Nebraska Gets Von Der Dunk
"Professor Frans Von Der Dunk will join the College of Law faculty in January of 2008.
Professor Von Der Dunk will teach space law, national security space law and European regulation of space to students in the Law College's new Space and Telecom Law LL.M. as well as to the Law College's J.D. students. His first course will be Space Law, to be taught in the Spring of 2008."
Great news for Nebraska Law. (Condolences to the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University where Prof. Von der Dunk is currently director of space law research.)
Nebraska's bio of Prof. Von der Dunk isn't posted yet; in the interim, here are just a few selected highlights of the professor's impressive career so far (in no particular order; via Leiden):
"Dr. Von der Dunk has served as adviser to the Dutch Government, several foreign Governments, the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA), the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Dutch National Aerospace Agency (NIVR), the German Space Agency (DLR), the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), as well as various companies. Such advisory work dealt with a broad area of issues related to space activities, such as space policy, national space law, privatisation of space activities, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) (in particular Galileo), satellite communications, radio astronomy, and earth observation."
"Dr. Von der Dunk was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Vancouver, in October 2004, and the Social Science Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Valencia, in October 2006. He defended his dissertation on “Private Enterprise and Public Interest in the European ‘Spacescape’” in 1998."
"He has written over 100 articles and published papers, has given some 100 presentations at international meetings and was visiting professor at some 20 foreign universities across the world on subjects of international and national space law and policy, international air law and public international law. He has (co-)organised some 20 international symposia, workshops and other events, and has been (co-)editor of a number of publications and proceedings. As of 2006, he is the Series Editor of ‘Studies in Space Law’, published by Brill."
"He is Director and Treasurer of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), Member of the Board of the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL), and Member for the Netherlands in the International Law Association’s (ILA) Committee on Space Law."
This is the Professor's most recent book. And here's a list of his main publications.
Lots more to come. For now, welcome to the States, Professor!
(Quick -- someone give the new Nebraskan a red football jersey!)
Wednesday walkabout - 9.25.07
That's all for now. ;)
* * *
IMAGE CREDIT: NASA. (Well I thought this untethered EVA more or less illustrated the Wednesday walkabout idea; just hang on tight to your "manned maneuvering unit".)
Space lawyers in Hyderabad
The five-day summit, organized by the International Astronautical Federation, the International Academy of Astronautics and of course the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) (and did I leave anyone out?) -- all graciously hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Astronautical Society of India -- brings together delegates and seriously interested folks from all around the home planet to brainstorm about space interests -- business, technology, tourism, exploration and lots more. Which is just the sort of thing that will attract space lawyers galore.
Yes, I see a number of interesting space policy and law sessions in the extensive IAC line-up, just one example of which is this space tourism law panel which I previewed in an earlier post. Wish I were there.
For now, some initial news out of Hyderabad, where the summit is underway under tight security in the wake of last month's terror bombings in the city: Mike Griffin gave a speech outlining NASA's goals, saying in the centenary of the space age (that's 2057, if my math is correct,) "we should be celebrating 20 years of man on Mars." And India's Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan said his country is planning to conduct 60 space missions over the next five years.
As I've talked about, one of the main space law events, held in conjunction with IISL's annual space law colloquium at IAC, consists of the semi-finals and world finals of the 16th Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. Future space lawyers who have been researching, pacing the floor and sharpening their oral arguments all year will duke it out in real space-time in the "Case Concerning International Liability" (Emeralda v Mazonia); the semi-final will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 25th in a "closed session" at the convention center in Hyderabad. The finals will be held on Thursday Sept. 27th at NALSAR University of Law, and, as I've noted, will be judged by three members of the International Court of Justice. The case may be moot but it is major league.
And yes, for invitees only, the annual dinner of IISL will follow the finals.
I look forward to hearing from everyone who has promised me news and updates from India. ;) Meanwhile, have fun, all; and good luck, moot court competitors!
Lunar landing law
By the way, the Explainer got no hints (but earned a good grade) from the Professor.
Still studying space solar power
As Leonard David notes, space-based solar power has been the subject of studies by the likes of NASA, the Department of Energy, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Now it's the Department of Defense's turn.
