Tuesday briefs

(Tuesday tidbits? Nah.) Well it's too early in the week for Friday Flybys, but here are a few quick items in the hopper (some new, others I seem to have set aside for the blog but hadn't gotten around to posting):

  • First, Alan Boyle reports on the terms and conditions set forth in the MOU between Virgin Galactic and New Mexico on a 20-year lease for Spaceport America. More on New Mexico Politics blog. And of course, the deal largely hinges on the county sales tax referendum. Will voters buy into the idea that spaceports are not just playgrounds for the rich and will boost not only rockets but local economies too? The first vote takes place in Doña Ana County, April 3rd. (And no, the spaceport cow can't vote.)

  • Reminder: the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Legal Subcommittee is holding its 46th session, March 26th through April 5, 2007. Greetings to all gathering in Vienna. And I'll post updates, etc. on the session later. Meanwhile, here are the Daily Journal postings.

  • What's going on with the space radio merger? So far we've had Congressional hearings, FCC filings, and a lot of noise about monopoly and competition. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin testified again on Capitol Hill, before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights (this is his prepared testimony, March 20, 2007). And for antitrust junkies, here's the 65-page consolidated application filed by Sirius and XM pursuant to Section 310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934, requesting FCC consent to the transfer of control of the FCC licenses to a new combined company (filed March 20, 2007). Meanwhile, Wall Street is skeptical about the deal. And one former FCC commissioner, Harold Furchtgott-Roth, was moved in The New York Sun to criticize the handling of the merger so far, saying: "Each congressional appearance by Mr. Karmazin has made government approval of the merger more difficult. The challenge remaining for XM and Sirius is to recover from poor management of the merger during the past month." Yes, it's a noisy deal. But can it sing?

  • If you are on or near K Street tomorrow, the Center for Strategic & International Studies is hosting FAA/AST in a one-hour long talk on space tourism regulations. Open to the public. Not for lawyers only.

  • Over at the Georgia General Assembly, a member introduced a bill (SB 299) to reform state hobby rocket law "so as to provide an exemption for model rockets when defining 'explosive' for certain purposes..." To make life easier for the rocketeers. I'm for that. Via Dick's Rocket Dungeon. (Because not everyone visits the Dungeon just for the pictures. ;)

  • A feel-good item (via Space Politics), out of the 110th Congress, 1st session -- we have this gem: H. RES. 252 "Recognizing the 45th anniversary of John Herschel Glenn, Jr.'s historic achievement in becoming the first United States astronaut to orbit the Earth." (And I had no idea his middle name was Hershel.) Resolution sponsored by, who else, Rep. Zach Space (D-Oh).

  • Thanks to all for the great blogging from Space Access ‘07 in Phoenix. (Me, I haven't traveled anywhere cool in so long I couldn't find my local airport with the help of Google Earth Pro and a squadron of Blue Angels stunt pilots.)

  • And if you see something fishy on France's formerly secret UFO site that you think you can explain, don't e-mail a space lawyer. (And if ET is here, I sure hope he or she speaks French.)

  • * * *
    IMAGE: Richard Branson and kids from elementary school in Las Cruces fire model rockets on the site of the spaceport. Courtesy, Spaceport America.

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