Friday Flybys - 9.07.07

I'd love to sip a hot latte while waiting for a space flight at this cool terminal. (I couldn't tell from the designs released this week but hopefully there will be a Starbucks at shiny new Spaceport America. ;)


  • Spying begins at home?: Not so fast. After a hearing yesterday on "Turning Spy Satellites on the Homeland," chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) of the Homeland Security Committee, along with other irate-sounding lawmakers, sent a letter to Michael Chertoff calling for a "moratorium" on planned expanded domestic use of military satellite imagery by DHS's new National Applications Office until "the many Constitutional, legal and organizational questions it raises are answered." However the Wall Street Journal reports today a DHS spokesman said the "objections are unlikely to stop the rollout of the program next month."

  • Big brother and Big Boss?: Never mind domestic spying, how about super intrusive background checks? Twenty-eight personally offended scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have brought a lawsuit against NASA in connection with purportedly ask-anything employment background checks. (Via NASA Watch)

  • (From our "Something better to do with satellites than spy on Americans" file)... Space radio merger tidbits: XM and Sirius this week certified they are in substantial compliance with the government's Second Request (under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act for you antitrust novices) (and that monster filing must have blown the last precious weeks in August big time for some poor young associates; Mel Karmazin estimated photocopying alone cost $1 million, which should surprise no one who's ever worked on a Second Request...); Former FCC Chairman Mark Fowler has a piece in The New York Sun voicing his support for the merger; while Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) sent his thumbs up in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. (Hat tips, Orbitcast)

  • Keeping it clean: Of course NASA and the Outer Space Treaty want to keep harmful bacterial on Earth, thank you. (Nature.com)

  • Drunk astronauts and other urban legends: NASA Watch covers this week's hearings in connection with the Astronaut Health Report, etc. In light of findings, Mike's assessment appears correct. As I've blogged, I did not believe the drinking stories in the first place and am no longer paying attention. (Hiccup.)

  • January 2009 and beyond: Mike Snead sets forth his ambitious ideas and goals for our nation's next spacefaring administration. (First thing, all candidates should read the The Space Review each week. ;)

  • NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale blogs about financial management at the space agency. (Via SpaceRef) And anytime Shana (who is, last we checked, still a lawyer) would like to guess blog on SLP, she is most welcome...

  • In light of yet "another unwelcome delivery of hydrazine from Russia" in Kazakhstan, (by the way sincere condolences from SLP on the loss of the Proton rocket and Japanese satellite) Clark Lindsey has a few words about ELV's.

  • A lawyer in Montreal wishes to be one of the first tourists to visit a space hotel. Go for it, counselor. (And yes, Fadi now knows I am a lady, not a "gentleman." Even if I must say so myself. ;)

  • Vogue: Who will be the first space lawyer to have his or her image included in Harvard Law School's Legal Portraits Online collection? I have a few suggestions... (Send me yours or forward them to Harvard.)

  • Space lawyer as president?: Um, no. But the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog uncovers this perhaps frightening fact about lawyers as leaders of the free world -- 25 of 43 US presidents have had law degrees. And after a bit of intrepid reporting, SLP can now confirm this: none of these individuals was a space lawyer. But the millennium is young.

    (Further, Law Blog reports, the "three leading candidates in each party have law degrees and most have practiced law" -- that's Clinton, Edwards, Giuliani, Obama, Thompson, Romney. Again, not space law. Not even
    on TV. And what does this tell us? You decide.)

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

    * * *
    IMAGE: Boarding soon.

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