Pop law

While over on YouTube today, viewing, I'll admit, one or two items not at all related to space law (hey -- it's summer), I did come across something I can share here: a video of Romanian space lawyer with the cool name, Virgiliu Pop, (author of Unreal Estate: The Men Who Sold The Moon), in an interview on a European TV show called "Europa Nova," (Nov. 11, 2006) -- and I'm pretty sure he was talking about space law stuff. Too bad not a word of it was English.

Translation please, Virg? ;)

UPDATE: And here is Mr. Pop in
another clip. This time I clearly heard the phrase "Outer Space Treaty" (which, interestingly, sounds exactly the same in Romanian).

OK, back to summer surfing the Tube.


Got immunity?

What's wrong with lawyers calling for more laws to put some lawyers out of work?

In the new commercial spaceflight industry, naturally, this happens all the time.

Just another example, AP (via MSNBC) reports on one of the
ISDC sessions in Dallas in which air and space lawyer Doug Griffith (that's a picture of him in a flight suit which I swiped off his website), an experienced military and private pilot who has litigated his share of aviation accidents, advises space tourism companies to "lobby for immunity legislation and, if there is a crash, be contrite and treat victims' families well."

Good advice.

Here is an example of the type of legislation Doug is talking about:
Virginia Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act (effective July 1, 2007).

Doug also advised, "companies can protect themselves from lawsuits by advertising the dangers of space travel — but that might turn off customers." Indeed. (On the other hand, it might also turn on some....)

By the way, if you missed him at the conference, you can
listen to Doug on The Space Show talking about spaceflight liability, waivers and lots of juicy insurance issues. (April 3, 2007)

The article also quotes Alex Tai, Virgin Galactic chief operating officer -- much cooler than a lawyer -- who also spoke at ISDC about the "inevitable disaster." (Which you my interpret as either a crash, or litigation after a crash.) Alex said he believes space tourism companies can survive it if they warn passengers of the risks the spaceship could crash. He said "customers who are given an honest assessment of the risks will not be able to successfully sue operators after a crash. And he noted "the public understands the danger of space travel after two disasters involving NASA-operated space shuttles."


Friends of Buzz

Some folks remain convinced ever-cool Buzz Aldrin went all the way to the moon to get away from lawyers. So what are we to make of his choice for lunch company in Dallas?

(Sure Buzz and the Professor are old pals. But does our astronaut hero know Glenn is now poised
"to sire a race of immortal robot lawyers"? Quick - everybody into your spacesuits!)


Friday Flybys 5.25.07

Today's Flybys come, alas, not from the International Space Development Conference in Dallas, where it seems the whole galaxy is converging; and I trust everybody there is having a blast. As I had noted earlier, space law presenters at ISDC this year include Doug Griffith, with Kerry Scarlott covering ITAR, and insurance topics with Kelly Alton and Ralph Harp. Me, I'll be watching my space feeds (especially Clark, Rand, Jeff, etc.,) for blogging from Dallas.


  • Early beach reading! As promised, Paul Breed at Unreasonable Rocket has posted his application to FAA for an experimental flight permit; including his cover letters. Paul says he is "a tiny bit queasy making all of this public" but his goal is "to try to demystify the process of doing rocketry as much as possible" and he notes, the "regulatory aspects are a key part of that process." Agreed. Thanks, Paul. We appreciate this and your hard work. And good luck!

  • Congratulations to China on joining the International Charter, Space and Major Disasters which provides "unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or man-made disasters." A fine club to join.

  • On a far less positive note... More space agency lawyers behaving badly: For the latest on the messy-and-getting-messier (if that was possible) investigation of NASA inspector general Robert Cobb, and now, destruction of the controversial April 10th meeting recordings by NASA general counsel Mike Wholley (a move which I am sure any of the many lawyers working in Mr. Wholley's office would have seriously advised against), NASA Watch has it covered (just go over and scroll down), including these statements and hearing documents. And when in doubt, it might be a smart bet to go with Keith Cowing's interpretation of Federal Records Act, here. And this is the Orlando Sentinel's report (linked all over blogspace), NASA's chief lawyer under fire. Yikes.

  • Speaking of NASA, the lawyer who is second in command at our national space agency, Ms. Shana Dale, is interviewed by Wired Science blog. Listen.

