residence. (Hey, at the rate NASA is going, an offbeat artist on a piddly stipend may be the only expense it can afford.) Personally, I always find that Hubble images are beautiful enough. And you don't have to buy tickets.
I see the report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, 48th session, (Vienna, June 8-17, 2005) is posted; however, the Legal Subcommittee, 44th session (Vienna, April 4-15, 2005) report is not up yet.
If the Australians left it to Stephen "Synergy" Gordon, he'd use the Solar Tower as the base of a space elevator.
On the crime front, Max Ary, former Kansas Cosmosphere director was indeed convicted by a federal jury on 12 counts involving stealing and selling space artifacts from the museum he co-founded. (via collectSPACE)
And while Russia and China reportedly discuss cooperation in lunar exploration (AP via MSNBC), SpaceDaily reports a Russian space official was arrested for passing space technology to Beijing. Hmm.
Has it really been five years since astronauts began living aboard the space station? Somehow it seems like ...more.
It appears some of the lads enjoyed an interesting debate this week on ESAS. (I would link to the posts by Dan, Mark, Dan, Jon, Rand, Mark, Rand, Jon... but I haven't finished them and my head is already spinning.) robot guy (Ed) collected some of it. I think Rand got the last word, so far.
Ed also put together a space blogroll. (I'll have to update.)
Eriq Gardner listens in on lawyer podcasts. (via Law.com)
I've seen images of my home town from space, never I quite pictured it this way.
So the U.S. military wants to own the weather?? They can have it.
Enjoy your weekend. Don't worry about space fashion. And remember, a rocket is like a guitar.
* * *
UPDATE: SLP congratulates Shana Dale on her confirmation by the Senate as NASA's 14th deputy administrator!
Space Junk Code of Conduct
In the American Journal of International Law (July 2005), Steve A. Mirmina, NASA Senior Attorney, International Law Practice Team offers an interesting view on what to do about the ever-increasing peril of orbital junk, Reducing the Proliferation of Orbital Debris: Alternatives to a Legally Binding Instrument.
Steve overviews the threat posed by an estimated two million kilograms of junk orbiting within two thousand kilometers of the Earth’s surface at a velocity of approximately ten kilometers per second.
He looks at three options for tackling the problem: "(1) a voluntary adherence regime modeled loosely on the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR); (2) a United Nations–centered approach; and (3) a voluntary code of conduct."
After considering the pros and cons of each of these approaches, Steve recommends a voluntary code that "can later be transformed into legally binding obligations."
Between July 19 and 30, 1999, the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) took place in Vienna, Austria. For four days the International Institute of Space Law coordinated the “Workshop on Space Law in the Twentyfirst Century” with the participation of more than 130 experts on outer space law from around the world. The workshop reached an unequivocal conclusion with regard to debris: “There is a need to have at least a code of conduct concerning space debris.” For numerous reasons a code of conduct might be the best solution to reduce orbital debris in the immediate term. First, it would not require waiting for the agreement of states at the international level—a key difference between this option and the first two approaches suggested (the voluntary adherence regime and the UN-based approach). A code of conduct on orbital debris can be created in the absence of state action, at the initiative of space agencies or private operators active in outer space, and can introduce “best practices” against which state practice can later be measured.
I think this option has great merit, and as Steve explains, there is precedent in the space arena for voluntary codes of conduct. Read the whole article.
(Note: Steve Mirmina, who served on the U.S. delegation to the Scientific and Technical and Legal Subcommittees of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, expresses his own views here, not necessarily those of NASA or the US. By the way, congratulations again to Steve on his world champion space law moot court team!)
Rocket Workers Walk
Launches caught in the snag include the GOES-N weather satellite, waiting to launch on a Delta 4 at Cape Canaveral; while over in Vandenberg two atmospheric research satellites, CloudSat and Calipso are scheduled to fly on a Delta 2 and there's an NRO spy sat waiting for a boost on a Delta 4.
I'm not a space labor lawyer but I understand Boeing and union folks are working to resolve the dispute, which, surprisingly enough, is all about money and benefits. (And you thought building space rockets was a labor of love.)
