From the Economist:

IF ALL goes well, on Monday June 21st the small town of Mojave in California will be writing itself into the history books. At 6.30am local time, a high-altitude jet aircraft will fly to around 50,000 feet and from there a rocket, SpaceShipOne (pictured above), and its pilot will launch into space. It will be the first non-government effort to put a human beyond the earth?s atmosphere.

In spite of the fact that SpaceShipOne can get off of the ground without government assitance it seems that the industry cannot:

Unfortunately, whether an industry actually emerges depends less on rocket science and more on the dull-but-crucial problem of the regulatory costs imposed by government. If suborbital craft are regulated as if they were normal aircraft, then they could cost several hundred million dollars to certify. This would kill the industry before it even got going. Space entrepreneurs and lobbyists are arguing that it is unfair to impose the regulatory regime of a 100-year old industry on a fragile newborn. Another issue is whether government will offer the industry a cap on liability in case of accidents.

Last year, the world?s first space tourist, Dennis Tito, made a plea to Congress that as a potential investor in suborbital craft he was not looking to government for funding, technology, tax credits or loan guarantees. But, he said, ?I would like to know which government agency, and which set of regulations, will oversee this new industry.?

From Spacearium:

"H.R. 3752 (Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004) is precisely the kind of legislation Congress should enact in order to give investors like me confidence that our space tourism ventures will be regulated in a fair and streamlined manner. I hope the Senate takes up this bill soon and sends it on to President Bush for his signature.," stated Dennis Tito, the first space tourist in history.

The commercial space industry, currently still awaiting its own birth needs legislation to insure that the United States government does not legislate and/or regulate it out of existence.

Our homage to the men with the guns is: Can we please have our private commercial spaceflight, please? We will let you regulate us. Just do not treat us like airplanes. We are not airplanes.

I can already envision a future Commercial Space Flight Security Administration searching baggage to keep America safe from nail files, and grooming kits in space.

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"Please, Mr.

"Please, Mr. Knife-Wielding-Criminal, if you're going to stab me, please stab me in the arm instead of the chest..."

Or, how about, no stabbin' at all?

The Economist recently wrote

The Economist recently wrote how government action led to Wi-Fi: by leaving the spectrum Wi-Fi uses alone. Were the same inaction taken vis-a-vis space . . . well, WOW!

Of course, I suppose that there is some menace posed by objects falling from the sky, but then again, that's what (private) insurance is for!