United Sues ALPA, Four Pilots

July 31, 2008 at 8:33 am | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
From Aviation Week:

United Sues ALPA, Four Pilots

Jul 30, 2008

By Jennifer Michels jennifer_michels@aviationweek.com

In a move it says is to protect thousands of customers and employees, United filed a lawsuit today in a Chicago court seeking an injunction against the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and four of its pilots regarding unlawful job actions that it claims caused the cancelation of hundreds of flights.

According to United, the four pilots were engaged in organized sick leave abuse in retaliation to the airline’s plan to reduce its fleet size and furlough pilots. United announced plans in June to cut 15% of its pilot workforce–about 950 jobs–and 100 aircraft. Those cuts are on top of 1,400 to 1,600 reductions planned for management and contractors, and 600 voluntary redundancies in flight attendant ranks. United told AviationWeek it has seen a spike in pilots calling in sick between July 19 and July 27, which caused the cancelation of 329 flights. . . .

ESA prepares for November’s Ministerial Meeting

July 31, 2008 at 8:30 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From ESA:

ESA prepares for November’s Ministerial Meeting

31 July 2008
In November 2008, the ministers responsible for space activities in ESA’s member states and Canada will gather in The Hague to set the course of Europe’s space programme over the period ahead. They will be invited to endorse the next stages in a series of ongoing programmes and to commit to the start of new programmes.

The main purpose of ESA’s programmes will be to consolidate Space as a strategic asset of fundamental importance for the independence, security and prosperity of Europe. Space is an enabling tool. It gives European decision-makers the ability to respond to critical challenges such as climate change and global security, makes a significant contribution to Europe’s growth and employment, provides indispensable enabling technologies and services for the knowledge-based society, and increases the understanding of our planet and Universe. Space also contributes to European identity, cohesion and security, providing inspiration for possible future human endeavour and drawing young people into scientific and technical education.

Consistent with the above, Ministers will discuss a programme structured around five main topics:

1. Space applications to serve Europe’s public policies, enterprises and citizens
2. Meeting Europe’s security and defence needs
3. Fostering competitive and innovative industries
4. Contributing to the knowledge-based society
5. Securing access to technologies, systems and capabilities for independence and cooperation

Department of State: U.S. Missile Defense Plans in Europe

July 30, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
In a newly released speech entitled “U.S. Missile Defense Plans in Europe” (given at the NATO Defense College, Washington, DC, April 24, 2008), John C. Rood, Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, made references to the Iranian space program:

Our adversaries, like Iran, seek to coerce us and prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies and friends. This subverts the very core of NATO’s principle of the indivisibility of Allied security, as well as NATO solidarity. The decision at Bucharest places NATO on a path to address the increasing threat from the Middle East by states such as Iran.

In his testimony before Congress on March 5,2008, Lieutenant General Maples, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, noted that: “Iran continues to develop and acquire ballistic missiles that can hit Israel and central Europe, including Iranian claims of an extended-range variant of the Shahab-3 and a new 2,000 kilometer medium-range ballistic missile called the “Ashura.” Beyond the steady growth in its missile and rocket inventories, Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems with accuracy improvements and new submunitions payloads.”

For his part, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been very open about Iran’s intentions. Last fall Iran publicly claimed it had developed a new missile with a range of 2000 kilometers. On February 4, Iran claimed it conducted a sub-orbital test of a rocket with a payload designed to collect data on the space environment.

Furthermore, Tehran claimed it will use this data to put its first domestically produced satellite, “Omid” (Hope), into orbit as soon as May or June of this year. The rocket launched on February 4 appeared to be a Shahab-3, based on the videos released by Iran.

Iran also released photographs and videos of a new system in development called “Safir.” This system appears to be much larger than the Shahab-3 and it probably is the system Tehran will use when they attempt to place the “Omid” satellite into orbit. The immediate relevance to missile defense is that many of the technological building blocks involved in the development of space launch vehicles are the same as those required to develop long-range ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

I know there are some commentators who would challenge the idea that Iran has the technology base to develop ballistic missiles of an intercontinental range. But we have been surprised before at how rapid. A nation can make technological advances, and as students of military history you know that surprise has been a constant of military affairs. I am sure the first Bronze Age warrior was no doubt surprised by his Iron Age opponent, while Philip VI and his knights were in for a rude awakening when they faced Edward 111’s longbow men at Crecy.

