v = ve ln (mi/mf)

Get out your calculators and notebooks, NASA is hosting a Commercial Space Vehicles Lessons Learned Needs Workshop, September 18, 2006 in Washington, DC, to share "information from the last 50 years that will enable and aid the private sector in building future space vehicles." Or, as NASA Watch dubs it, Rockets 101.

Representatives from large and small U.S. space launch vehicle companies are invited.

Lawyers are excused.

Most lawyers, anyway. Of course, here on SLP we know lawyers who would no doubt enjoy a rocket science soiree since they are, proverbially speaking at least, rocket scientists too. (Never mind that aerospace engineer Paul Woodmansee insists, there are "aerospace engineers, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, chemists, physicists, and others who work on the design and theory of rocket propulsion," but there "is no such thing as a 'rocket scientist'." Many beg to differ.)

But as far as rocket science and technology, even most space lawyers require basic help, like NASA's
Beginner's Guide to Rockets. (That little rocket thrust simulator is kinda cool.)

And they are thankful for a chance to
Ask a Rocket Scientist a question or two; or in a panic, flip though an archive of rocket science Q&A, from Aerospaceweb.org.

When space bloggers sit around talking about new rocket technologies, cool engines, propulsion, etc., lawyers are mostly mystified. When we read things like, the "scramjet differs from the ramjet in that combustion takes place at supersonic air velocities through the engine," we can only listen in and shut up for a change.

And you won't often find us in a cafe drinking a latte with our browsers open to Dick Stafford's
rocket stories for hours on end. (Dick understands.)

Thank goodness guys like Michael Mealling at RocketForge can not only explain to us Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's famous
rocket equation, he will gladly sell anyone a mug or camisole with the equation printed on it (as above).

Some space lawyers know a lot more rocket science then they let on. (For evidence that at least one lawyer in America knows about the rocket equation, see Chapter 7, footnote 2 of this book.) However. Weight. Thrust. Lift. Drag. Alas, most members of the legal profession will admit fully their affinity for this genre of knowledge appears to be substantially less than limitless.

Dan Schrimpsher's confession, over at Space Pragmatism, a while back was noteworthy. Of course, Dan's a software engineer and computer science guy -- much smarter than a lawyer -- so when he says "I don't like rockets," meaning, he's not "enamored with them" he has a lot to fall back on. But many space industry folks relate to his point about hardcore rocket tech stuff, "Truth is I neither understand it nor enjoy it very much. I have never really gotten that delta-v thing and the difference between various engine types bores me to tears.... I refuse to even fake it. We are all about the destination here."

Well stated. And while here on SLP we love the guys who do rocket science, in the end we're happy they do it, and leave the easy space stuff to the lawyers.

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