Friday Flybys - 2.2.07

Highs and lows this week (in no apparent order, like they happen) . . .

  • Now that the Office of Special Counsel has closed its investigation into NASA chief Mike Griffin's Rotary Club remarks concerning Tom Delay's friendship (no violation), and candidate Sen. John Kerry's visit to KSC (violation), some lawyers and other folks may want to revisit the Hatch Act for federal employees (5 U.S.C. ยง 7321-7326), or at least review a list of may's and may not's under the Act, or watch a 50-minute Hatch Act video (including an intro by Special Counsel Scott Bloch). And don't let it happen again. (So far so good. Mike did not endorse any candidates during his speech at Davos.)

  • Congratulations to PlanetSpace and t/Space: Clark Lindsey comments on the Space Act agreements NASA signed with PlanetSpace and t/Space, "This can help the companies in raising money from private sources and puts them in better shape to bid for the second phase of the COTS program when NASA contracts around 2010 for regular cargo and crew delivery to the ISS."

  • Condolences to Sea Launch and SES on the unsucessful launch (and once is enough for me watching the 22-second YouTube clip of the Zenit-3SL carrying an NSS-8 satellite blowing up on the platform January 30).

  • (Is it February already?) Feb 15, 2007 is the deadline to submit your comments on the UNIDROIT Draft Space Assets Protocol.

  • Here's a quick Quick item re heads of the International Space Station partners -- Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States -- meeting at ESA Headquarters in Paris on January 23 to review ISS cooperation.

  • Ryan Zelnio covered Senator John Kyl's (R-Az) speech at the Heritage Center on China's ASAT test.

  • Big tax buzzkill. (Maybe Oracle can send the IRS to space?)

  • Speaking of taxes, Gov. Bill Richardson, who is running for president (and who isn't?) asks New Mexicans for their vote -- on a sales tax for the spaceport.

  • And more spaceport stuff: an update on PlanetSpace and Spaceport Ohio.

  • Space lawyer on The Space Show!! Jim E. Dunstan, partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Garvey Schubert Barer, visit Dr. Livingston on the air and the Web, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007, 12-1:30 PM Pacific. (What Superbowl?)

  • Propellant (APCP) litigation (Tripoli Rocketry Association and National Association of Rocketry v. United States Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) sizzles along: Both sides filed motions for summary judgment Jan 31. Here is the rocketeer plaintiffs' motion (courtesy of TRA/NAR who I think will also be posting the defendant's filing). And with the case dragging on, (I'd grant plaintiffs' motion, but I am not Judge Walton,) plaintiffs continue to accept donations to further "our goal of freeing the hobby from over burdensome, unnecessary and illegal regulation." A worthy cause indeed. (Via, Rocketry Planet and Dick's Rocket Dungeon.)

  • NASA budget updates: Check Space Politics.

  • Space.com's Leonard David talked to personal spaceflight industry folks about "steady progress" in human spaceflight for 2007. And FAA/AST's Patricia "No Substitutes for Safety" Grace "Safety First" Smith (that is her full name) called 2007 a "bridge year." And she a few things about safety. Safe, safety, safest. You know. (That's our Patti ;)

  • Speaking of FAA/AST, no reminder needed, but the Tenth Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference (tenth, already?) happens next week, February 7, 2007, at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA. (Here is the agenda. And you've heard the buzz, Anousheh Ansari is Patti Smith's keynote and special guest.

  • On that Virgin Galactic - Sweden deal, Space.com reports "Olle Norberg, head of the Swedish Space Corp. Esrange launch site in Kiruna, said the memorandum of understanding signed with Virgin Galactic calls for Swedish authorities to prepare a regulatory regime modeled on what the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is doing in the United States." Ah. More work for Swedish space lawyers. And Spaceport Sweden is now open. Cool.

  • Finally, 20 Things You Didn't Know About... Aliens (Discover via Alan Boyle)

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