Friday Flybys - 11.30.07

First, SLP joins folks around the globe including everybody here in blogspace in congratulating CNSA and the people of China on the success of the lunar probe Chang'e I. And thanks for the lovely Moon image.

祝贺 ;)

Now, in typically random fashion, the Flybys (and on an actual Friday, yet ... what is getting into this blog?)

  • GAO Space: Yes, for GAO report mavens (and who among us is not one?) here is the prosaically titled, NASA Agency Has Taken Steps Toward Making Sound Investment Decisions for Ares I but Still Faces Challenging Knowledge Gaps, dig in. (GAO-08-51 Oct. 2007.) Or you can read this comment on Hobbyspace. And here is House Science and Technology Committee chairman Bart Gordon's (D-TN) reaction to the "mix of good news and not-so-good news." (Hat tip: NASA Watch)

  • COMSTAC minutes: The Oct 11th meeting, in which Deputy Secretary of Transportation Thomas J. Barrett said "commercial space transportation generates $100 billion of economic activity and supports half a million jobs." Wow. (Unfortunately he offered no estimate regarding what portion of all this may go to space lawyers.)

  • This blog is not Space Medicine Probe: But an interesting item (among a bunch of other interesting stuff) from the above-mentioned meeting minutes -- George Nield noted AST will be signing a Memorandum of Cooperation with FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine, which has been helping AST with medical safety issues and training. An astro-apple a day...

  • Google NASA: Two years after signing a memorandum of understanding, followed by a Space Act Agreement, SF Gate has an update on the collaboration between Earth's biggest space agency and, you know, that nice little company we've all seen here and there on the Internet.

  • Launch talk: If you missed Satellite TODAY's showcase of interviews with executives of a top launch service providers, catch up now with Rob Peckham of Sea Launch, Jean-Yves Le Gall of Arianespace, Ken Heinly of Boeing, Frank McKenna of ILS, G Madhavan Nair of ISRO and David Markham of Lockheed Martin -- talking about market issues and more.

  • Fun with space station law: Don't worry if you missed the Slashdot rockin' discussion on whose law applies on ISS which did generate hundreds of comments, most but not all of which were along the lines of "Space truly is the final frontier [of litigation]" and "when the Borg attack I shall use lawyers as my shield." Really.

  • Space radio deal follies: Washington Post slams NAB for submitting thousands of anti-merger e-mails to FCC that may have been generated by pop-up ads. (Not exactly a new tactic: fake citizen lobbying of lawmakers.) There are better ways to contest a merger. Meanwhile, Bear Stearns, for one, is reporting that a DOJ decision on the deal could come by Monday. (Followed of course by FCC's ruling.) Antennas up.

  • More air than space: From the ABA Forum on Air & Space Law's gathering in Memphis, Tennessee last month, here are the remarks of Jeffrey N. Shane, Department of Transportation Under Secretary for Policy, who begins with some interesting comments about space. But then veers off into...air. (We get that a lot.)

  • Hot event reminder: The 2nd Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law - International Civil Space Cooperation: Obstacles and Opportunities , Dec. 6th, at the Cosmos Club, Washington D.C. (like last year). It's not too late to register. (Or, if you show up at the last minute, bring a NY Mets t-shirt for Joanne and she may let you in ;). Another excellent offering from our friends in Mississippi.

  • Spaceport at Cecil Field: The Jacksonville Aviation Authority "is about six months away from filing its final piece of paperwork." (Hat tip: HobbySpace.) (And I want a spaceport in my hometown too.)

  • Owen's satellites: Telecom counsel Owen Kurtin of Dickstein Shapiro has a year-end overview of "satellite industry subsectors and where they are going. (Hi, Owen.)

  • Shana blogs NASA and Small Business.

  • Moon musings: Frans G. Von der Dunk's "The Moon Agreement and the Prospect of Commercial Exploitation of Lunar Resources" Annals of Air and Space Law Vol. XXXII (2007) (subscription) (Hi, Frans!)

  • Elect space: Alas, so many lawyers but so few space lawyers running for president. Of course, Mike Huckabee is not the first guy running for high office to suggest putting a lawyer on the first rocket to Mars. I leave it to other bloggers to analyse the space policy and spending plans (no to mention other positions) of the candidates. (I'll try restraint.) Meanwhile, Slate's Emily Bazelon reports on the lawyers who are advising the lawyer-candidates. That's right, none of the legal advisers are space lawyers either. (Hat tip: Carolyn Elefant.)

