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« The Power Of The Blogosphere | Main | Class Envy In Space »

First, Second And Third Parties

Clark Lindsey explains the issues involved with yesterday's legislative emergency for passenger spaceflight.

And he points out a very good piece by Richard Foss on the prospects for space tourism and the town of Mojave.

[Update in the afternoon]

Here's a related piece from with several good points made by Jeff Greason:

Greason said he is in total agreement that it is necessary for regulators to ensure that potential passengers have adequate information. But he sees a "critical distinction" between the risk faced by the uninvolved public and that faced by those who want to fly into space.

"The uninvolved public has to be held to a very high level of safety," he said. "There's no reason they should be exposed to a level of risk that's different than they see from any other aspect of industrial life.

"The involved passenger, the people who are deliberately putting their lives and treasure at risk to open the space frontier they've dreamed of their entire lives, as long as they know what they're getting into, I think they have to be allowed to take that risk."

One of the nation's advantages, he asserted, is that there is still a "culture of risk acceptance as long as it's only for the participant..."

...Greason said commercial space transportation, for it to succeed, has to chart new ground to improve the level of safety set by government programs such as the space shuttle.

"That means the classic regulatory prescriptive approach of 'We'll do it just like all those other successful very safe personal space transportation vehicles' can't work," he said. "It's a paradoxical, hard to understand thing, but in order to achieve greater safety, we have to allow many approaches to be tried, because only in that way can we find out experimentally those which offer greater safety."

[Update at 3:45 PM EDT]

Jeff Foust has the latest word from former committee staffer Jim Muncy on the bill status, from this morning's session of the Space Frontier Conference in Long Beach (which I wish I were attending, and almost certainly would be if I were still in southern California).

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 08, 2004 06:10 AM
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Bush's Second Term

Good morning! Welcome to the second installment of Ridenour Mondays. Today I'm going to look at a new piece from the National Center

Weblog: The Sparse Matrix
Tracked: November 15, 2004 06:58 AM

Rick, nice article but Mojave is at 851 meters above sea level. And Canaveral and Vandenberg are both commercial space ports; Mojave is the first _inland_ one in America. Just to set the record straight. ;->

Posted by Aleta Jackson at October 8, 2004 11:21 AM

Who, indeed, are the unnamed staffers? Now, before an election, is the maximum leverage point. "Don't re-elect anyone" is a pretty dull knife when surgical precision would be better!

We need a leak, right effin' now!

Posted by Simon Jester at October 8, 2004 04:21 PM

No kidding. The first question that came to my mind is who the hell are these senate staffers and why did they want to kill the bill like this?

Posted by John at October 8, 2004 04:51 PM
House Passes Bill Extending Protection for Satellite Launches

"The indemnification provisions in H.R. 5245 were originally part of a larger bill, H.R. 3752, to make additional changes to the Commercial Space Launch Act.  H.R. 3752 would have set up a new regulatory regime for private human space flight.  The House and Senate are continuing to negotiate a compromise version of that bill."

Posted by Keith Cowing at October 8, 2004 09:59 PM

This latest legislative activity reminds me of a story back in the early 1980s.

I ski down mountains for fun. Yes, there are risks involved. People occasionally die. I remember the few years when Killington in Vermont handed out cards with lift tickets saying 4 (or 6 or 3 or whatever) people died in ski accidents last year in Vermont. Ski in control.

I've even been injured myself while skiing. It wasn't bad, but I've been injured.

Well, back in the early 1980s, I got dragged to a local politician's meeting. Upon hearing that a few of us were skiers, the man proudly proclaimed his work in defending out right to sue ski areas. The man was stunned by our response. Even the liberal Democrat in the group castigated him for this act. Why? Well, damned fools were getting injured doing damned foolish things on skis (like skiing on trails closed because of dangerous conditions) and then suing the ski areas. What was the result? Higher lift ticket prices for all of us. We all knew the risks -- and accepted them. We didn't want interfering politicians driving up our costs to benefit a small number of damned fools.

But that's a more complicated position.

Just like the currently proposed over regulation of the nascent suborbital space transportation industry.

Best wishes to the people at the SFF Conference. Financial prudence kept me away this year. That should be different in a year's time.

Posted by Chuck Divine at October 9, 2004 09:08 AM

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