  • And even more for NASA buffs, over at Space Politics, zoom in on an excellent (and lengthy) discussion about NASA chief Griffin and his implementation of the President's Vision for Space Exploration.

  • Update on a spaceport license for Cecil Field.(The Times-Union via Jacksonville.com) (Hat tip: HobbySpace)

  • The Space Exploration Alliance's Moon-Mars Blitz on Capitol Hill takes place June 10-12, 2007. Register here. And in The Space Review, this week, Jeff interviews event chairman Chris Carberry, on citizen space lobbying efforts.

  • Speaking of space activism... "Will work for spaceflight": insights from space activist Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto (Space.com)

  • Clark has an interesting idea about virtual space tourism. He raises a good question with regard to "whether experimental flight permits during the test phase allow [space tourism companies] to make money even with only virtual passengers." Based on my reading of the experimental permit regs for-hire prohibition, §437.91, I would think it's probably a no-no. In a comment submitted to FAA, Masten Space Systems in fact asked about selling "images from onboard cameras." The FAA responded, "sale of images from onboard still or video cameras would violate Sec. 437.91." We might need further FAA comment on this. In any case, as FAA noted, an operator seeking to generate revenue may do so under a license.

  • Space law Professor Joanne Gabrynowicz comments on government censorship and security regarding the use of arial and satellite images. (San Francisco Chronicle via KnoxNews)

  • Bart Leahy reports on the space finance symposium at ISDC yesterday. (Space.com)

  • Take a spin on the Carnival of Space #4 (Universe Today) At some point I'd like to host a carnival here on SLP. (Uh oh. There goes the carny hood.)

  • Alan Boyle looks at timetables of suborbital space tourism companies: Dude, where's my spaceship?

  • Speaking of looking ahead: FAA has posted its 2007 Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts (May 2007)

  • Finally, for the SLP record, Slater & Gordon, which made history on Monday when it listed itself on the Australian Stock Exchange thus becoming the first law firm in the world to go public, does not have a space law practice.

  • Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. And if you're not too busy (and especially if you are), try at least a few of these 50 ways to space out, from Air & Space magazine.

    * * *

    IMAGE: That's me on my moon farm. No, it's one of the winning entries (category: lunar) from the NSS Space Settlement Art Contest, "Eden Crater" by Alex Aurichio.


    New Euro Space Policy

    At the fourth European Space Council held at EU headquarters in Brussels today, as expected, our Euro friends adopted a resolution on the new European Space Policy.

    The breakthrough of the new policy, put together after two years of work by the European Commission and the European Space Agency, is in the creation of a unified European framework, integrating the policies and approaches of individual EU member states as well ESA.

    As ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said: "Today we have made a giant leap. For 40 years Europe has realised important projects ... but what's new is that this space policy is going to integrate 29 European countries."

    announcment today includes these highlights of the policy:

    The European Space Policy aims at fostering better coordination of space activities between the EU, ESA and their respective Member States, to maximise value for money and avoid unsustainable duplication, thus meeting shared European needs. Increased synergy between civil and defence space programmes and technologies is also addressed by the ESP.

    The new policy calls for ensuring sustainable funding for space applications, in particular the flagship initiative
    Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). It also recognises that space is a high value-adding sector, a driver for growth, innovation and employment and a valuable opportunity provider for European industry.

    Moreover, the European Space Policy supports the EU's external relations, insofar as the EU, ESA and their Member States will put in place a coordination mechanism to develop a joint strategy for international relations regarding space activities.
    As to the importance of the policy for space business, Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: "Without the European Space Policy, Europe could become irrelevant. With this Resolution on the European Space Policy, we intend to live up to Europe's global leadership aspirations in important industrial and research areas, which will provide growth and jobs for the future. Moreover, space has always been a source of inspiration which helps people to think outside and beyond the limits and to innovate. Today's proposal marks a milestone, to ensure that Europe does not miss out on the important opportunities that space technology offers."

    And for more Euro space policy background and documents to keep anyone in space policy heaven, here are Europe's
    key documents related to space, including the Green Paper, not to be confused with the White Paper, followed by the EC-ESA Framework Agreement and much more.

    I'll watch for good analysis of Europe's announcement from serious space policy wonks. Meanwhile, SLP says congratulations to Europe on achieving this new approach to space matters.