He also made reference to successful missile defense intercepts including the intercept of USA-193:

Achieving a successful deterrent to missiles relies on technological investment and advances. There are many critics who seek to belittle the feasibility of a robust missile defense. For example, one long-time critic of missile defense, has said that “. . .you would need to hit a bullet with a bullet, as they say. It’s like doing a hole in one when the hole is going 15,000 miles an hour.” Well, if that is the case, then the Missile Defense Agency must have hired Tiger Woods, because 34 of 42 terminal and midcourse hit-to-kill intercepts in the atmosphere and space since 2001 have succeeded. That is not too bad. As Dr. Charles McQueary, the Director, Operation Test and Evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense said on April 1,2008, “[hit-to-kill is no longer a technological uncertainty; it is a reality, being successfully demonstrated many times over the past few years.”

Upcoming Event: U.S.-China Space Cooperation

July 30, 2008 at 8:18 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
From the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

U.S.-China Space Cooperation

Date: August 4, 2008
Time: Registration starts at 10:30, Talk starts at 10:30
Location: CSIS, 1800 K St NW, Washington, DC


Acting Assistant Administrator for International Aviation, Federal Aviation Administration

Rapid growth in China’s aviation sector – now estimated at 8.8 percent per year – increases the challenge of providing effective safety and security operations. Dorothy “Di” REIMOLD, the Federal Aviation Administration’s acting assistant administrator for international aviation, will discuss Sino-American cooperation in the aviation field, including examples of successful joint programs of interest to persons with China or aviation portfolios. One highlight is the U.S.-China Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP), jointly organized by FAA and the U.S. Trade Development Agency, which has become a channel for U.S. public and private entities to provide training and technical cooperation in areas that China’s aviation authorities have identified as priorities. It builds on more than 20 years of FAA cooperation with Chinese aviation organizations on airport development, safety programs, aircraft manufacturing and air traffic control operations.

CSIS’ Space Initiatives Program and Freeman Chair in China Studies are pleased to host Ms. REIMOLD, to discuss the history and successes of cooperation with China on civil aviation as part of our Global Aerospace Agenda series. The CSIS Global Aerospace Agenda is a forum for parties in nations with current and emerging aerospace sectors to discuss their progress as well as potential interest in engagement with other groups. The Global Aerospace Agenda is intended to augment existing dialog among international partners by providing a new, neutral venue for discussion, one in which all interested sectors can communicate openly and directly with each other.

To RVSP, please contact Savina Rupani at (202) 457-8719 or at srupani@csis.org.

The agenda is also available on the website.

50th Anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958

July 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

By Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty

“The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.”
– Pub. L. No. 85-568, 72 Stat. 426 (Jul. 29, 1958) As Amended, §102(a)

Fifty years ago today, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 was passed into law. It was accompanied by an Executive Order that transferred most of the nation’s space-related assets from various parts of the Federal Government to the newly established National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA). In one momentous act the U.S. civil space program was established and NASA was created.

Paul DemblingThe law is also referred to as the NAS Act or the Space Act. It is a comprehensive statute that contains a wide variety of law including contract, tort, international, intellectual property, as well as space law. A small sample of some of the topics it addresses include a life sciences strategic plan; the International Space Station; space settlements; the Congressional Space Medal of Honor; the science, space, and technology education trust fund; and, space commerce agreements. Its major features include the separation of military and civil space; access to information; and, contractor invention property rights; and “other transactions” authority, a broad grant of authority. In 1984, the evolving nature of space activities was recognized in the NAS Act and commercial space was added to civil and military space as the third sphere of space activities.

The NASA Act is primarily the work product of Paul Dembling and Eilene M. Galloway, both of whom worked assiduously with scientists, policymakers, legislators, the Executive Branch, and civilian and military leaders to draft and pass the NAS Act. Mr. Dembling, a Founding Father of space law, told this author that, at the time, he sat down with a large pile of General Accounting Office decisions about the nature and authority of U.S. Federal agencies. From them, he culled a list of powers that the decision makers identified as necessary for an agency to have in order to execute a wide variety of actions. He then wrote those powers into the Act. Mrs. Galloway, the Founding Mother of space law, specifically identifies the “hope for peace” as the other force very much at play in the formation of the space legal regime. She told this author that it is impossible to overstate the power of understanding that space was, in her words, also available for ”purposes other than war: communications, weather, medicine.” It changed fear to hope.

