Space Law Video

From EuroNews, here's a short video on space law. Interesting offering. In any case, take it or leave it, it's the only space law video on the Web. (E-mail me if I'm missing anything?) The reassuring voice-over (unfortunately not the voice of Tom Hanks as the mild-mannered space lawyer) confirms, "you may be unlikely to receive a parking ticket, but space law does exist." (Thank goodness or the name of this blog would be Doesn't Exist Law Probe.)

And Rene Oosterlink of ESA and professor of space law at the University of Ghent in Belgium, featured in the video, concludes, the
Outer Space Treaty was drafted at a time when all space activities were governmental while today, most space ventures are private, including launch, telecom, etc. Thus, "there would be a need to review the space treaty."

Speaking of videos, somehow watching Flight of the Phoenix while everyone was in Phoenix at Space Access last week proved insufficiently distracting or satisfying. So I went looking for some other forms of multimedia entertainment. (By the way, now that Prof. Reynolds' podcasting productions get more hits than American Idol, we're waiting for some Insta-vlogging next.) On ESA's site, I found this government-sponsored video on
European space policy. Believe the hype. (Or don't.)

And in connection with NASA's centennial tether challenge, at the Spaceward Foundation, this is a cool video on the
space elevator (from the Institute for Scientific Research). Ride it up.

Sure, there's much more space multimedia online. But what does this blog look like, HobbySpace?

(Wonder what I'll do entertain myself while everyone's at the 25th annual
International Space Development Conference in L.A. next week? Hmm... send me the link if you see a promotional video for the new national space theme park coming to Pujiang Town, or anything like that, will ya?)

Have a multimedia weekend ;)

UPDATE: Almost forgot... a toast to the fifth anniverary of the first space tourism trip; and yes, Space.com videos of Dennis Tito's Soyuz launch and boarding ISS, April 28, 2001.


Up at McGill

An SLP reader sends in a couple of items to add to our non-stop line-up of global adventures in space law.

Each of these events take place at
McGill's Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) in Montreal, Canada:

- In collaboration with Foreign Affairs Canada and Project Ploughshares, the IASL Hosts a "Space Security Working Group Meeting," May 1-2, 2006.

- Along with the
International Institute of Space Law (IISL), as well as the Cologne Institute of Air and Space Law and the Leiden International Institute of Air and Space Law, the IASL presents an "International & Interdisciplinary Workshop on Policy and Law Relating to Outer Space Resources: The Example of the Moon, Mars & Other Celestial Bodies," June 28-29, 2006.

Merci. And keep those announcements coming.


Still urging to merge

I am trying to ignore the latest Reuters report that government approval of Boeing and Lockheed's ULA deal is expected "within the next few weeks" since we've heard that before, (haven't we?) and not just after the Pentagon's conditional approval last month.

So far, what I can confirm is that neither of these two ever-patient Pentagon launch operators elected to invoke the termination clause in their joint venture agreement which in fact provided that either company could kill the deal if it did not win regulatory approval by March 31, 2006.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to think of a big M&A type deal, in any industry, in recent memory that waited this long for the government's go-ahead. (Sprint and Nextel? Verizon and MCI? Hewlett-Packard and Compaq? NBC and Universal? J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One? Kmart and Sears? Bank of America and FleetBoston? Cingular and AT&T Wireless?) Never mind.

(We can all think of some folks who don't mind in the slightest waiting oh, indefinitely, for the regulators' nod on this one.)

* * *
UPDATE: In related news, the Wall Street Journal reports
Boeing has reached a "preliminary agreement" with federal prosecutors in connection with two criminal investigations involving allegations Boeing improperly acquired proprietary Lockheed documents and illegally recruited an Air Force acquisition official, "but the aircraft company is resisting federal calls for about $750 million in fines and penalties as part of a settlement." According to the report, Boeing "has signaled that it may be willing to pay about $500 million to simultaneously settle related civil claims."

* * *
TIDBIT: I notice that in its
"foolish forecast" for Boeing today -- in anticipation of the company's Q1 2006 earnings tomorrow morning -- Motley Fool mentions neither ULA nor the criminal stuff. (Not that SLP picks stock.)


Incremental progress

Jeff Foust has a Space Access '06 wrap-up: "neither major breakthroughs nor significant setbacks" but small steps forward.

(As Clark Lindsey describes the state of commercial space, "a movement transitioning into an industry.")

Keep steppin' everyone.