The first thing we do, let's kill all the space lawyers
No time for serious thought. Not even a space lawyer joke
comes to mind.
In honor of my cousin taking the bar today.....
The New York Times, among other papers, recently published a new Hubble Space Telescope photograph of distant galaxies colliding.
Of course, astronomers have had pictures of colliding galaxies for quite some time now, but with the vastly improved resolution provided by the Hubble, you can actually see the lawyers rushing to the scene.
Frivolous Flybys... (In lieu of a serious Flybys post this week...)
Want to go into space?
NASA was interviewing professionals to be sent to Mars. Only one could go and couldn?t return to Earth.
The first applicant, an engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going. "A million dollars," he answered, "because I want to donate it to M.I.T."
The next applicant, a doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for $2 million. "I want to give a million to my family," he explained, "and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research."
The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer?s ear, "Three million dollars."
"Why so much more than the others?" asked the interviewer.
The lawyer replied, "If you give me $3 million, I?ll give you $1 million, I?ll keep $1 million, and we?ll send the engineer to Mars."
A physician, an engineer, and an attorney were discussing who among them belonged to the oldest of the three professions represented. The physician said, "Remember, on the sixth day God took a rib from Adam and fashioned Eve, making him the first surgeon. Therefore, medicine is the oldest profession."
The engineer replied, "But, before that, God created the heavens and earth from chaos and confusion, and thus he was the first engineer. Therefore, engineering is an older profession than medicine."
Then, the lawyer spoke up. "Yes," he said, "But who do you think created all of the chaos and confusion?"
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.
Maybe a cartoon
to fill a fake post.
space fashion contest at fukuoka
Or is riddle. How is a Rocket Like a Guitar?
best product warning labelhttp://www.lawhaha.com/label_1.asp (the stepladder)
See also, phsics product liability warnings
Come and get us, Apophis
According to NASA estimates, asteroid Apophis (previously known as 2004 MN4), has a 1 in 5500 chance of hitting Earth in 2036. And some folks think those aren't bad odds (despite warnings), so we're not going to bump the pesky little bugger out of our path (or even change its name, which means, the destroyer).
Besides, last time NASA intentionally crashed into an asteroid, it got sued by an irate Russian astrologer. Who needs that?
Brian Berger at Space News has a blow by blow of Elon's (and his counsel's) course of action to date, from SpaceX's initial formal bid protest with the Air Force and GAO, to the Court of Federal Claims complaint, to the U.S. District Court lawsuit.
Of course, in his space time, Elon builds cool rockets.
Death of a Planetarium
You can sit in a cushy chair in a dark room and see the stars, the Sun, Moon and planets as they appear in the night sky at any time of the year, projected onto a hemispherical dome. (Or, experience things like SonicVision, a popular show of cool computer-generated 3-D visualizations set to techno and rock music.)
Loch Ness has a catalog of links to 433 U.S. and 388 international planetariums. (Planetaria?) I'd visit all of them if I could.
I would even take a cruise on the luxury ocean liner, Queen Mary 2, just to see a show in the first shipboard planetarium.
So I am saddened to hear about what's happening to Toronto's only planetarium. And you bet the Canadian Space Society has something to say about it:
The Canadian Space Society is dismayed at the recent decision by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) to demolish Toronto's historic McLaughlin Planetarium, with no plans to reestablish a planetarium in Toronto. The planetarium building is to be replaced by a private condominium development.Condominiums.
Established in 1968, the Planetarium enjoyed over twenty five successful years, financially stable during its operation. It has inspired thousands, young and old alike, to contemplate the wonders of the universe we find ourselves in and to advance our knowledge of its workings. A landmark in Toronto, the Planetarium was a bastion of public curiosity and imagination, where the entire community, regardless of age or income, could come to gaze at the stars and galaxies.
I agree with CSS: it is dismaying.
According to CSS, public meeting is scheduled for today, Nov. 1 "to review the developer's plans." If you can stomach it.