    Working with FAA

    Over at Unreasonable Rocket, Paul Breed comments on his visit last week with our lovable space transportation regulators at FAA/AST:
    On Monday I flew to DC to meet with AST to discuss my draft experimental permit application and to attend the Experimental Permit workshop. After this series of meetings I'm feeling pretty good about the paperwork side of the process. AST did not ask for anything that was at all unreasonable. The comments to my draft application were entirely reasonable and I'm very hopeful that my next submission will be judged as "Complete enough" to start the 120 day permit clock. Now back to actually building a vehicle capable of competing.
    Good to hear its going smoothly, and not at all surprised. (And if chief regulator Patti and the crew have any helpful materials to offer from the workshop, which I understand covered the pre-application consultation, requirements for obtaining a permit, the environmental process, a permitee's financial and other responsibilities, compliance and safety, hazard analysis and more, we would love to see those on the website.

    Paul who has "been working diligently" on his FAA filing,
    noted last month: "It's up to about 50 pages and I still have at least one hard section still to develop." He said, "I will publish what I submit and any official correspondence from the FAA here. I will not be publishing the rough drafts and the E-mail back and forth as I don't want to inhibit the communication."

    Looking forward to whatever Paul posts on this. For now, along those lines -- for our edification and enjoyment -- as I discussed
    here, FAA/AST has published a sample reusable suborbital rocket experimental permit application for a hypothetical RLV company named BlueSky (no relation to Blue Origin). Check it out.

    By the way, busy as he is putting everything together for XPC, Paul also mentioned making some Unreasonable Rocket tee shirts. Looking forward to those too ;).
    (Hat tip:
    Dick Stafford.)


    Space Bucks

    As we say here on SLP, commercial space means business.

    Instead of Friday Flybys this week, here's a small bankroll of recent items I've been meaning to post from the world of space finance... (Shall we say Frugal Flybys? Nah.)

  • First, listen to a live space investor: Dr. John Jurist, physicist, medical researcher, successful business guy and serious space investor, appeared on The Space Show (May 14th) to talk about "investing in alt.space businesses from the perspective of an investor who has done so and who also has a successful track record as a risk taking investor." Turn up the MP3 (Note: our gracious host Dr. Livingston apologizes for the VoIP phone line audio problems that cannot be edited.)

  • Here's the buzz about the National Space Society's full day Symposium on Space Venture Finance, taking place in conjunction with the International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2007) in Dallas on May 24th. The pros will be talking investment and "recent innovations in early- and mid-stage finance within the commercial space, spaceport, satellite and space-related information technology industries." And the winner of the NSS Space Finance Award will be announced at the symposium. Any guesses? (Not too big of a hint: It won't be a lawyer.)

  • If you missed it, Jeff Foust reports on the April 17th Space Investment Summit in New York City, Opening wallets, closing windows. (The Space Review, April 30, 2007) And here Jeff overviews industry concerns highlighted by straight-talking Art Dula, Esq. (who is always quoteworthy):

    Noted space lawyer Art Dula brought up a common concern for the aerospace industry—export control—and suggested new space companies should consider moving offshore in large part because of it. "I would argue today that the United States is not the venue of choice for a person who wants to start an aerospace startup company," he said. As an alternative, he suggested the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency of the UK that offers space companies based there a zero-percent tax rate, as well as less-onerous export controls. That company would then contract with an independently-established American company to do business in the US.

    Dula also pointed out that while the US has the best-developed space law of any country, there are still a number of key uncertainties in space law and treaties. "We don’t have any definition of where space starts. We don’t have any definition of what, for example, a ‘celestial body’ is. We’re not exactly sure what a ‘space object’ is; it’s not well defined," he said. "So there’s a great deal of law that we’re going to have to rework over the next few years as this becomes a real business."

    Here, here. More work for space lawyers. (And watch this blog for more on Isle of Man space law.)

  • And another overview of the NYC investment summit, along with a look at the possible sale of Intelsat, and other insights into the satellite and telecom industries and the capital markets in From The Ground Up, the April 2007 newsletter from Near Earth LLC. (Hat tip: HobbySpace)

  • A heads up about Flight School 2007: From the never-winded Esther Dyson, the "third annual workshop for start-ups and investors in the emerging markets for private air and commercial space travel" -- at the Aspen Institute, June 20-22, 2007, Aspen, Colorado.

  • Euro money woes: A brief update on Europe's trouble financing Galileo, its satellite navigation system meant to rival US's GPS.