Blawg space

Over on Tech Law Advisor, taking a moment to reasonably opine that "lawyers and blogging go together like witches and stoning," Kevin Heller references a Wall Street Journal article which reported that in "a survey conducted by blogads.com, lawyers ranked fourth among both readers and posters to blogs. Many of the best-known blogs, such as Instapundit.com, are run by lawyers." The Journal suggests that lawyers have "creative talent" and law practice is "mind-numbing work" thus, something's gotta give. Enter blogs.

Well it is clear, mouthpieces do love to set up their own little blogdoms in which to ceaselessly pop off. And for better or worse, since "law" is this blog's middle name, I shan't hesitate to take note of a few overlapping events for lawyers and blawgers last week (although clearly overshadowed on my personal blog radar screen by the likes of Space Access '06 -- and here's lots more on that) which had wired and wireless counsel alike liveblogging their heads off.

The well-blogged and to some, somewhat frightening,
Blog Law & Blogging for Lawyers conference in San Francisco, April 21-22, co-chaired by Catherine Kirkman at Silicon Valley Media Law Blog and Dennis Crouch of Patently-O, had Joe Gratz doing a bang-up job live-bloggin' the blawg fest, which featured guys like Kevin O'Keefe, who's been warned that "if he isn't careful, he may wind up giving lawyers a good name."

(We certainly can't have that.)

Meanwhile, my buddy Bob Ambrogi covered a bevy of bloggers
at ABA Techshow 2006 - "The World's Premier Legal Technology Conference & EXPO," held in Chicago April 20-22. Because don't let the blawgers fool you, most lawyers traditionally remain slow off the mark when it comes to embracing technology for daily business; however, the early adapters to the latest gadgets, gizmos and software designed for 21st century law practice can't get enough of this event and others like it. I've gone to a bunch of Techshows myself. And while not exactly flying cars (which could at least come in handy for the purpose of fleeing a lawyer seen coming our way), tech developments for the legal industry front continue to prove fairly cool.

But OK. Enough about lawyers. Really.


Friends in Phoenix

Seems like the whole space bloggin' world got to go to Space Access '06 this week in Phoenix; no fair. I was stuck home (NYC, far from Arizona), and what's worse, last night when I tuned in HBO, Flight of the Phoenix (survivors of a plane crash in the Gobi must build a new plane -- tagline: "the only way out is up") was playing. Just to rub my nose in it. (Kinda interesting actually; although it wasn't the 1965 classic, just a 2004 remake.)

I want updates from the conference!
I'll go check to see what's been blogged so far (back shortly....)

* * *

UPDATE: On RLV News, Clark Lindsey has a Special Edition page devoted to the conference, featuring presentation notes, links, etc. Excellent.


Outer Space Legal Subcommittee Update

The Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) has concluded its 45th session in lovely Vienna. These daily journals of the subcommittee meeting cover the action. And here is the 45th session's official press statement, hot off the UN wire...

VIENNA, 18 April (UN Information Service) - The practice of States and international organizations in registering space objects was a key item on the agenda of the 45th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), held in Vienna, Austria from 3 to 13 April.

Other topics of discussion included the status and application of the five United Nations treaties on outer space, the definition and delimitation of outer space, the draft protocol on matters specific to space assets to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, review and possible revision of the Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space and matters relating to the character and use of the geostationary orbit. As in previous sessions of the Subcommittee, international organizations were invited to report on their activities relating to space law.

A symposium, which was held following the conclusion of the first day of the session, examined the legal aspects of space-system-based disaster management.

Practice of States and international organizations in registering space objects

A key item on the agenda was the practice of States and international organizations in registering space objects. The Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the Registration Convention) requires States parties launching objects such as satellites, to provide information on the launched object to the United Nations. Based on this information, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) maintains, on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General, the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space, for which it also provides an online searchable index.

The Subcommittee agreed that it was important to further promote greater adherence to the Registration Convention, which would lead to more States registering space objects, and also to encourage international organizations to declare their acceptance of the rights and obligations under the Convention.

The Working Group under this agenda item agreed on the elements that could constitute the basis for consensus on specific recommendations and conclusions to be included in the report of the Legal Subcommittee at its next session in 2007. These elements relate to: (a) the benefits of becoming a party to the Registration Convention; (b) adherence to and implementation of the Registration Convention; and (c) registration practice.

Status and application of the five United Nations treaties on outer space

Subcommittee endorsed the recommendation of the Working Group under this agenda item that member States of COPUOS provide information on any action that might have been taken at the national level as a result of receiving the letter from the UN Secretary-General encouraging participation in the outer space treaties.

