Friday Flybys - 11.03.06

Love this painting. (See credit below.)

  • At the recent AAS/AIAA gathering, Ms. Shana Dale, the lawyer who is the second in command at NASA, spoke on international collaboration in space: "NASA cannot carry out the exploration of the Moon and Mars on its own. We need the best ideas, and we need to leverage the capabilities of our international partners just as they want to leverage our capabilities.... During the next year, we will work with the international community to complete a framework for the global exploration strategy that will allow us to share individual agency architectures and determine a mechanism by which our exploration activities can continue to be coordinated." (Via SpaceRef)

  • Jack Kennedy at Spaceports blog reports on the Russia-India pact on GLONASS - the navigation satellite system that rivals GPS and Galileo.

  • The hobby rocket community's battle with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) over whether ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (ACPC) is properly classified as an explosive continues, and once again, the federal agency is not playing well with others. If I were Judge Walton (who is also busy presiding over the prosecution of the Vice President's chief of staff, Scooter Libby) I would not look kindly upon the tactic of filing a paper-only copy of a 1200 page administrative record at the eleventh hour giving the citizens and their lawyers only 48 days to review and respond. Rocketry Planet as well as Dick Stafford at the Rocket Dungeon reports on the latest efforts of BATFE to pull out all the stops and blow away the hobby rocketeer plaintiffs in the explosive ACPC litigation. Brilliant strategy on the part of the defendant over-zealous government agency here. Must be inspired by the fact that, as physicists like Clark will confirm, ACPC is not an explosive.

  • Speaking of all this, a reminder: public comments are due by Nov. 9 on the NPRM on Propellant Actuated Devices. Tell BATFE what you think.

  • Clark Lindsey has posted X Prize Cup 2006: A HobbySpace Special Report. Dig in.

  • Having done the research as suggested by Keith Cowing, I must report with regret that over at the Caltech bookstore, Lust in Space is apparently out of stock. What's worse, if NASA has its way, we can't have Sex in Space, either. At least not via JPL. (Which may be why Lust in Space is out of stock...?)

  • And if you hear the chant "space, space, space" along the Ohio campaign trail, it could be this, but more likely it's the campaign of a guy named Zach Space for the state's 18th district congressional seat. Which is about as much attention as space will get in this mid-term election.

  • Speaking of running, good luck to all the participants in the NYC Marathon this weekend. I'll be out of breath just watching it on TV (that is, if I even wake in time).

  • Oh yes, one more item: I tried to imagine Earth without people, but all I could think of was this. (No wonder the the Mars rover is acting angry and sad.) I agree with Glenn -- Earth with humans is fine with me. And why should Earth have all the glory? Let's spread the wealth around and send some Earthlings to space, too ;)

    Vote early, vote often.

    I am not Zack Space and I approved this blog post.

    * * *
    Image: A new Peter Max painting of the ever-smiling space explorer, Anousheh Ansari, via

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