Broadcast 3914 Michael Listner

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Guest:  Michael Listner;  Topics:  Plausible commercial space regulations, the need for congressional authorization, Supreme Court decision W.Va vs. EPA, national security, China, Russia and more.

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We welcomed back Michael Listner to discuss the plausibility of commercial space government regulations in light of a recent statement made by V.P. Harris on the Subject.  Michael had much to say about the probability of commercial space regulations but he framed in the context of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding W. Va vs. the EPA.  Thus, much of our discussion followed the need for congressional approval for authorizations in that an agency cannot establish a regulation unless authorized and turned into law by congress.  As I said, much of our program was framed in this clear decision as Michael showed us how it related to commercial space.

Perhaps the best way to concisely summarize our discussion is to once again refer to the Tags which show the topics and the order in which the topics were discussed.  Please note that our Sunday program was interrupted by a Cox cable system failure 45 minutes into the program.  Michael return the next day, Monday evening and completed the intended discussion.  I joined both segments together so our recording represents what should have been a complete Sunday program, not a Part 1 on Sunday and a Part 2 on Monday.  Back to the Tags, for your convenience, I've repeated them below.

Tags:  Michael Listner, VP Harris on commercial space regulation, Supreme Court West Va  vs. EPA decision, National Space Council, specific congressional authorization, rules of the road, continuing supervision, congress matters, SLS, Gateway, rule making comments, government slow walking decisions, purpose of regulations, regulations for guidance, regulations to require/mandate, Department of Commerce, Dept. of Energy, European mindset, sustainability response, responsible space, Musk launch license, space debris concerns, ULA launches, rendezvous and proximity operations, creating government standards norms, standards, space as a global commons, regulation enforcement, FAA, regulation comment period, spectrum example, space tourism and congress, national security space, Dr. Goswami, democracy in space, Russia and commercial space, China and commercial space, SLS compared to Starship, nongovernment space actors, new government regulations and the Supreme Court, military targets, satellite security.

From my perspective, Michael's complex discussion of the significance of the Supreme Court W. Va versus the EPA ruling was the primary standout for our program.  I urge you to listen carefully to Michael's discussion on this court decision because it will be impacting us across the board for a very long time, including the commercial space industry.  Note that we kept coming back to this case and the court's decision throughout the program as Michael referenced it as additional situations came up for discussion. 

A subject of great interest to me is national security space.  Later in our discussion a listener referenced the recent program on the security topic with guest Dr. Namrata Goswami.  Our guest wanted to know if Michael shared her view regarding China and space. Michael did answer the guest question so do listen for his response.  Let us know if you concur with Michael's view by posting on our blog.  Another part I found valuable was Michael's talking about the two viewpoints for regulations.  Listen for the two perspectives, then tell us where you stand by posting on our blog for this show. 

Much was said about the tension regarding the Dept. of Commerce for commercial space regulation as compared to the FAA or the Dep. of Energy.  Also mentioned was the European mindset on regulation and then near the end of the program Michael was asked about space being a global commons.  His response to the global commons questions was most interesting given the history of the commons idea going back to the early space days in the U.S. 

Fremont John inquired about sustainability and responsible space.  Listeners wanted to know about Musk and regulations that might prevent him from getting a launch license for Mars.  Other topics then came up with a focus on ULA launches, self-regulation for the industry, and the problem of upper stages with fuel and batteries that could explode complicating the debris problem.  Following his brief commentary on these topics, Michael delved into rendezvous and proximity operations saying that this was an area needing clarifying regulations.  This brought up commentary on rules of the road, norms and standards.  Before ending our program, Michael was asked about regulation enforcement and the required comment period before any proposed regs are adopted.

Please post your comments/questions for Michael on our blog.  You can reach Michael through me and his website,  Michael's excellent quarterly newsletter is The Precis and you can check it out at  




Michael examines the administration mentioning the upcoming regulation of commercial space

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21 Aug 2022 Michael Listner
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