Finding of No Significant Impact for SpaceX Launch

January 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The FAA published a Finding of No Significant impact for SpaceX’s Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida in Today’s Federal Register (74 Fed. Reg. 5715-5718):

SUMMARY: The FAA participated as a cooperating agency with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in preparation of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Program (Falcon Launch Vehicle Program) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida, November 2007. The Falcon Launch Vehicle Program is a commercial venture by Space Exploration Technologies, Inc. (SpaceX) to put spacecraft into orbit and supply the International Space Station (ISS) once the Space Shuttle is retired. The Proposed Action analyzed in the EA includes launching two space launch vehicles, the Falcon 1 and the Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 40, while utilizing the Solid Motor Assembly and Readiness Facility (SMARF) building as a vehicle support facility, and the reentry and recovery of the Dragon reentry capsule in the ocean.

The EA analyzed the environmental consequences of conducting up to twelve Falcon 1 launches per year and up to twelve Falcon 9 launches per year starting in 2008 for the next five years from SLC 40 at CCAFS. Two alternative locations, SLC 37 and 47, were considered for the launch of the Falcon vehicles. The EA also analyzed the environmental consequences of reentry/recovery of the Dragon reentry capsule. Additionally, the EA analyzed infrastructure
improvements proposed at CCAFS to support the proposed launch
activities. The USAF signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
on December 21, 2007, which stated that the Proposed Action should not have a significant environmental impact on the human environment.

SpaceX is required to obtain a launch license from the FAA to
conduct launches of the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles with
commercial payloads. SpaceX also is required to obtain a reentry
license from the FAA for the reentry of the Dragon capsule. The FAA is using the EA to support its environmental determination for a launch
license for SpaceX to launch Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles at CCAFS
and a reentry license for the Dragon capsule.

From its independent review and consideration, the FAA has
determined that the Proposed Action addressed in this FONSI, to issue a launch or reentry license for Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicle activities, is substantially the same as the actions analyzed in the Falcon Launch Vehicle Program EA and that FAA’s comments and
suggestions have been satisfied (see 1506.3(c) and FAA Order 1050.1E, 518h). The FAA formally adopts the EA and hereby incorporates the analysis to support future decisions on license applications.

After reviewing and analyzing currently available data and
information on existing conditions, project impacts, and measures to
mitigate those impacts, the FAA has determined that its action is not a Federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment within the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Therefore, the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required and the FAA is issuing this FONSI. The FAA made this determination in accordance with all applicable environmental laws.

For a Copy of the EA or FONSI Contact: Questions or comments should be directed to Mr. Daniel Czelusniak; FAA Environmental Specialist; Federal Aviation Administration; 800 Independence Ave., SW.; AST-I00, Suite 331; Washington, DC 20591; (202) 267-5924.

Russia Adopts Satellite Navigation Law

January 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From Roscosmos press release (unofficial Google Translation):

30-01-2009 30 January 2009 year the State Duma adopted the Law «On the navigation activities”
January 30, 2009 The State Duma adopted on the second ( «for» -378) and third ( «for» – 407) readings of the bill on the navigation activities. ”

Chairman of the Committee on Defense Viktor Zavarzin reminded that the law will establish a procedure for interaction between actors in the satellite navigation activities, and create conditions for the use of satellite navigation systems, including GLONASS system, in the interests of defense and security, the various sectors of the economy, the individual consumer market, and international cooperation .

“By the bill received 12 amendments that remove the comments, Legal Department of the State Duma and the Committee proposes to adopt. As a result of refinement in the light of the amendments in the bill ensure compliance with legal technique, corrected errors in terminology, eliminated internal contradictions excluded rules duplicate provisions other pieces of legislation “, – said V. Zavarzin. He stressed that the new legal provisions in the bill does not appear and the concept of the bill remained unchanged.

“It was expected that in 2010 the orbital grouping of the GLONASS system will be fully deployed. Requisite funds in the federal budget provides for” – said V. Zavarzin.

The law will take effect from the date of its official publication, with the exception of the rules providing that, in order to provide defense and security, improve the efficiency of traffic vehicles, the safety of passenger transportation, special and hazardous cargo, conduct geodetic and cadastral works transportation, facilities and systems (including weapons, military and special equipment) shall be fitted with navigation operated by the Russian navigation system. The list of such technical tools and systems will determine the federal executive bodies, executive bodies of subjects of the Federation and local self-government in accordance with their powers. These rules scheduled to become effective on 1 January 2011.