So, today, my colleagues and I continue to teach new generations about the law that established the civil space program. Happy Anniversary Space Program! Happy Anniversary NASA! Here’s to the next 50 years!

Michael C. Wholley, NASA General Counsel

Michael C. Wholley NASA General Counsel

Moldova accedes to Brussels Convention relating to the distribution of programme-carrying signals transmitted by satellite

July 29, 2008 at 10:27 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

Moldova acceded to the Convention relating to the distribution of programme-carrying signals transmitted by satellite, Brussels, 21 May 1974, on the July 28, 2008 according to today’s UN Journal.

Remarks at Sixth Annual Missile Defense Conference

July 29, 2008 at 10:06 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
Newly released statements made at the Sixth Annual Missile Defense Conference by John C. Rood, Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in Washington, DC, March 31, 2008 mention the Iranian Space program:

. . . Let me begin with a couple of quotes – “We do not approve of Iranian actions that are aimed at persistently demonstrating intentions to develop missile technology and to continue enriching uranium.” And another – “This achievement (the launch of the Explorer-1 missile) has shown that Iranian specialists have become familiar with production of liquid-propellant rocket engines, which will also allow them in the long-term to create ballistic missiles of 3,500km-4,000km in range or even more.”

These sound like statements made by a U.S. official, maybe even myself — but I can’t take credit for either of them. The first was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov several days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proudly witnessed the launch of Iran’s “Explorer-1” rocket, a rocket that looked a lot like a version of Iran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missile. Col. Gen Viktor Yesin, former Chief of General Staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Troops, made the second. Our Russian colleagues share our concern of Iran’s increasing capabilities and the threat they pose.

In his testimony before Congress on March 5, 2008, LTG Maples, Director, DIA noted that:

Iran continues to develop and acquire ballistic missiles that can hit Israel and central Europe, including Iranian claims of an extended-range variant of the Shahab-3 and a new 2,000km medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) called the Ashura. Beyond the steady growth in its missile and rocket inventories, Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems with accuracy improvements and new sub-munition payloads.

For his part President Ahmadinejad has boasted of Iran’s intention to become a space faring nation. Iran plans to place into orbit its first home-produced satellite “Omid” (Hope) in May or June of this year. Obviously the sort of rocketry that can place a satellite into orbit demonstrates the key technologies needed to develop missiles with intercontinental reach.

I know that there are some commentators who would challenge the notion that Iran has the technology base to develop ballistic missiles of an intercontinental range by 2015, which is our intelligence community’s estimate. But we have been surprised before at how rapidly a nation can make technological advances. In 1998, intelligence experts indicated that North Korea was years away from testing a multi-stage rocket. Shortly thereafter, on August 30, 1998, North Korea launched a Taepo-dong-1 over Japan. More recently, the North Korean launch of seven missile launches on July 4 and 5, 2006, demonstrates a high degree of operational sophistication and reliability. Recall that six of these seven launches were successes, with only the Taepo-dong-2 a failure. We know that there is cooperation between Iran and North Korea, suggesting that Iran may accelerate its programs and acquire missiles with even longer ranges. . . .

Secure World Foundation receives Observer Status at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

July 29, 2008 at 9:31 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From the Secure World Foundation Newsletter:

Secure World Foundation receives Observer Status at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
By Phil Smith

The Secure World Foundation was granted permanent observer status by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Such a status enables the Foundation to contribute to the international dialogue on space policy alongside Member States.

In this capacity, the Foundation will provide input on matters related to the peaceful use of space, cooperative Earth observation, mitigation of orbital debris, tracking and deflection of near Earth objects, space traffic management and other space security matters. . . .

FCC: Commission Approves Transaction Between Sirius Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. Subject to Conditions

July 29, 2008 at 9:06 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The FCC has published its Public Notice of its approval of the XM – Sirius Satellite Merger: Commission Approves Transaction Between Sirius Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. Subject to Conditions. The notice states:

On July 25, 2008, the Commission voted to approve the application of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (“Sirius”) and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (“XM”; jointly, the “Applicants”) to transfer control of the licenses and authorizations held by Sirius and XM and their subsidiaries for the provision of satellite digital audio radio service (or “SDARS”) in the United States. The Commission found that grant of the application, with the voluntary commitments made by the applicants and other conditions, is in the public interest. The transaction will benefit consumers by making available to them a wider array of programming choices at various price points and by affording them greater choice and control over the programming to which they subscribe.