The Subcommittee also endorsed the recommendation that the Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) send a letter transmitting information on advantages of adherence to the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the Liability Convention), to all States that had not yet become parties to that Convention.

Definition and delimitation of outer space

The Working Group under this item agreed to continue to invite Member States to reply to the questionnaire on aerospace objects until a consensus on criteria for analyzing the replies could be reached by the Subcommittee. The Working Group also agreed to invite member States of COPUOS to submit information on national legislation or any national practices that might exist or were being developed, relating directly or indirectly to the definition and/or delimitation of outer space, taking into account the current and foreseeable level of the development of space and aviation technologies.

Registering property interests in space assets

Another item on the agenda of the Subcommittee were the developments concerning the draft protocol on matters specific to space assets to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment. The Convention was developed by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit), an intergovernmental organization not affiliated to the United Nations. The Convention establishes a general legal framework for registering interests in mobile high-value equipment that move across national boundaries, such as aeroplanes and trains, and would result in lower costs of securing funding for the equipment. The protocol on matters specific to space assets is aimed at establishing an international system for registering property interests in space assets, such as satellites.


The symposium examined the legal aspects of disaster management and the contribution of the law of outer space.

The symposium was jointly organized by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) of the International Astronautical Federation and the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) and was held in the afternoon of the first day of the Subcommittee session. The programme included presentations by leading experts on topics such as the challenges of access to Earth observation data for disaster management, the initial legal issues and experiences related to the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" and the legal and policy aspects of disaster management support from space in Asia.

The Subcommittee agreed to invite IISL and ECSL to organize a one-day symposium during the forty-sixth session of the Subcommittee, in 2007, that would include presentations by national and international space law institutions with emphasis on their capacity-building activities.


The Legal Subcommittee, like COPUOS, its parent committee, has the following 67 Member States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

The following inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations have permanent observer status with COPUOS: Association of Space Explorers, Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, Committee on Space Research, Regional Centre for Remote Sensing of the North African States, Eurisy, European Space Agency, European Space Policy Institute, International Academy of Astronautics, International Astronautical Federation, International Astronomical Union, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, International Law Association, International Mobile Satellite Organization, Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications, International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, International Space University, National Space Society, Space Generation Advisory Council, Spaceweek International Association and The Planetary Society.


The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. COPUOS and its two Subcommittees each meet annually to consider questions put before them by the General Assembly, reports submitted to them and issues raised by the Member States. The Committee and the Subcommittees, working on the basis of consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at http://www.unoosa.org/ .


For information contact:
Qais Sultan
Associate Programme Officer
Telephone: +43 1 26060-4962
E-mail: qais.sultan@unvienna.org


Have FAA License Will Travel

I'm not sure I understand the point of an article this week in Flight International which carried the subheader, "Washington claims right to regulate suborbital launches made by US companies anywhere around the world" and stated, "US persons or organisations operating suborbital test flights outside the USA will still have to obtain a Federal Aviation Administration permit, according to newly proposed rules."

In fact, as AST makes clear, all commercial launches taking place within U.S. borders as well as conducted abroad by U.S. entities require FAA licenses.

I read the word "still" to mean nothing has changed. Which would be true. As Jeff Foust
correctly pointed out on his new blog, this is not "another case of imperialist American hegemony" (love it when Mr. Space politics gets political) but a continuation of existing US policy. Jeff's examples of outside U.S. launch activities licensed by FAA: Hyshot (cool scramjet), and of course, Sea Launch.

Even the FI article notes, "under existing international treaties, governments are responsible for launches made by their citizens or legal entities beyond their own borders." Correct. (Let's see...there's the
Outer Space Treaty, for starters.)

The article appears to refer to the new proposed rules on experimental permits for reusable suborbital vehicles. (OK, it's true, here in blogspace we've paid more attention to the FAA's other implementation of provisions of the CSLAA in the NPRM,
Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants.)

First, for FAA's authority to issue rules regarding space transportation, see, 49 U.S.C. Subtitle IX, chapter 701,
49 U.S.C. 70101-70121 (Chapter 701) which provides for the Secretary of Transportation to authorize the FAA's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation to oversee, license, and regulate both launches and reentries of launch and reentry vehicles, and the operation of launch and reentry sites when carried out by U.S. citizens or within the United States (my emphasis). Section 70105 creates the FAA's new permit authority.

And the
Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (CSLAA) (signed into law December 23, 2004) establishes an experimental permit regime for developmental reusable suborbital rockets, which is the subject of the rulemaking.

