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Michael Listner, Monday, 5-5-14 May 6, 2014

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Michael Listner, Monday, 5-5-14


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Guest:  Michael Listner.  Topics:  Space law issues regarding the SpaceX litigation against the Air Force/U.S. Government & Russia & NASA re moving forward on ISS & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Michael Listner back to the program to explain the legal issues involved in the SpaceX-Air Force lawsuit and to discuss the Russian-NASA issues regarding the ISS as a result of U.S. sanctions on Russia and Russian leaders due to the crisis in the Ukraine & Crimea.  In the first segment of our 90 minute program, Michael addressed the SpaceX law suit.  He explained that it was a bid protest law suit, he explained the background and the legal issues involved.  He also said SpaceX was not asking for money but for a Declaratory Judgment that they are eligible to bid on bulk buy launch services which up to now have been the exclusive domain of ULA.  He also said it was the court that picked up on the national security issue regarding ULA, the RD180 engine and the continued purchase of the engines from Dmitry Rogozin & Russia in spite of the Executive Order that may prevent such new purchase activity.  On this issue, the court issued a temporary injunction in favor of SpaceX.  He also explained the process wherein ULA has joined the action as an interested party.  Our entire first segment was devoted to Michael responding to listener questions, explaining the legal concepts, and making sure we understood what this law suit was about and the legal issues the lawsuit focuses on.

In the second segment, Michael started off with a few clarifications dealing with the lawsuit and mentioned that as he understood it, ULA had offered the Air Force a guarantee to replace the launch and satellite if one of their launches failed.  Given ULA resources, that would not be that unusual but it would be a hard act for SpaceX to follow given the fact that SpaceX is young and still growing/developing.  We then switched to the topic of Russia and NASA.  Here, Michael talked about legal agreements and treaties, including the ISS Agreement among partners known as the IGA (he said it amounts to a treaty).  He did not think it would be that easy for the current problems with Russia as a result of our sanctions given the Ukrainian and Crimean issues to escalate to taking down the ISS agreement and other space activities underway with Russia and NASA.  Michael was asked about the likelihood of NASA getting more funding and working with SpaceX to fastback the Dragon development for taking humans to the ISS.  Other questions took us back to the lawsuit discussed in the first segment.  As we neared the end of the program, Michael also talked about the PR campaigns by SpaceX and ULA and how this was a high stakes lawsuit.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact Michael through me.  For Twitter use Michael J. Listner@ponder68.


1. Library: A Round-up of Reading | Res Communis - May 19, 2014

[…] Michael Listner, Monday, 5-5-14 – The Space Show […]

2. DDAY - May 12, 2014

And if it is thrown out, I suspect to see a lot of people complaining that it’s a technicality. But if they missed the deadline by a month or more, that’s a lot more than a technicality. You would think that their legal team would be aware of all of this.

Michael Listner - May 12, 2014

Their legal team may be aware of this and likely mentioned it to their client. However, the client has the final say. If he client says throw a Hail Mary then the legal team needs to throw the Hail Mary so long as they advise the client that it probably will not work.

3. Dwayne Day - May 9, 2014

Not mentioned on the show, but mentioned in this article, is the fact that SpaceX apparently had a 90-day deadline to file a protest. How could their April 28 filing be within that deadline? This whole thing could be thrown out because they waited too long to protest.

Michael Listner - May 12, 2014

Interesting. I hope the government’s response becomes available once published. It should make for interesting reading.

4. DDAY - May 8, 2014

Towards the end, Mr. Listner mentioned getting involved in some comments sections of blogs. I’ve found that this is increasingly pointless. There are about a dozen people who post across multiple blogs and discussion boards pretty extensively, and they are pushing the same arguments that they have for many years. In fact, you can look at some of the prolific posters on certain sites and if you know how to dig into archives, you can find evidence of them making the exact same arguments 15-20 years ago. I’m not kidding about that; there are Usenet posts and BBS posts from some of these same people who have been fighting with each other and calling each other names for DECADES. (I imagine that if you could study the demographics, you would find that they are overwhelmingly white middle-aged conservative/libertarian males who do not work in the space industry). There’s no point jumping into the fray with them, because you’re not going to convince them that their religion is wrong.

I have found this recent legal action amusing, because it seems that suddenly a lot of these commenters fancy themselves as legal experts. A few years ago you could see all these people acting as if they were suddenly experts on federal contracting regulations. And before that they were all experts in developing space architectures and implementing ISRU and propellant depots. Now they all are experts in contract law. All I can say is that if you fell over unconscious in their vicinity, they would probably grab a scalpel and start operating, because they’d become a surgery expert on the spot. There’s no lack of self-confidence among that crowd.

But I think we can take comfort that despite all their noise, they’re not actually affecting the policy or the courts.

5. Space-for-All at HobbySpace » Space policy roundup – May.6.14 - May 6, 2014

[…] * Michael Listner, Monday, 5-5-14 | Thespaceshow’s Blog – On the show yesterday, space law expert Michael Listner discussed the “the legal issues involved in the SpaceX-Air Force lawsuit and […]  the Russian-NASA issues regarding the ISS as a result of U.S. sanctions on Russia and Russian leaders due to the crisis in the Ukraine & Crimea”. […]

Michael Listner - May 9, 2014

Lol, I couldn’t put it better myself.

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