Friday Flybys - 10.19.07

As severe rain and other kinds of storm activity rips through the East Coast here, some quick and hopefully dry Flybys....

First, from The Space Review:

  • Stagnant Space Treaty? Yes, another thoughtful critique (the third in four weeks, unless I missed a few) of the now 40-year old Outer Space Treaty in one of our favorite weekly publications here in blogspace, The Space Review (which, despite any rumors to the contrary, does not necessarily find itself contemplating changing its name to the The Space Treaty Review). This week, Jessica West of Project Ploughshares (which I understand is "an agency of the Canadian Council of Churches," that "provides expertise and analysis to the Council and its members on peace and security issues, and assists them in shaping an ecumenical response to those issues") writes of the "continuing relevance of the OST as the cornerstone of outer space governance" and voices concern that "there are environmental, political, military, and technological challenges to this regime...." She contemplates the troublesome Chinese ASAT test in light of the Treaty's unused provisions for international consultation if a planned activity could cause harmful interference to other states. Her point: "The OST, while more or less observed, is not engaged, and risks growing stagnant. After 40 years it is time for a review of the letter, spirit, and application of the OST so that it can continue to guide the international community towards the type of security in outer space that can support the fulfillment of our imaginations.

    And from The Space Review last week (yes, I'm catching up; and no mention of the Treaty here):

  • Regs, regs, regs: It ain't just FAA -- it's EPA and BATFE and "spaceport regulations, the county and state regulations, Department of Transportation regulations," and... oh yeah. Joe Latrell, CEO (rocketeer, non-lawyer) of Beyond-Earth Enterprises steps up to rebut the regulatory myth" that commercial space regulation is "virtually non-existent". Believe it, or talk to his lawyers.

    And now, don't hold your applause...

  • The International Institute of Space Law's Life Time Achievement Award goes to... Mr. K. R. Sridhara Murthi, executive director of Antrix Corporation Limited (the marketing arm of Indian Space Research Organization). The award is "presented in recognition of Mr. Sridhara Murthi’s service to the International community of nations, the International Institute of Space Law and other organisations in which he has made valuable contributions and provided sustained leadership in the furtherance of Astronautical sciences, development of International Space Law and Policy, international cooperation among scientists and lawyers of many nations throughout his distinguished career." Congratulations from SLP!

    Next, show us the funding...

  • Federal spacebucks: Right, this blog is still not Space Budget Probe, thus we turn to others for the latest on the ongoing NASA appropriations process.

    But other money matters are right us this blog's space alley...

  • Replacing Rocketplane: As the saga continues... Alan Boyle has the lowdown on NASA's termination of Rocketplane. And here is NASA's statement on opening up a new competition for COTS money.

    Meanwhile, SpaceX rockets on.

    But back to the regulators...

  • FAA at ABA: USA Today actually sent a reporter to the ABA's Forum on Air & Space Law meetup in Memphis when they heard FAA/AST chief Patti Grace Smith would be there. Other folks representing the space law side of the more than half air law conference included FAA senior attorney Laura Montgomery, and Tracey Knutson, who plainly articulated the hazardous nature of the spaceflight industry, saying, "We're going to kill some people." (And she does some of her best legal drafting and advising with that in mind.)

  • Speaking of FAA: Here's the busy agency's final Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Experimental Permits for 2007 X Prize Cup (Oct. 2007) Go Lunar Landing Challengers!

    Meanwhile, over at school space...

  • Better than we think? (I'm not sure space law education has ever been the subject of debate in the letters pages of a national publications, until now...) In Wall Street Journal this week Prof. Henry R. Hertzfeld of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University responds to Prof. Matt Schaefer of The University of Nebraska who wrote in to lament the state of American space law education. Prof. Hertzfeld has a different perspective, and his points are good. Although I did get an e-mail from a 3L at a New York law school this week who said whenever he mentioned space law, he "mostly got blank stares followed by a glimmer of recognition. NO ONE at my school could give me any advice." (Yes we do need more Professor Hertzfelds and Schaefers.)

    And a bit of Earthly politics...

  • Candidate space: Hillary came up in last week's flybys, now it's Rudy's turn. And all I can say is when he was mayor here in NYC, where we have all kinds of aliens, the Giuliani did not often get asked questions like this.

    And from the other side of Earth...

  • Red space: Apparently it takes three or more taikonauts to start a branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in space. Yang Liwei, CPC member and China's first taikonaut is planning ahead. Good thing space is a big ideological and political neighborhood. (Xinhua)

    (By the way, from SLP to China, happy 4th anniversary of the first manned space mission, launched Oct. 15, 2003.)

    Wrapping up...

  • Why yes, there is a space law question on the History of International Law Quiz. (And yes you do know the answer.)

  • Finally, strong proof of water on Mars. Oh well. After this downpour I was hoping to find a spot of dry land somewhere...

    Have a super weekend.

    Stay afloat.

    * * *
    IMAGE: Kids dig Yang Liwei's space suit; Oct. 24, 2003. [newsphoto.com.cn]

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