But where is the final report from the National Security Space Office (NSSO) on space-based solar power? Good question. Over at the Space Solar Power public discussion forum (can I just call it a blog?) hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation to help with the NSSO study, director of the study, Col. (Select) Michael V. "Coyote" Smith, who is Chief of Future Concepts (love the official title; and I gather we can just call him Coyote) for the NSSO, updates us that his office will issue an interim report (not a final report) in October -- tentatively during a National Space Society event at the National Press Club on October 10th.
Coyote does "foreshadow" that interim report here. And one of the items he indicates the study will highlight as "requiring greater analysis," is: "Legal issues: Liability? Indemnity? Licensing? Frequency management?" Of course.
Coyote believes "broad international partnerships" are the way to go here. "First, to reassure the world that that space-based solar power is not a pathway to weaponize space. Second, to garner early support in the international community for additions and changes to space law, customs, and codes of conduct that will be required to make space-based solar power a reality. Finally, broad international partners will help industry find broad international customers to buy our energy product." Yup. More work for space lawyers.
Seaking of which, here is a white paper prepared for DOE by Carl Q. Christol entitled, Satellite Power System (SPS) International Agreements (Oct. 1978) in which he took an early look at international legal issues in connection with a geostationary space-based solar power system.
And if you think it's all international, here's a report by Allan D. Kotin on State and Local Regulations as Applied to Satellite Power System Microwave Receiving Antenna Facilities (also prepared for DOE, Oct. 1978). You'll burn a few watts reading through this.
Meanwhile, if you were wondering (as I was) why the Pentagon is so interested in space solar power, here is Coyote's answer (written on a napkin at a Washington D.C. pub, naturally), in which he specifies, "The emphasis throughout this study is that the DoD wants to be a customer of clean energy from space, not a producer." (But isn't DoD money a bit tied up? I hope they even afford to buy space power when it becomes available.)
With the business concept in mind, it's good to see some commercial thinking on space solar power at Google Lunar X Prize, which portrays the concept on its website this way: "Clean solar energy can be sent from space to the earth with solar collectors in high Earth orbit made from lunar materials. A single solar power satellite could power a major Earth city without CO2 or other pollution."
Yes. One day.
(Hat tip: Clark Lindsey.)
Launching new amateur rocket rules
So why the need for new regulations? As our rocket regulators explain,
Historically, the FAA has relied on state and local regulation, voluntary self-regulation, and its own analysis to fulfill its oversight responsibility for unmanned rocket operations under [14 CFR] part 101. The voluntary self-regulation has been carried out by the organizations sponsoring these activities. When we amended part 101 in 1994, we included provisions for large model rockets. The voluntary self-regulation and state and local regulations were effective for purposes of protecting public safety for model and large model rockets. However, amateur rocket performance has continued to improve and participation in amateur rocket launches has increased significantly. Therefore, the once remote possibility of an accident or incident resulting from amateur rocket activities has become more likely. The FAA now believes these activities need regulation appropriate for continued safe operation. This rulemaking is intended to preserve the safety record of amateur rocket activities, address inconsistencies, and clarify existing amateur rocket regulations.
Provisions discussed in the comments included the information requirements for class 3 rockets; categorization of class 1 and class 2 rockets; the "within five miles of any airport runway" restriction (one concerned rocketeer, Jennifer Ash-Poole, said her club "has launched within 8 miles of Camp David, with a NOTAM, without any problems, even when the president was there"); other items.
And as we always say here on SLP, everyone who did not comment loved every word of the NPRM.
In an interesting late submission, which FAA/AST graciously posted anyway, Michael Aherne, who describes himself as having "worked extensively on these rules" while at AST and subsequently left for grad school, calls the comments "absolutely excellent," and includes in his comment a "summarized rewrite" of the proposed rule "incorporating all the comments I agree and disagree with." (Maybe AST should hire him back?)
Yes, amateur rocketry is exciting, It's outdoorsy, social, educational, and you get to say things like "ballistic coefficient" just to keep the lawyers scratching their heads. (And if you have technical questions as we await FAA's final rule, don't send them here, shoot over to Dick's Rocket Dungeon.)
* * *
IMAGE CREDIT: Alamogordo Rocketry Club.