Office of Public Relations and Interaction with the media

(information from the site of the State Duma

This is an unofficial translation and is provided to the readership of Res Communis as a convenience.

Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century

January 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Posted in Library, Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The Claremont Institute has published Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century. From the Executive Summary:

Missile defense has entered a new era. With the initial missile defense deployments, the decades-long debate over whether to protect the American people from the threat of ballistic missile attack was settled – and settled unequivocally in favor of missile defense. What remains an open question is how the American missile defense system will evolve in the years ahead to take maximum advantage of technological opportunities to meet present and emerging dangers.

Russia Space Agency Plans To Build Own Orbital Station

January 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From Space Daily:

Russia Space Agency Plans To Build Own Orbital Station

by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jan 30, 2009
Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will propose to the government the construction of a low-orbit space station to support future exploration of the Moon and Mars, an agency official said Thursday.

“We will soon propose to our government a project to construct a low-orbit complex, which could serve as a foundation for the implementation of the lunar program and later on – the Mars program,” Alexei Krasnov, director of manned flight programs at Roscosmos, told a news conference in Moscow.

Krasnov said that Russia, as well as other countries, “is looking at the Moon in a mid-term perspective, and would want not only to go there and come back, but to establish a lunar
base, which would allow us to start exploring Mars in the future.”

“These are our intentions, but we are working hard to ensure that these plans get adequate financial and legislative support from the government,” the official said.

Russia, a pioneer in robotic lunar research, abandoned its lunar exploration program with the end of the Moon race in the mid-1970s, but the idea of exploring the Earth’s natural satellite has been revisited recently, due to ambitious international projects to develop the Moon’s resources and to use it as a stepping-stone for further space exploration.

Roscosmos earlier said its first unmanned flight to the Moon would include a lunar orbiter to fire 12 penetrators across diverse regions to create a seismic network. These will be used to research the origins of the Moon.

Krasnov also said Roscosmos would propose extending the use of the International Space Station (ISS) until 2020. . . . [Full Story]

Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability Review of Space Florida

January 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability has issued a research memorandum: Review of Space Florida, January 30, 2009:

As an extension of the House Economic Development and Community Affairs Policy Council’s interim project on the state’s commercial space industry, OPPAGA reviewed Space Florida’s progress in implementing the 2006 Space Florida Act, Ch. 331, Part II, Florida Statutes.

We concluded that Space Florida has met most of its statutory responsibilities for creating partnerships with other state and local entities to recruit and retain aerospace businesses in Florida. However, Space Florida needs to complete developing a spaceport master plan and improve its business plan by including specific measurable objectives, timelines for completing major activities, and performance measures for assessing the progress being made in achieving the plan’s goals and objectives. This would help Space Florida communicate its goals, objectives, and performance to the Legislature and other stakeholders.

The Legislature may wish to consider the following two options to ensure the cost-effective expenditure of state funds for spaceport development:

* amending Chapter 331, Part II, Florida Statutes, to establish deadlines for the completion of the spaceport master plan and other required plans; and

* prohibiting Space Florida, via proviso language in the Fiscal Year 2009-10 General Appropriations Act, from expending unencumbered spaceport development funds until it has developed a spaceport master plan.

More at the Write Stuff.

Spaceport American and Spaceport Sweden Memorandum of Agreement

January 29, 2009 at 11:34 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

From Spaceport America:

Spaceport America and Sweden Announce Sister Spaceport

LAS CRUCES, NM – Officials from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Spaceport Sweden to align with Spaceport America as ‘Sister Spaceports’. Working in collaboration, the two spaceports will increase global cooperation in the commercial space industry, promote cultural understanding and stimulate local economic development, tourism and education.

