Commercial Space Law Development
I posted a version of this at Freespace earlier today, but thought it would fit fine here, too.
The House of Representatives' recent passage of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 marks a positive development for the fledgling commercial space tourism industry. Alan Boyle has been following this legislation and has a comprehensive article explaining the pros and cons of the bill.
Despite some shortcomings, the bill provides clearer guidance for the FAA, which has so far been working on an ad hoc basis in licensing experimental spaceships like Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne. In principle, I would prefer no regulation at all. But both the aviation and rocketry industries are already subject to onerous regulatory schemes, which could have been extended to strangle the suborbital tourism business while it is still in the cradle. So this is an improvement on the pre-existing legal framework. I might write up more on this later, but Alan Boyle's article is a good place to start.