Highlights of the Commission’s action are noted below, followed by details concerning the grant of the application and the separate resolution of certain enforcement matters.

· After reviewing the empirical data available as part of its competitive analysis, the Commission determined there was insufficient evidence in the record to predict the likelihood of anticompetitive harms. It therefore evaluated the application under “worstcase” assumptions, i.e., that the relevant market is limited to SDARS. This approach permitted the Commission to protect consumers from potential adverse effects of the transaction while also allowing the Commission to balance potential harms against potential public interest benefits. The Commission concluded that the merger, absent the Applicants’ voluntary commitments and other conditions, would result in potential harms. With those commitments and conditions to mitigate the harms, however, the Commission found the transaction to be in the public interest. All of the voluntary commitments must continue in effect at least three years after consummation of the merger.

· The Commission accepted the Applicants’ voluntary commitments to:

o Cap prices for 36 months after consummation of the transaction, subject to certain cost pass-throughs after one year. In addition, six months prior to the end of commitment period, the Commission will seek public comment on whether the cap continues to be necessary in the public interest and will determine whether it should be extended, removed, or modified. The merger approval is conditioned on the Commission’s ability to modify or extend the price cap beyond the three-year commitment period.

o Offer to consumers, within three months of consummation of the transaction, the ability to receive a number of new programming packages, including the ability to select programming on an a la carte basis.

o Make available 4 percent of its capacity for use by certain Qualified Entities, and an additional 4 percent of capacity for the delivery of noncommercial educational or informational (“NCE”) programming, which will enhance the diversity of programming available to consumers.

o Offer interoperable receivers in the “retail after-market,” i.e., receivers available at retail outlets for installation in consumers’ automobiles or homes, within nine months of consummation of the merger.

o Refrain from entering into any agreement that would grant an equipment manufacturer an exclusive right to manufacture, market, and sell SDARS receivers. Applicants also commit to refrain from barring any manufacturer from including in any receiver non-interfering hybrid digital terrestrial radio functionality, iPod compatibility, or other audio technology. In addition, Applicants commit to make available the intellectual property needed to allow any device manufacturer to develop equipment that can deliver SDARS.

o File the applications needed to provide Sirius satellite service to Puerto Rico via terrestrial repeaters within three months of the consummation of the merger.

· Although the Commission found it unnecessary to impose a condition requiring the inclusion of hybrid digital radio technology in SDARS receivers, it recognized that important questions have been raised about hybrid digital radio that warrant further examination in a separate proceeding. The Commission therefore committed to initiating a notice of inquiry within 30 days after adoption of the merger order to gather additional information on the issues.

· The Commission reiterated that SDARS licensees are already prohibited, independent of the merger, from using terrestrial repeaters to distribute local content—including both programming and advertising—that is distinct from that provided to subscribers nationwide via satellite.

· The Commission prohibited the merged entity from entering into agreements that would bar any terrestrial radio station from broadcasting live local sporting events.

· Concurrent with grant of the application, the Commission repealed the prohibition on the merger of the two SDARS service providers as set forth in the 1997 SDARS Report and Order.1 For the same reasons that it approved the merger, the Commission concluded that repeal of the rule prohibiting the merger will, on balance, serve the public interest.

· In separate actions on July 25, 2008, the Commission approved Consent Decrees between it and each of the Applicants. The Consent Decrees terminated the Commission’s investigations into the Applicants’ compliance with the FCC regulations governing FM modulators and terrestrial repeaters. They provide that XM and Sirius will voluntarily contribute approximately $17.4 million and $2.2 million, respectively, to the U.S. Treasury and take additional remedial measures.

The statements made by the individual commissioners are available:





Ireland wants EASA to tighten business aviation safety rules

July 29, 2008 at 8:44 am | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From Flight Global:


SOURCE:Flight International
Ireland wants EASA to tighten business aviation safety rules
By David Learmount

The European Aviation Safety Agency has been urged to examine corporate aviation on the continent. The Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) says EASA should “review the situation with regard to the regulation of corporate aviation activity in Europe as a matter of urgency”.

But the European Business Aircraft Association (EBAA) counters that parts of the charter sector of the general aviation industry, not the corporate sector, is at issue, and the situation cited by the AAIU reflects a need for enforcement of existing regulations rather than the creation of more rules. . . .

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