  • Entrepreneurship 101: Rocky Persaud, Chair of the Canadian Space Commerce Association, says space startups need a business accelerator. (The Space Review, Nov 26, 2007.) And I would add, good legal advice, too.

  • Speaking of entrepreneurship, SLP concurs -- no better role model than this guy: Elon Musk is Entrepreneur of the Year. (And Auntie Jesse says, big congrats to the father of triplets!)

  • Biggest law firm in the US: Surprise, it's DLA Piper, topping the 2007 NLJ chart (sub. req'd.) with 3,623 attorneys, edging past Baker & McKenzie which was the number one biggest firm (that's in in number of lawyers, not necessarily revenues or profits) for almost 30 years. But do they do space law? Yup.

  • Congratulations to Tanja Masson-Zwaan on becoming president of the International Institute of Space Law (as of Jan. 1, 2008)! Looking forward to lots more great things, as always, from IISL.

  • COTS second round: SPACEHAB and t/space. (Hat tips: Clark Lindsey.)

  • Speaking of COTS, this blog is not Space War Probe: But the third quarter issue of MilsatMagazine focuses on COTS business.

  • Newspace and the "Netscape moment": Leonard David overviews things (Space News).

  • V-Prize visions: Zip over to lawyer and great guy Jack Kennedy's Spaceports, for v-cool news on the V-Prize challenge. Much more on all this v-biz to come.

  • HSPD-12 litigation update: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Dec. 5th on the injunction "in the case of 28 Caltech employees at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who filed suit to prevent unreasonable personal background checks." Briefs and responses here. Really, NASA. How about checking into the background of the universe instead.

  • Galileo deal: Jeff Foust has an update.

  • Space Investment Summit 3, Dec. 5-6, 2007 in San Jose, CA. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

  • Big Mr. B: Air & Space's profile of Robert Bigelow includes some insights into the company's dealings with NASA in connection with the licensing of Transhab technology. Mike Gold, Bigelow’s corporate counsel in Washington said NASA had been "resistant to private sector development," and more cooperative during the transfer process. Now, Mike says, NASA's relations with Bigelow are "excellent." Also metioned are Bigelow's own patents. Dig in.

  • Gerry Oberst of Hogan & Hartson on Protecting C-Band Satellite Operations.

  • LOST in space: I did not know about this but an astute SLP reader (and aren't they all?) sends over a link to this NSS White Paper: Rejecting the Law of the Sea Treaty (LoST) (Oct 2007). Their position: "The National Space Society believes that the United States should reject the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (LoST). We believe that the Senate should not ratify LoST because it subjects the U.S. and other nations to unnecessary and counterproductive international authority; sets a bad precedent for signing other, more restrictive “common heritage of mankind” treaties; inhibits the future development of space resources; and is in fact unnecessary since the U.S. already complies with the portions of the Treaty that do NOT inhibit resource development." (Thanks, Reginald.)

  • Whose our blog daddy? Yes, a space law professor who also wrote the top selling space law book on Amazon (among only a few zillion other things) is the world's best individual blogger. But only in his spare time. (And yes he reads Space Law Probe.)

  • Trivia: What is the ringtone on Bob Bigelow's cell phone? (You can ask Mike Gold, but according to Air & Space, it's Yippie-yi-yo, Yippie-yi-yay, the chorus from the 'cowboy ballad' Ghostriders in the Sky.)

  • Finally, the joke about "a blood-sucking mosquito lawyer" in Bee Movie, (as referenced today by brave Peter Lattman in the WSJ's Law Blog) is not about space lawyer.

    That's it. Enjoy this Hubble
    holiday image of the nearby spiral galaxy M74 "resembling festive lights on a holiday wreath." (Via Alan Boyle at Cosmic Log.)

    And have a probing weekend.

    * * *
    IMAGE: In honor of Elon Musk, I had to pull out this great shot of Falcon in front of FAA in Washington. Love it. (But hey SpaceX, SLP supports whatever you guys do, just don't try to park that thing in front of my building on 78th Street in Manhattan.)

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