Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The social world of Australian space

Last night it was the conference dinner at the Australian Space Development Conference in Adelaide. I didn't register for the conference, and have not seen a single paper - but I did the important events! The dinner was sponsored by Arianespace and each of us got a fabulous tacky Ariane souvenir, which I completely love of course: a highlighter pen disguised as an Ariane 5. They screened an Arianespace promotional DVD which was full of images of Kourou - the Jupiter control room, the Ariane 5 maquette, the BIL and the BAF etc, and it made me feel quite nostalgic about my week there in 2005.

Caught up with lots of Aussie space luminaries like Roger Franzen, Ian Tuohy, Gordon Pike, Bill Barrett, Naomi Mathers, Kirby Ikin and of course my ever charming friend Brett Biddington. Also met Lindsay Cambell, PR manager for Air Force's operations at Woomera, and we concocted some schemes. (Only I fear that I can't recall exactly what they were this morning - they sounded wonderful last night though!).

Michael Davis, Adelaide-based space lawyer who was responsible for the International Space University Summer Session in Adelaide a few years ago, suggested that I put in a submission to the Senate enquiry on Australian space. I had considered this, but was not sure what it would achieve. Someone else also asked me if I had done one, so given that people clearly see my input as valuable, I'm going to do it!

The delectable Anthony Wicht, engineer and space lawyer, allowed himself to be persuaded to be a co-author with Nigel Springbett-Bruer and I on the paper about - see below - the application of the World Heritage Convention to space.

I ended the evening discussing what a complete bastard Newton was with Michael Green, who must be only person I have ever met who has the read the entire Principia.

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