And here are the proposed rules, briefly mentioned in Flight International:
Experimental Permits for Reusable Suborbital Rockets (14 CFR, Part 437). As set forth therein, a permit is available as an alternative to licensing for operators of reusable suborbital rockets, defined by CSLAA as vehicles "rocketpropelled in whole or in part, intended for flight on a suborbital trajectory, and the thrust of which is greater than its lift for the majority of the rocket-powered portion of ascent." 49 U.S.C. 70102. See AST's criteria for reusable suborbital rockets to be eligible for experimental permits (§ 437.5) and scope of an experimental permit (§ 437.7). Permits last for one year (apply to renew) and are not transferable. See subpart B for Requirements To Obtain an Experimental Permit.

More on the proposed rule to come. For now, under § 413.3, here is "Who must obtain a license or permit" to launch a vehicle or operate a launch site within or outside the United States, which includes a "person who is a U.S. citizen or an entity organized under the laws of the United States or any State;" and see rule about "a foreign entity in which a United States citizen has a controlling interest;" and (f) a person, individual, or foreign entity otherwise requiring a license under this section may instead obtain an experimental permit to launch or reenter a reusable suborbital rocket under part 437 of this chapter.

Read the whole proposed rule. All exercise of FAA/AST authority appears to be in keeping with US law, policy, and international treaty obligations. And the FAA, as always, welcomes comments. Submit yours electronically on DOT's docket Web site, docket number FAA-2006-24197, by May 30, 2006. No worries, you don't have to fly experimental reusable suborbital vehicles to comment.

* * *

By the way, I must take this opportunity to congratulate Jeff on his new blog, Personal Spaceflight. Another cool Foust production.


Scenes from the Journal

It's great to have friends at important places, like the University of Mississippi. Yesterday, although it wasn't my birthday, I received in the mail a box filled with not roses or champagne, cookies or candy, but something more exciting and cooler -- a few dozen pristine back issues of the illustrious Journal of Space Law.

Wow. My thanks to Journal editor-in-chief Prof. Joanne Gabrynowicz, and her assistant Julie Baker. It's not the complete collection, but this is indeed a box of gems, and a slice of space law history.

I see articles I last read in law school (exactly 78,964 years ago). And a look back through the volumes quickly confirms over the years everybody who's anybody in space law has written for the Journal. Folks like of course, Stephen Gorove and Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, as wall as Frans G. von der Dunk, Edward R. Finch, Jr., Carl Q. Christol, Eilene M. Galloway, Paul G. Dembling, Bin Cheng, Pamela L. Meredith and Glenn H. Reynolds, to name just a few luminaries.

The coverage, as always, is international. The perspective is cosmic. From the first volume of the Journal published in 1973, topics have included law, policy, regulation and politics of space programs, satellites, remote sensing, space stations, moon and Mars missions, international cooperation, exploration, launch vehicles, insurance, finance, military space, UN activities, space colonies, commercialization, new ventures, tourism and more. The publication regularly features updates on case law, as well as book reviews and commentary.

In the Journal's 25th anniversary issue in 1998, Prof. Vladlen S. Vereshchetin wrote, the "Journal of Space Law takes pride of place among the legal periodicals dealing with the issues of law relating to the exploration and use of outer space. In fact, it is the only legal journal in the world devoted exclusively to this fascinating new discipline." This remains true.

I'm looking forward to the Journal's 2006 issues. As I've
mentioned, as we await Journal availability on Lexis and Westlaw (long overdue, and that's my only complaint), as well as updates to the Journal's web page, you can purchase individual articles as well as back copies -- just send a note to Joanne, jsl@olemiss.edu.

(But don't ask Joanne for those famous recent photos of her speaking in Saudi Arabia wearing an abaya. So far she has declined to release the images for Web consumption. However, I'm slowly wearing her down on this.... ;)


Planet Spaceport

Beyond beautiful New Mexico, there's been lots of action on the spaceports front. From Wisconsin -- where, as Jeff Foust reports, Governor Jim Doyle's signing legislation Friday to establish the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority marks "the first step (maybe) towards the creation of a commercial spaceport in the state," -- to Dubai, Singapore, and back to the US again.

Clark Lindsey reports on
a California bill that seeks a $11 million loan for a Mojave Spaceport "passenger terminal to house training facilities and other customer amenities for commercial spaceflight operations, as well as a hangar to be used for research and development activities."

Clark also points to an item confirming Oklahoma is in "the final stages of obtaining a spaceport license" from the FAA.

In The Space Review this week, Taylor Dinerman writes on the ongoing
battle of the new spaceports.

