Postcard from the new edge...
And now, a quick overview of just a few noteworthy developments as I catch up with last week:
* In what was supposed to be a slow space law week, FAA/AST issued its final licensing and safety requirements for launch of unmanned commercial expendable rockets at both federal and non-federal launch sites (14 CFR Parts 401, 406, 413, 415, and 417; August 25, 2006). These regs, which go into effect next year, reflect the collaboration between the FAA and Department of Defense. As AST chief Patricia Grace Smith noted, “For the first time, the regulations on commercial launches will have common standards applied by the FAA and the Air Force.” And no, I did not read the 220-page Federal Register publication when I got back from Cape Cod at midnight last night. Thanks guys!
* Finally, Futron updated its oft-quoted 2002 space tourism market survey with this new white paper on suborbital space tourism demand (Aug. 24, 2006). Jeff Foust has comments.
* Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Like it or not, a little democracy goes a loooooong way: Over at the IAU, Pluto got dwarfed. (And naturally, the High Council of the Union of Plutonic States got mad. Via NASA Watch.)
* The Personal Spaceflight Federation has relaunched. Now here's a great gathering of folks we simply cannot leave the home planet without.
* The Wall Street Journal interviewed Clark Lindsey on commercial space. (sub. req'd.)
* Lightning struck. (UPDATE: Atlantis takes cover.)
* Alan Boyle went comparison shopping for big science.
* Yes, Ms. Ansari gets to fly! (As Anousheh says, Be the change.)
* Space adventures goes to China. (Via HobbySpace)
* Orion's the name.
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Whew. I need another vacation. For now, to mark the 4th birthday of my niece, Sage, who actually taught me the Planet Song (from Blue's Clues) when she was about two:
Well, the sun's a hot star,
Mercury's hot too.
Venus is the brightest planet,
Earth's home to me and you.
Mars is the red one,
Jupiter's most wide.
Saturn's got those icy ring's, and Uranus spins on its side.
Neptune's really windy, and Pluto's really small.
Well, you wanted to name the planets, and now you've named them all!