UPDATE: By the way, I just added to my Netflix queue October Sky, a film based on the book about hobby rocketry, Rocket Boys. And here's some interesting trivia on this film, via Wikipedia: October Sky is an anagram of Rocket Boys. Apparently research by Universal Pictures found women over 30 would not go to see a movie titled Rocket Boys, so the film company "changed the title to be more inviting to a wider audience." [Hmm. I thought the title was a reference to the Sputnik launch. Well, in any case, as a "woman over 30" I'm just glad they didn't worry enough about me to change the name of Spider-man.--JL]
Got space law CLE credits?
Well here is a bit of welcome news about a few more millennium-ready CLE providers currently adding space law to their repertoires:
By the way, continuing legal education is not for American lawyers only. I did not hear about this one in time to announce it but over in Sydney, Austria, the Lawyers Reform Association presented a space law CLE seminar in September 2006, which included Dr Michael Green, director of the Australian Government Space Licensing and Safety Office (SLASO) and other presenters. Impressive.
If you know of others space law CLE resource (webcasts, lectures, conferences, etc.) currently scheduled or in the works, send me a heads up and I'll post about those too.
And keep hittin' those law lessons. Enjoy your nonstop endless ongoing and continuing legal education which, to paraphrase Robert Frost, essentially consists of "hanging around until you've caught on."
* * *
IMAGE: Don't recall where I got this, but thanks to the artist.
Google Moon Money
(Of course, at last year's NextFest when Virgin Galactic unveiled its mockup of SpaceShipTwo, the commercial spacecraft that will take humans suborbital, you could see that the robots running around the convention center were looking a bit jealous of the humans. This year at NextFest the humans might seem a little envious, since the Google Lunar X Prize will send to the moon only lucky robotic rovers....)
Alan Boyle reports on the prize; Space Prizes blog has this roundup; and Clark Lindsey considers some whys and why nots in connection with this exciting contest.
It's Friday so I'll link one YouTube promo video (approx 8:13 min).
And now that the prize is open and the news has orbited the globe (with official web sites in Spanish, Russian, French, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian), anyone even remotely interested in revving his or her moon rover in this competition has seen the Google Lunar X PRIZE guidelines which include the basics: "To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a team must successfully land a privately funded craft on the lunar surface and survive long enough to complete the mission goals of roaming about the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending a defined data package, called a 'Mooncast', back to Earth."
But here on SLP, before potential clients even ask, we think it's not too soon to start reviewing the black letter official rules. Or is it? Well apparently yes. The organizers have posted this note: "Official Rules for the Google Lunar X PRIZE are undergoing a formal vetting process wherein government agencies, space agencies, and the public at large will review and provide comments on the rules before they are finalized. Please refer to our competition guidelines." Oh. OK, we'll check back and look forward to commenting on those contest rules.
For now, go for it, lunar jockeys! We await your mooncast from somewhere near Tranquility Base. And to paraphrase JFK, we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard, plus it pays 30 million bucks. (Although you probably have to be Elon Musk to figure out how to make a profit from that. ;)
Satellite TV hacker fines limited
Satellite TV Hacking Illegal But Not a $100,000 Offense, Court Says
(Wired, Sept. 11, 2007)
Users of illicit decoding technology who have hacked into DirecTV satellite signals are not liable under a certain provision of the Federal Communications Act that calls for hefty, $100,000 fines, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said section 605(e)(4) of the act cannot be charged against individuals who have altered or purchased reformatted smart cards to acquire DirecTV for free. That statute, the court ruled, was meant to financially injure companies that produce and sell such pirating technology and was not directed at end users as DirecTV alleged
"Congress intended to treat differently individuals who played different roles in the pirating system," a three-judge appellate court panel wrote in its 2-1 decision.
The decision, if it stands, could have widespread implications, as DirectTV regularly sues hackers.
Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation that filed a friend of a court brief in the case, applauded the court's decision. "The court said the assembling and manufacturing prohibition is meant for commercial entities or other upstream providers, not for individuals who simply plug a card into a box to get TV," he said.
"You can't have this huge $100,000 hammer for individuals that was meant for businesses, and people making profits," Schultz added. "What DirecTV was arguing was that anybody who tweaks their access card is liable for up to $100,000."