And here's a cool addition to blogspace. You may have wondered when some forward thinking, hotshot blogger-type -- perhaps even a lawyer, why not? -- might start a blog devoted exclusively to spaceports. Well, one has. Check out the prosaically named blog,
Spaceports, brought to us by blogging lawyer Jack Kennedy of Wise, Virginia. To quote straight from Jack's blog, "Spaceports will enable thousands of people from around the world to go to outer space. The Spaceports Blog will endeavor to provide information linking those with interest in the pursuit of space to spaceport development and the vehicles that fly from them." Cool blogport, Jack!


Future space

Phil Bowermaster over at The Speculist, is right -- predicting the future can be addictive.

Here are some of the space-related predictions posted thus far at

  • Shortly after the space elevator opens, a new sport will be introduced -- extreme base jumping. Daredevils will leap from the structure at some point above the atmostphere wearing (highly) heat resistant pressurized suits and a parachute.

  • The Moon will be to the Earth what Hong Kong is to China.

  • When humans encounter aliens for the first time, goth will finally become uncool and ET-ware will become the new "black".

  • When humans encounter aliens for the first time, everything will change. Suddenly, everyone from earth will have a lot more in common than we did before.

  • Once the new subdivisions open up out in the Oort Cloud, the asteroid belt will become a ghost town. Probably not much more populated than it is today.

  • To importance of space to the world's economy will explode after the first space elevator is implemented.

  • Colonization of Mars will be slow because of the long expensive travel time required to get there. Despite the romance, the fairly hazardous conditions will cause most of those with required skills to opt out making it harder for the colony to become self-sufficient.

    Phil invites everyone to go over and post their own visions of the future.

    (Of course, not all predictions concern space; for example:

  • All countries will be united in the Earth Confederation. And the last super power, the country with more influence over the world, will be Mexico.

  • In the future, nobody will have a job, and it won't matter.

  • When everybody has a flying car, it just won't mean as much.


  • In terms of popularity, sex in full-immersion virtual reality environments will quickly and permanently surpass all other forms of recreation. ;)

  • 4.13.2006


    As China rises, so does the blood pressure of those in Congress and elsewhere who worry about a new threat to US space supremacy from the mammoth nation to our East.

    In The Space Review this week,
    Jeff Foust writes, "[i]n the eyes of at least some members of the subcommittee [that questioned Mike Griffin in the House on March 30th], the US and China are engaged in a new space race, one that America is in danger of losing.

    However, Dr. Foust adds, "on closer examination, it appears that many of these concerns are based on misinterpreted or simply inaccurate information about China's space program. Moreover, using the threat of Chinese space capabilities to increase NASA's budget could have deleterious effects for the space agency in the longer term." Jeff points to "often contradictory, confusing, exaggerated, or just plain incorrect" information about the Chinese program as reported in the Chinese state-run and other media. Then he reviews the clearer, cooperative and much less threatening message brought to Washington last week by Luo Ge, vice administrator of China National Space Administration (CNSA). Read Jeff's article.

    (And Jeff notes that Griffin, who received an invitation to visit China, will "perform a 30-day unclassified study for the subcommittee" on China's space capabilities.)

    Leonard David also filed an overview yesterday on
    U.S.-China Cooperation: The Great Space Debate.

    And more views here:
    Special Report: Emerging China, Engaging China by Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, in Ad Astra (via Space.com).

    By the way, here is a chart of
    China's milestones in space since 1955 (via Space.com). We've all come a long way.


    Cheers and Nostrovia

    And happy Yuri's Night to the world.


    Big Bucks from Boeing

    No good deed should go unblogged.

    The Boeing Company has donated $15 million to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum "in continued support of its education and preservation efforts." According to the museum, Boeing's gift represents "the single largest corporate gift ever presented to the Smithsonian Institution."

    A fine gift to a gem of a museum.

    On a personal note, last night I calculated the itemized deductions for my 2005 tax filings, and while I was not disappointed in my total charitable giving for the year, I came away feeling I could have been even more generous; this year I strive to do more.

    Of course, I am not a Fortune 500 corporation. And I understand a lot of big guns in good corporate giving have themselves begun to take philanthropy more seriously.

    What is the business case for corporate giving? According to the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) (whose "membership is reserved to CEOs and Chairpersons of the world's largest and most well-regarded corporations from a diverse and broad range of industry sectors," and includes American Express, Cisco Systems, Citigroup, DuPont, General Electric, Halliburton, Hershey Foods, IBM, Mitsubishi, Sprint, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, Xerox, many others):
    Once considered a limited corporate function, informally guided by the personal interests of top senior executives, many corporate philanthropy programs appear to be currently undergoing an extensive transformation. Multiple aspects of individual corporate giving programs – including strategy, operations, partnerships and communications – are being revised to reflect a new emphasis on business and social impact. As a result of these developments, corporate giving officers must navigate new challenges and opportunities, both internally and within the broader philanthropic space.