  • And finally, a roundup of recent satellite and launch orders and other new biz in Milbank's April 2007 Space Business Review.

    Have a frugal weekend ;)

    UPDATES (5/22/07):
    A few more quick items --
  • Dr. Burton H. Lee, managing partner of Innovarium Ventures in Washington DC, who will be chairing the upcoming Space Venture Finance Symposium (see above), appeared on The Space Show (May 19, and rebroadcast today) previewing the symposium (should be hot) and talking space investment financing. Listen to the show!

  • Also, here is a recap of ESA Space Investment 2007, theme: "Helping companies to grow". ESA's first investment event took place last month at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands and "attracted more than 100 participants from all over Europe, including representatives from the finance and investment communities, the European Special Applications Fund and 20 start-up companies."

    Gordon Cooper:
    You know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up.
    Gus Grissom:
    He's right. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.
    The Right Stuff (1983)

  • 5.17.2007

    Spring for COMSTAC

    As I've noted in Flybys, the space transportation gurus of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) are gathering for their spring meetings today and tomorrow at FAA headquarters in DC. The May 18th full meeting agenda looks jamming as usual, featuring remarks by FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, a report on AST activities by Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation Patricia G. Smith, presentations by COMSTAC chair John W. Vinter of International Space Brokers and Daniel J. Collins of United Launch Alliance; a special segment on NASA and the commercial launch arena with updates on space station resupply by William Gerstenmaier, a COTS update by Marc Timm, a report from the Innovative Partnerships Program Office by Douglas A. Comstock, some market forecasts by Beth King of Lockheed Martin (covering GSO launch demand) and John Sloan of FAA/AST (covering nongeosynchronous orbits), a talk on the Personal Spaceflight Federation by Bretton Alexander, and working group reports by Janice Sadler (XL Insurance), Michael S. Kelly (APFC) Donald P. Pettit (Aero Thermo Technology, Inc.) and Wilbur C. Trafton (Rocketplane Kistler).

    To tide us over until AST posts a roundup of presentations and slides from the meetings, a look back at the minutes of the
    Oct. 2006 full committee meeting (and for a hardcore minutes-heads, an archive of all the minutes since 1997), along with a collection of materials from the October gathering.

    For those unfamiliar with COMSTAC, a quickie overview: the committee of course was established in 1984 to provide "information, advice, and recommendations" to FAA "on matters relating to the U.S. commercial space transportation industry." COMSTAC has four
    working groups (Technology and Innovation; Launch Operations and Support; Risk Management; Reusable Launch Vehicle Development). Here's the current roster of hot shot committee members. And for the SLP record, if you please, COMSTAC's charter (U.S. DOT/FAA Order 1110-124E) (which naturally provided for the committee's operation in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 15 U.S.C Appendix II, Pub. L. 92-463; 86 Stat, 770). More on COMSTAC's work to come. Happy Spring.


    Summer Course on Space Law and Policy

    An announcement from our friends at the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) on their hot 2007 summer programme:

    The 16th ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy will take place at the
    ESA ESTEC facilities in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, as last year, from September 3th to 14th 2007.

    One of ECSL’s most successful activities is the ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy. This is organised by ESA with the support of a host university (1992 Messina (Italy), 1993 Toulouse (France), 1994 Granada (spain), 1995 Aberdeen (United Kingdom), 1996 Leiden (The Netherlands), 1997 Rovaniemi (Finland), 1998 Brest (France), 1999 Geneva (Switzerland), 2000 Cologne (Germany), 2001 Nice (France), 2002 La Rochelle (France), 2003 Leuven (Belgium), 2004 Graz (Austria), 2005 Terni (Perugia, Italy). The Summer Course attracts participants from an increasing number of universities.

    During the two-week course students attend intensive lectures given by university professors and space professionals concerning the international legal framework of space activities. These include UN Resolutions, space treaties and other legal issues relevant to space applications such as the commercialisation of space activities, telecommunications, remote-sensing, launching states, intellectual property rights, etc.

    The deadline to send in the
    registration form is May 31st, 2007.

    And keep in mind ECSL's criteria for student selection. (Personally, I would be ineligible: too old, I gather. Ah well, young enough to blog about it.--JL)
    Image: Courtesy ESA


    The I Word

    That's right: Insurance.