Still, the court said the two convicted hackers in the case are still liable under section 605 (a) of the Federal Communications Act for unlawfully pirating television. Maximum fines per count are $10,000.
DirecTV did not return calls seeking comment and whether it would ask the San Francisco-based appeals court to rehear the case or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review it.
In dissent, Judge Eugene Siler said the bigger fines should apply. The act, he said, "does not limit its application to manufacturers and sellers."
Here is Judge B. Fletcher's opinion: DirecTV v. Huynh and DirecTV v. Oliver.
EFF also posted an MP3 of oral argument along with various briefs.
The statute at issue was section 605(e)(4) of the Federal Communications Act.
And yes, DirecTV's legal maneuvering in connection with this issue proved let's just say unpopular among many. EFF along with the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford University Law School co-sponsored a website at DirecTVDefense.org "to help people defend themselves," saying, "People who intercept DirecTV’s satellite signal are breaking the law. However, DirecTV’s cease and desist letter campaign does not distinguish the legitimate users from the thieves." The help site argues that "legitimate computer scientists, technology workers, and hobbyists . . . are being harassed by DirecTV's no holds-barred slash-and-burn legal strategy."
Over at CNET News, Declan McCullagh applauded the ruling: "DirecTV faces setback in dubious antipiracy campaign. Good." I think he's right.
(I don't see a public comment on this by DirecTV. Will update if the company appeals; although getting to the High Court would not be too likely.... Meanwhile, here is the company's site for "information concerning criminal and civil actions brought by DirecTV against those who fraudulently obtain DirecTV programming...")
The last thing Rocketplane needs
It is unclear how things are going on the technical side, but financially speaking, it's been a hard, bumpy ride, of late, for Rocketplane Kistler.
As Rocketplane continues "'working on possible cures' for the funding crisis" that prompted NASA to issue formal notification on Sept. 7th that the space agency would terminate the company's COTS agreement for failing to meet financial milestones, Rocketplane now finds itself smacked with a lawsuit by a disgruntled space tourism marketing company over, of all things, money.
I have not seen the complaint, but today the Chicago Tribune reports that Abercrombie & Kent, "which contracted to market and reserve flights on a planned suborbital space plane has filed a $3.4 million lawsuit against its partner" alleging that the rocketship company "has stopped all work on the project." (That would be RkP's XP vehicle project, not Rocketplane's K-1 business, which is what is at issue on the COTS side.)
According to the Tribune, "Abercrombie & Kent says it spent $1 million drawing up a marketing plan for the zero-gravity plane only to see Rocketplane Kistler's corporate board move in April to abandon the project, according to a lawsuit filed recently in DuPage County Circuit Court."
The Tribune (which couldn't resist the rather tabloid-y headline, "Space tourism in limbo, suit says") reports Rocketplane business development associate George French III "denied that the company has abandoned the project," and said, "We've been moving forward...." (Perhaps the "new configuration" of the Rocketplane XP reportedly to be unveiled at the X Prize Cup could serve as evidence of that.)
And French charged Abercrombie & Kent is "trying to weasel out of the contract." (I'm not sure if this was meant to suggest a counter suit by Rocketplane. In any case, apparently the contract included a mediation clause, or the parties had agreed to mediation, but unfortunately that option fell through although it would have been most advisable for a company trying to find money to build expensive space vehicles not foot bills for costly litigation.)
I'll predict this settles. But whatever happens in the lawsuit, it is a first. Indeed, space tourism appears certainly to have arrived as a real business if space transportation companies are wrangling over millions in fees with their space travel marketing firms....
Space law classes in Noordwijk
Slides from the talks are included in each video. (Some of these presentations may seem familiar -- I've posted about this ECSL offering before, and it's definitely worth another go; click on the above video link for the full menu):
Enjoy. There won't be a quiz later.
Friday Flybys - 9.07.07
(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.
ABA Forum on Air & "Other" Law
As we see from the agenda for Memphis, true to the name of the forum, as always, air comes first. Expect aviation focused keynotes, air law topics for most of the panels, and air industry types as sponsors, too.