    And CECP has an interesting new 42-page report,
    Exploring Corporate Philanthropy (Jan. 2006): "designed as a learning tool and resource for giving professionals," the report summarizes interviews with philanthropic executives at 31 CECP member companies, and discusses best practices, quick tips, and "key trends that directly impact the management of corporate giving programs." Happy giving.

    Charity begins at home and in space museums.


    Spring Cleaning & Orbital Junk

    Did a bit of spring cleaning this weekend. I don't know about at your house but my clothes and shoe closet alone is ongoing proof of the second law of thermodynmics.

    Near space exhibits similar problems. And just in time for spring inventory and purge, here's a good, tidy update from
    Futron on space junk mitigation efforts: Orbital Debris Mitigation: Regulatory Challenges and Market Opportunities (March 15, 2006).

    Noting that "[s]ince 2000, the number of on-orbit objects larger than a bowling ball has increased by nearly 10 percent, with the United States and Russia each contributing approximately 40 percent of the total debris," Futron briefs us on orbital debris mitigation practices, policies and regulations at NASA, which "has been at the forefront of orbital debris mitigation efforts in the U.S. government," as well as related efforts at DoD, FCC, NOAA and FAA.

    And the paper notes, in the international regulatory arena, "orbital debris mitigation activities are increasingly becoming a coordinated international effort lead by IADC [Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee], rather than a country-level effort."

    As to a future policy and regulatory scenario:

    United States government agencies generally anticipate that current orbital debris mitigation guidelines and regulations will face more rigorous enforcement in the next five years. Within the DoD, some observers expect that there will likely be greater efforts to encourage compliance with existing guidelines, but not in the form of strictly enforced rules. Like the DoD guidelines, the current NASA standards for mitigation are not expected to change significantly in the near future, but they are expected to be enforced more comprehensively. NASA plans to release new Procedural Requirements for orbital debris mitigation in 2006, which will emphasize taking direct action to minimize debris risk and more seriously applying NASA requirements to every mission. NASA is working to coordinate its increased mitigation efforts at both the national and international level with other U.S. government agencies and intergovernmental groups. At present there is no pending legislation that would establish any new orbital debris regulations affecting DoD or NASA missions, policies, or procedures. As described above, the FCC recently revised its regulatory requirements for debris mitigation and expects to maintain this new level of oversight and enforcement at least for the near term. NOAA and FAA expect to continue their current level of oversight and enforcement of orbital debris mitigation at least for the near term.

    Alas, trying to keep things tidy is endlessly challenging.


    Got Space Insurance?

    With suborbital space tourism about to take off, a whole new market for the space insurance industry is opening up. Leave it to Lloyd's to step in.

    This week an item on the Lloyd's Web site referred to
    talks between the underwriter and Virgin Galactic, which is seeking coverage for its launches from New Mexico scheduled for 2008. (Link via Hobbyspace.)

    Lloyd's has a reputation for specialty underwriting of complex and unusual risk. As to issues raised in the press blurb by Bruno Ritchie, director of the aerospace division at Hiscox (a Lloyd's syndicate) including whether Virgin Galactic's risk is an aviation risk or a space risk, etc., no question the underwriters can work these out.

    One good example of Lloyd's underwriting space business: Sea Launch, which "presented the insurance industry with a unique challenge combining both space and marine risks." According to Lloyd's, the "complex and comprehensive" Sea Launch coverage included "hull, liability, cargo, aviation and space . . . all aspects of the risk other than the satellites themselves, which were insured by their respective owners."

    (By the way, it bears mention here that
    Willis' space insurance group is in the news this week, too, as Inspace announced the opening of its new office in France, which will focus on "providing space insurance and aerospace consulting services with a primary focus on continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa.")

    The FAA has a short
    overview of space insurance from a few years ago (2002) that is still instructive.