    An insurance-savvy SLP reader sends over this interesting
    recap of the 14th International Space Insurance Conference, held in Milan, March 22 - 23, 2007.

    A bunch of space-smart lawyers gathered at the event, and I've excerpted the recap to highlight the lawyers' presentations. (But read the whole thing if you're into insurance. And who isn't? Obligatory Pat Bahn quote at end of post...)


    "The legal panel was moderated by Mr. Rudolph Vic Pino Jr., partner of Pino & Associates LLP. Mr. John A. Ordway, partner at Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe LLP, was the first to speak. He addressed the International Traffic in Arms Regulation in the USA and reported about the progress of the State Department in clearing up the backlog of the last year, although ITAR restrictions in exporting and re-exporting technical information regarding satellites are still a hurdle to a prompt settlement of the claims and heavily interfere with the arbitration phase. Moreover, when an applicant for a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) seeks approval to export preparatory data, the State Department may ask him to obtain the approval of the owner, thus forcing him to disclose his strategy. Coming to reinsurance, when a technical issue that may have ITAR implications arises regarding a commercial space-related reinsurance policy, the easiest way to obtain authorisation is usually for the insurer to request that the U.S. person who initially obtained the TAA seeks the State Department approval of an amendment to the TAA. Unfortunately, many US persons who hold a valid TAA are unwilling to have it amended to the described purpose, as they are liable for any violation a party to the TAA commits. In conclusion, to a certain extent ITAR makes resolution of a commercial space-related reinsurance issue complicated and time consuming, but if well-managed it should not preclude resolution of any such issue.

    Stephen Tucker, Senior Partner at Mendes & Mount LLP, expanded on the US regulation of space tourism. It is known that starting in 2009, Virgin Galactic plans to commercially fly 500 passengers per year at costs ranging somewhere between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000 per passenger to an altitude of roughly 68 miles, offering about 6 minutes of weightlessness. On February 13, 2007, the US Federal Aviation Administration adopted final rules for space tour operators, which will apply to American companies launching from anywhere in the world and to foreign companies launching from US land. The rules require: (i) passengers to be informed in writing of risks, including death; (ii) passengers to accept a "fly at your own risk liability regime", as they will be legally required to waive liability claims; (iii) mandatory training for passengers; (iv) specific qualifications and training for crew besides informed consent of crew itself; (v) crew waiver of claims against the US government; (vi) the licensee to demonstrate no significant environmental impact and an acceptable level of safety to the general public; (vii) the licensee to cover the Maximum Probable Loss to third parties in the event of an accident in compliance with the general legislative framework regarding traditional commercial launches.

    Nicholas Hughes, partner in the Aerospace Department at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, presented a speech about the main topics of the space insurance sector from a legal standpoint. Unquestionably, the space risk is a catastrophic one, as it is more likely to happen in the first phase of the life of the satellite. Moreover, insurance has a price that may not always be affordable for the operators. Even if generally speaking there is no mandatory insurance in the space sector, some compliance issues may arise from time to time (in respect of liability towards third parties and governments) and affect the choice to buy insurance. Most of the time the choice whether to buy insurance or not is mainly a commercial decision. The biggest operator may easily afford self-insurance, especially when they can rely on sufficient capacity and technical redundancy in their fleet.

    The finance panel was moderated by Peter D. Nesgos, partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP...

    Tim Hughes, Chief Counsel at SpaceX, outlined the activity of Space X, an emerging launch services provider which has currently three launches contracted with NASA to ferry cargo and crew to the International Space Station under the Cots program....

    Finally, Sean Gates, Senior Partner at Gates and Partners, expanded on the legislative framework concerning space activities in the private sector. International law doesn't cater for commercial launches, such a situation being very similar to the one of the aviation industry at its beginnings. Some air law rules may also probably apply to the space flights, but it is unclear which ones and to which extent. As for passenger liability, for example, the Montreal Convention provides for strict unlimited liability up to 100,000 special drawing rights, while in the space sector the Liability Convention 1967 may be inadequate in regulating the new commercial activities. Time is possibly ripe for a new international convention on the new frontiers of space business...."


    And remember, as Pat Bahn of TVG Rockets says, most quotably, "Amateurs talk propellant, professionals talk insurance." Indeed. (See also, The Space Review, March 27, 2007, among other places.) I'm beginning to believe it.