On the bright side however, as is typical at forum gatherings famous for their quaintly lopsided air law to space law ratio, space is not completely shall we say lost in the clouds; we do find these two excellent panels devoted to, you know, the "other" thing:
Commercial Human Space Flight, moderated by Tracey L. Knutson of Knutson & Associates with Michael Gold, chief legal counsel of Bigelow Aerospace; Jeff Greason, president, of XCOR Aerospace; Laura Montgomery, senior attorney, Office of the Chief Counsel, FAA and Alex Tai CEO, Virgin Galactic.
And then, Making Money in Space: Issues, Applications and Law, moderated by Prof. Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz of the University of Mississippi School of Law, with panelists Rick C. Crowsey, president, Crowsey Incorporated; Pamela L. Meredith of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, LLP; Sa'id Mosteshar of Mosteshar Mackenzie; Franceska O. Schroeder of Fish & Richardson, P.C.; and William L. Warren, senior V.P. and general counsel of GeoEye.
Indeed, some top flight space folks there. (Since Tracey is leading the early space law panel, perhaps she'll be the first to mention that 2007 is the 50th anniversary of the space age? ;)
By the way, if you're around on Saturday, Oct. 6, take the bus trip offered to Oxford, Mississippi for a tour of "the Historic Ole Miss Campus" which of course is home to the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law. Perfect. (But don't try to apply for that research counsel position while you're at the Center because I think Prof. Gabrynowicz already hired someone. And she is picky.) The tour will also feature civil rights as well as Civil War history, a visit to historic home of writer William Faulkner, and, for fans, a college football game: Louisiana Tech vs. Ole Miss Rebels. (My money's on the Rebels. ;)
As to hope for the future of the ABA forum ... as we've said here on SLP, in the 20th century air law was cool; but in this millennium, space law will, you know, breeze right by it. Hold on to your helmets.
NYC Taxis Strike Over GPS
As the New York Taxi Workers Alliance explains, complaints about GPS from some of our otherwise easy going, open minded and clearly tech-smart NYC cabbies, include new and completely uncalled for intrusions into driver privacy in that "GPS will automatically tell the TLC [New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission] where you were at what time, how many fares/trips per shift, when you’re off-duty and how much money you’ve made."
Outrageous. Tracking city taxis on public streets, in this day and age? Now how can a cabbie in this town take a nice detour (some tourists want a little extra sight-seeing with the meter running, right?), grab a nap, or do whatever else a hard-working cab driver does that's work related but absolutely none of TLC's business?
Well never mind the fashionistas and tennis fans slumming it on the subway today, let's hope the TLC and drivers get this dispute sorted out in time for the Satellite Investment Summit as well as SATCON taking place here in town next month. Lots of cabs will be needed, and by folks who like a bit of GPS with their ride.
Meanwhile, perhaps we should bring back those ol' horse drawn streetcars? GPS not included.
Nebraska Space Law Program to Liftoff
As the University confirmed: "the program was unanimously approved by the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education. Earlier, it had also been approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and the law faculty. Both of those votes were also unanimous. Finally, the American Bar Association has acquiesced to the program. The ABA approves only J.D. degree programs, but their acquiescence was required to ensure that the new program did not interfere with the College's current J.D. degree program."
Congratulations from SLP to the law school and Professor Matt Schaefer, director of the new program. Matt took a few moments via e-mail to give us some details; he writes: "We will begin accepting applications sometime in November for a first year LL.M. class beginning Fall 2008. Required courses in the 24 credit degree program include space law, national security space law, international law, telecommunications law, international telecommunications law, researching space law, and a thesis requirement as well.
Students will have the opportunity to take 3 elective courses as well. We hired Marvin Ammori, previously at Georgetown, as our telecommunications law professor. We are in the hiring process for additional space law professors."
And Matt says lots of good stuff and a new web site are in the works. Almost makes me want to go to law school again. I said almost.
Meanwhile, Matt also reported that the law school's first space law event in March, which included General James Cartwright, former Commander USSTRATCOM and now vice-chair of the joint chiefs of staff as keynote speaker, was "quite successful for a first year conference." He said selected articles from the conference will be appearing in the Nebraska Law Review and the journal Astropolitics." I'll look forward to those. And yes, another conference is on tap for the Spring of 2008.
More updates from Nebraska to follow.
For now, go space Huskers!