    I note that individual states' insurance departments have their own views on space insurance matters. This is not about suborbital space tourism insurance, but for some reason I saved an opinion issued by the Office of General Counsel representing the position of the
    New York State Insurance Department on satellite insurance. In brief, in case you were wondering, the term "aircraft" includes satellites ( N.Y. Ins. Law § 1113(a)(19) and § 2117(c)(1) (McKinney 2000 & Supp. 2003); an unauthorized insurer may write insurance in New York to cover physical damage to the satellite and legal liability arising out of the launch and orbit of satellite through an excess line broker (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit.11, § 27 (2001) (Regulation 41); while coverage for legal liability comes within the exemption under N.Y. Ins. Law § 2117(c)(1), coverage for physical damage to the satellite itself does not; and, no, a broker not licensed in New York may not sell satellite insurance in New York by associating with a New York licensed insurance broker. Or maybe you weren't wondering at all?

    (Ok, I just felt like posting that. But please don't e-mail asking me for a 50-state compilation of space insurance opinions. Hey, it's Friday.)

    Have a super (if not risk-free) weekend.


    Vienna Space '06

    As I blog this morning, the Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is gathered and hard at work in Vienna at its 45th Session (April 3-13, 2006).

    The Legal Subcommittee's
    agenda this year includes some familiar issues:
  • registering space objects;
  • definition and delimitation of outer space;
  • status of the five United Nations treaties on outer space;
  • registering property interests in space assets.

    In addition, a symposium put together by the International Institute of Space Law and the European Centre for Space Law held the first day of the Session addressed disaster management support from space and the well-used
    Space and Major Disasters International Charter.

    A Space Law Probe super-quick refresher on the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS): In response to the launch of
    Spunik-1, in 1958 the UN General Assembly created an ad hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (resolution 1348 (XIII)) and the next year, the GA established the Committee, which had 24 members at that time, as a permanent body (resolution 1472 (XIV)) "to review the scope of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space."

    Each of COPUOS's two Subcommittees -- the Legal Subcommittee, and the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee -- meet annually to work on issues put before them by the General Assembly and members states, and on the basis of consensus, make recommendations to the General Assembly.

    And today, with 67 members, COPUOS is one of the largest Committees in the United Nations.

    This is the report of the
    44th session held last year. And if you are really into this stuff, here is a collection of recent Legal Subcommitee reports (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian Spanish).

    The UN office that implements the decisions of the General Assembly and COPUOS and its two Subcommittees is the
    Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), situated in Vienna. OOSA's mission is to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

  • 4.05.2006

    Satellite Industry Deals: Cash or Stock?

    It's official: satellite operator SES Global completed its acquisition of 100% of New Skies Satellites for $1.15 billion ($22.52 per share).

    As planned, New Skies becomes "the third satellite infrastructure pillar of SES GLOBAL providing international satellite services, alongside SES Astra in Europe, and SES Americom in North America."

    So... In this era of satellite industry consolidation, you may find yourself wondering, what are the "dynamics underlying an acquirer's offer of cash versus stock" for deals such as SES Global's acquisition of New Skies, or Intelsat's acquisition of PanAmSat in a $3.2 billion deal?

    Glad you asked. For you satellite industry mergers & acquisitions watchers, in his monthly "Dollars and Sense" column in Via Satellite,
    part I and part II, Owen D. Kurtin, partner in the New York offices of Brown Raysman, who specializes in tech, communications and corporate law, looks at issues facing acquirers in deciding how to structure these now seemingly commonplace transactions.


    From Central Park to Space

    As the space world buzzes about the launch of SpaceShot, Sam Dinkin's much-anticipated online venture that offers to everyone $3 chances to compete for spaceship rides, I am delighted about the Space-shot.com skill challenge, announced this week: To win a coveted suborbital ride on Rocketplane's space plane, you gotta predict the weather in Central Park, New York City.

    Intriguing. Many millions of NYC dwellers as well as visitors from around the globe tune in to news and travel outlets daily for the city's weather forecasts and reports, continually recorded by the
    National Weather Service, in the lush green heart of the Big Apple that is Central Park.

    My apartment happens to be five blacks from the Park at 78th Street. I have spent many beautiful Sunday afternoons in the 843-acre Park, biking, playing frisbee and ball games, walking dogs, listening to concerts (as well as doing some things around my favorite places in the Park, like the Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, Bethesda Fountain, the Ramble, Bandshell, etc. that I won't mention here.)

    Do I have a home court advantage? I hope so. ;) (Hey, I read the terms and conditions. Nothing says lawyers can't play.) In any case, you don't have to be a native NYC'er to dig into
    seasonal weather averages for Central Park, the Gothamist's weather archives, quickly updated current weather conditions, and lots more data.

    But of course, the weather in NYC, like everything else that happens in this town, is tricky to predict.