    IMAGE: Courtesy of CartoonStock.


    Space tourism law panel in India

    The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is returning to India this year (first time since the event in Bangalore in 1988) as the 58th IAC, hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Astronautical Society of India (ASI) takes place in Hyderabad, Sept. 24-28, 2007. I know it's months away, but if you're planning your trip to India, here's a preview of some law-related offerings, courtesy of Prof. Mark Sundahl of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law who will be delivering a paper on Criminal and Disciplinary Issues Pertaining to Suborbital SpaceTourism Flights (sounds super) for the hot panel on "Legal Issues of Private Space Flight and Space Tourism." And Mark sends the following preview of that panel (not yet available on IAC's website).

    This should be of great interest to spacetrotters everywhere. Take a gander and book your flights now. (And Mark, yes, save me some delicious biryani ;)

    Tuesday, September 25 2007 10:10
    Room: MR G0.6 (ground floor)

    50th International Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space (IISL)
    Coordinators Masson-Zwaan, Tanja

    Legal Issues of Private Spaceflight and Space Tourism
    Chairman Prasad, M.Y.S.
    Chairman Von der Dunk, Frans G.
    Rapporteur Datta, Partha Sarathi

    - Responsibility and Liability: A Requirement to Change Our Perceptions
    Mr. Anubhav Sinha, Luthra and Luthra, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

    - Liability Principles & Launch From International Domain: Resolving a New Twist in the Tail
    Abhishek Dubey, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India
    Loree Sonchhatra, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India

    - The Fortieth Anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty: Is it Time to Look More Closely at Private Enterprise?Prof. Steven Freeland, Sydney NSW, Australia
    Ms. Donna Lawler, Corporate Counsel, SingTel Optus Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia

    - Legal Issues of Commercialization of Space ActivitiesMrs. Xiaoyu Zuo, Astronaut Center of China, Beijing, China

    - Private Enterprise Liability for Space Servicing
    Dr. Antonio Morato, Universidade Sao Marcos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Dr. Ijar M. Da Fonseca, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Sao
    Jos´e dos Campos, Brazil

    - Orbital Space Ports: Their Operating Procedures and Legal FrameworkDr. Alvaro Azcarraga, SENER Ingeneria y Sistemas, S.A., Madrid, Spain
    Elisa Gonz´alez Ferreiro, CEDE. Spanish Center for Space Law., Madrid, Spain

    - Air & Space Law Norms Governing Space Transportation
    Dr. Paul Dempsey, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    - Space Tourism: Some Lessons To Be Learned From Its Brother ‘The Aviation Ssector’
    Sagee Geetha Sasikumar, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

    - Passengers Should Not Fly at Their Own Risk But at Some Risk: The Necessity of a Revised International Liability FrameworkLydia Boureghda, Lyon, France

    - Duties and Liabilities of Space Tourist Operators
    Zeldine Niamh O’Brien, Co. Dublin, Ireland

    - Rescuing Space Tourists: A Humanitarian Duty and Business Need
    Prof. Mark Sundahl, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, United States

    - Criminal and Disciplinary Issues Pertaining to Suborbital Space Tourism Flights
    Michael Chatzipanagiotis, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

    - The U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations: A Hazard for the Uninitiated in the Private Spaceflight and Space Tourism Industries
    John Ordway, Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, L.L.P., Washington DC, United States

    - UNIDROIT System of Asset Based Financing for Space Activities: The Need to Plug the LoopholesProf. Ishwara Bhat, University of Mysore, Mysore, India
    Sandeepa Bhat, International Institute of Space Law, Mysore, India

    - The Proposed International Registry On Matters Specific To Space Assets: The Task of UNIDROIT
    Dr. Luis Castillo Arganaras, National Council of Scientific and Technical Research
    (CONICET) of Argentina


    Friday Flybys - 5.4.07

    Well it sure is not every work week that begins with a Law Day and ends with a Space Day!

    * * *

    I'll make this quick so I can go out for a toast (or two).

  • First, more ways to save the planet, this time from comets, asteroids and all those nasty NEO's threatening to impact on our Third Rock: White Paper from the 2007 Planetary Defense Conference held March 5–8, 2007 at George Washington University, a gathering which "focused on the current state-of-the-art of planetary defense-related technologies and legal, policy, political, and public-response issues that would affect the decision to mount a deflection campaign or to respond to a NEO-related disaster." After all, what have we got to lose?

