Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Riga trains lawyers for when the m--f-- falls from the sky

This is a bit of a weird post until you think about it. It seems that the Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) held a European finalist moot court competition on, of all things, space law (a complicated case involving the collision of two satellites, one a vital communications link for some dirt-poor African country). Chris de Cooker of the European Space Agency (ESA) was one of the moot court judges and he and the rector of the RGSL, Dr. Lesley Jane Smith talked to me about what all this means, as well as what joining the ESA could eventually mean for Latvia.
Satellites are still an important part of global telecoms (nobody is going to run optical cable through 700 km of snake-infested desert to Upper Squalidania compared to the cost of a satellite up/down link that can be airlifted in).
It also reminds me of a premonition I had at a Motorola Iridium (remember that?) facility in Arizona in 1999. A small group of journalists was standing under a full-sized (the size of a compact car) model of one of the satellites hanging from the ceiling and I said in a too-loud whisper -- "I wouldn't want this m***f*** coming down in my back yard." Well, the RGSL is training the lawyers you will need when the m-f does come down in your back yard.

Here's the video:

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