    Good luck to SpaceShot contestants around the world. And hats off to Sam Dinkin for helping to make access to personal space travel as fun and open as, well, a walk in the Park.


    Global Adventures in Space Law

    Way back in January, to start off 2006, I posted a roundup of coming attractions in space law. (Later I added posts covering a bunch of other events such as the ECSL's practitioners forum, a new space law continuing legal education course, and more.)

    Now it's April; those happenings are history. Space-time sure flies. Ready for some new space law events to plug into your handheld?

    This time, a quick line-up of global (non US) space law-related activities, coming soon (or starting today) on the home planet, if you feel like jetting around.

    (And if you're looking for a few US space-related destinations, scroll down. Me? I'm stuck in NYC most of the time and never do manage to get out enough. Oh well.)

    (By the way, hat tip to the International Institute of Space Law's newsletter No. 69 (December 2005), and the European Centre for Space Law for some of this information.)

    I will post updates, changes and additional links, as available.

    * * *

  • UN Legal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Forty-fifth Session
    April 3-13, 2006,
    Vienna, Austria
    Check out the provisional
    And here is the
    Daily Journal for the session.
    (Wish I could be there today; greetings to all now gathering in Vienna.)

  • Yuri's Night
    April 12, 2006
    (World space party marking the dawn of human spaceflight; had to include it. After all, space lawyers love to party, too.)

  • Towards a Legal Framework for Space Activities and Applications: Belgian, Comparative, and European Perspectives
    April 26, 2006,
    Brussels, Belgian Senate

  • UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Forty-ninth Session
    June 6-17, 2006
    Vienna, Austria

  • Workshop on Space Law
    Royal Centre for Remote Sensing (CRTS), European Center for Space Law (ECSL)
    June 23, 2006
    Rabat, Morocco

  • IASL– IISL International Interdisciplinary Workshop On Policy and Law Relating to Outer Space Resources: The Example of the Moon, Mars and Other Celestial Bodies
    June 28-30, 2006
    Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University
    Montreal, Canada

  • NSS-ISU Forum in Strasbourg
    August 3-5, 2006
    A "joint forum on the potential of space exploration and development for the world" hosted by the International Committee of the National Space Society and the International Space University.

  • 4th Regional Space Law Conference
    August 6-8, 2006
    Bangkok, Thailand
    According to IISL's
    newsletter, the conference will be hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology of Thailand and "IISL will cooperate with the Space Law & Policy Centre of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. This conference is the fourth in a series of regional space law conferences initiated in 2001 with the aim of bringing space law and policy specialists together in a specific region to discuss topics of particular interest to that region...."

  • 15th ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy
    September 4-15, 2006
    Noordwijk, The Netherlands

  • 49th Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space
    (International Institute of Space Law)
    October 2-6, 2006
    Valencia, Spain
    - Legal aspects of space transportation and launching;
    - Legal aspects of disaster management;
    - International cooperation in space activities, with special focus on remote
    - Space law at times of armed conflict;
    - Other legal matters, including the relationship between government and private sector in space activities.

    And the
    15th Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition 2006 (Galatea v Thalassa: Proteus Intervening) semi-finals and finals will take place during the IISL Colloquium in Valencia. (And check here for details on Moot Court regional rounds taking place in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific.)

  • 57th International Astronautical Congress
    Oct. 2-6, 2006
    Valencia, Spain

  • Legal and Ethical Aspects of Space Exploration
    October 26-27, 2006
    UNESCO, Paris
    This conference will "focus on the exploration of outer space having regard to the plans announced by certain space agencies, such as NASA's Vision for Space Exploration and ESA’s Aurora programme."

  • 50th IISL Colloquium
    October 2007
    New Delhi, India
    But wait, we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves. (And I should at least wait until the case is written before blogging about the 16th Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition to be held at the colloquium in 2007...)

    * * *

    By the way, on the US side, of course, today is day one of the
    22nd National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado. A big event.

    And tomorrow,
    Space Billionaires: Educating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs, a forum presented by the Center for Technology Commercialization at the USC Marshall School of Business at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, Los Angeles.

    Space Access '06 takes place April 20-22, 2006 in Phoenix Arizona.

    And coming up May 4-7, 2006, swing back over to L.A where the National Space Society and the Planetary Society co-host the
    International Space Development Conference, the first day of which brings us the 2006 Space Venturing Forum.

    As always, look for legal tracks or panels at the big, annual space conventions and gatherings.

    Lots more to come.... And please do e-mail me with anything I'm missing, your updates, new announcements, etc.

    If only we each had a personal rocket to get around in, eh?

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