  • Also out of GWU, Space Planes and Space Tourism: The Industry and the Regulation of its Safety - a study by Dr. Joseph N. Pelton Director, GWU Space & Advanced Communications Research Institute. I haven't yet read it (that's 228 pages) but I will start with the section on "US Regulations and Government Programs" at p. 34) Via HobbySpace, which I'm not surprised to hear is is cited in the report.

    (By the way, notice how Clark is
    cutting back. In a parallel universe. Somewhere.)

  • Interesting controversy surrounding Rep. Calvert's space ads for NASA idea. See Clark's roundup. Makes me crave some Pizza Hut, I don't know about you. (WSJ Online's blog last month received reaction: "Maybe we should allow advertising on ALL gov’t stuff. Our military is already covered in Raytheon, L&M and Boeing logos! How about Airforce 1? Maybe we could rent out advertising space all over the Washington Monument! This is a great idea." Which prompted the follow-up, "Ads on the Washington Monument? For what? Viagra?" Never mind.)

    Speaking of all this, I heard my name over at the
    Rocket Dungeon in connection with a legal question about NASA and advertising, but while I got busy doing the research, looks like Dick may have gotten a bit distracted...) (Saved by the scantily-clad rocket ladies again.)

  • Over at Selenian Boondocks Ken has a sneak peak of the International Space Development Conference (ISDC), (May 25-28 in Dallas) which will include space law of course, featuring Doug Griffith, with Kerry Scarlott covering ITAR, and insurance issues with Kelly Alton and Ralph Harp. More on this to follow.

  • Not space law per se, but for you patent junkies, here's a recap of this week's Supreme Court decision in KSR v. Teleflex, from SCOTUS blog.

  • Contrary to any erroneous reports, Queen Elizabeth II's address to a special joint session of the Virginia General Assembly on May 3, 2007 was to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, not to commend the state on its new space law.

  • Finally, a train derailment, even if the train was transporting a space shuttle reusable solid rocket motor segment to the Kennedy Space Center, is not a space law case.

    For now, happy Space Day, Law Day and all other kind of days. Especially weekends. ;)

    * * *

    IMAGE: By Ryan Glenn, Greenville, SC (winner of last year's Space Day national t-shirt art contest).

  • 5.02.2007

    Sample Experimental Permit Application

    We've seen the shiny new regulations governing experimental permits for reusable suborbital rockets. Wy don't the thoughtful folks at FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) post a sample reusable suborbital rocket experimental permit application?

    Well they have.

    Here you go:
    Sample Experimental Permit Application for a Vertical Launch and Landing Reusable Suborbital Rocket with a crew. (74-page PDF) This sample application illustrates "acceptable means, but not the only means, for demonstrating compliance with Experimental Permit application requirements."

    FAA's hypo here (reminds me of a law school exam): The fictional company BlueSky Aerospace "wants to develop a reusable vertical launch and landing rocket to be flown for the purpose of research and development. BlueSky seeks an FAA Experimental Permit to conduct its research and development tests within an operating area located south of SpaceCity, MyState. This potential operator proposes a two-tiered development program: 1) The short-term goal is to conduct launches, under an Experimental Permit, to 40,000 ft (12 km) and 328,000 ft (100 km) with a crewed suborbital rocket; 2) The long-term goal is to develop an operational reusable suborbital launch vehicle capable of carrying one pilot and two paying passengers to an altitude of 100 km in order to experience about four minutes of zero gravity. BlueSky will seek a Launch License to operate this reusable suborbital launch vehicle."

    The sample document demonstrates what BlueSky has to submit to FAA/AST to apply for an experimental permit under 14 CFR part 437. Take a look.

    And here's a handy Word file of a
    Sample Experimental Permit Application Format, complete with citations to all applicable CFR section; again, it's not the required format, just a helpful example. As FAA gamely instructs, "an applicant may use any other logical and complete format."

    FAA has 120 days from accepting a completed application to make a determination as to whether to issue the experimental permit. If the agency finds the application is incomplete, or finds "issues exist that would negatively affect a permit determination," it will notify the applicant in writing.

    It's legal stuff, not exactly rocket science. Building the rockets is the cool part.

    * * *
    UPDATE: Don't forget FAA's
    experimental permit workshop, May 16, 2007.

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