Located in Kiruna, Sweden, the European spaceport has a mission similar to that of Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Both spaceports are working with Virgin Galactic, which recently entered into a 20-year lease agreement to build their global headquarters at Spaceport America. Virgin Galactic is also planning to launch from Spaceport Sweden. Kiruna has a history of space exploration as the site of Esrange Space Center, which is the launch pad for sounding rockets, highaltitude research balloons, and the test facility for new aerospace systems as well as the world’s busiest civil ground station for satellites.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said, “This Memorandum of Understanding is another step forward for Spaceport America and will help us to realize the global potential of commercials space.” The Governors office announced the historic lease agreement with Virgin Galactic on December 31, 2008. NMSA Executive Director Steve Landeene is excited about the explosive growth of the commercial space industry, and the prospect of working with Spaceport Sweden. “The Swedish Space Corporation and Spaceport Sweden are currently executing missions, and it’s exciting to see increasing interest and activity all over the globe for commercial spaceflight,” he said. “This MOU means that both spaceports can work together to develop and promote the commercial space industry.”

“Spaceport Sweden is well on track, and working with Spaceport America, we feel we can continue to make great progress on regulatory issues and forward our business processes,” said Bengt Jaegtnes, Vice Chairman of Spaceport Sweden. “Our relationship to Spaceport America is important as we all work toward the goal of developing the commercial space industry.” Jaegtnes and his team attended the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) in Las Cruces in 2007 & 2008, where the relationship between the two spaceports began.

“Olle Norberg, Head of Spaceport Sweden, first spoke at ISPCS in 2007,” said Pat Hynes, Chair of ISPCS. “As a result of their participation in our industry conference, we have a maturing relationship that will enable both spaceports to discuss meaningful collaboration in the areas of education, technology and tourism. This is exactly what the ISPCS is supposed to do, grow the international business and commercial space industry. As Director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium at New Mexico State University, I am thrilled with the educational potential from this collaboration.”

Spaceport America continues to make progress in the state of New Mexico. The project received an FAA Site Operators License in December, giving Spaceport America the ability to conduct vertical launch operations. On December 31, 2008, a 20-year lease agreement was reached between the State of New Mexico and Virgin Galactic to establish their world headquarters in New Mexico. The architectural firm of URS/Foster + Partners is completing the final design for the terminal and hangar facility, with construction scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2009. Road construction to Spaceport America is already underway.

Spaceport America has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Racing Inc./Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. The NMSA currently projects the terminal and hangar facility to be completed by late 2010.

House Passes HR 1: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

January 29, 2009 at 11:32 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The House of Representatives has passed HR 1: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which includes appropriations for NASA in Section C:



For an additional amount for `Science’, $400,000,000, of which not less than $250,000,000 shall be solely for accelerating the development of the tier 1 set of Earth science climate research missions recommended by the National Academies Decadal Survey.


For an additional amount for `Aeronautics’, $150,000,000.

cross agency support programs

For an additional amount for `Cross Agency Support Programs’, for necessary expenses for restoration and mitigation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration owned infrastructure and facilities related to the consequences of hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008 for which the President declared a major disaster under title IV of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, $50,000,000.

Intelligence Community Directive on Air Intelligence

January 29, 2009 at 11:17 am | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

Secrecy News points to a new directive on Maritime and Air Intelligence: Intelligence Community Directive 902: Maritime and Air Intelligence Integration.

FCC Public Notices on Satellite Communications

January 28, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The Federal Communications Commission has released two new public notices on Satellite Communications:



New U.S. Military Documents on Space Operations

January 28, 2009 at 11:12 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

Secrecy News points to two new military documents on Space Operations.

The first is Joint Publication 3-14 Space Operations which was issued on January 6, 2008:

This publication has been prepared under the direction of the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff. It sets forth joint doctrine to govern the activities and performance of the
Armed Forces of the United States in joint operations and provides the doctrinal basis for
interagency coordination and for US military involvement in multinational operations. It
provides military guidance for the exercise of authority by combatant commanders and
other joint force commanders (JFCs) and prescribes joint doctrine for operations,
education, and training. It provides military guidance for use by the Armed Forces in
preparing their appropriate plans. It is not the intent of this publication to restrict the
authority of the JFC from organizing the force and executing the mission in a manner the
JFC deems most appropriate to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the
overall objective.

The Second is Army Regulation 900–1: Department of the Army Space Policy which was issued on January 23, 2008:

1–1. Purpose
This regulation prescribes policy, establishes objectives, and assigns responsibility for space related planning and programming, combat development, and materiel development. It assigns responsibilities and membership to the Army Space Council (ASC).

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