International Institute of Space Law

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Issue 4, 2021 Expand all abstracts

    We are now living in an era where public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly common and for good reason. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) leadership recognises the importance of these collaborations to further developing the space sector; many countries’ space efforts support this vision too. The UAE through its policies, laws and regulations supports the economy. It is aiming to attract more investors and start-ups to the UAE space sector as well as other sectors. This article will highlight the growth of the space economy, the UAE Space Vision, Policy, Strategy, attractive Legislations such as UAE Space Law and Companies Law, and finally the Courts of Space.

Fatheya Al Sharji
Space Policies and Legislations Department, UAE Space Agency.

    The Eurasian Economic Union declared to raise competitiveness of remote sensing services, provision of geoinformation goods/services as a part of development strategy. Estimated economic effect is $500m in 10 years. Presented study aims to reveal how legal instruments are used to enhance state cooperation and pool economic resources of partner states for economic growth.
    Newly introduced regulatory framework is analysed through existing regulation of space goods/services provision (establishments of legal entities, licensing, provision of national regime, tariff preferences, financial services delivery, state procurement). The paper examines export and import benefits in trade with specific countries under Union-third countries free trade agreements. The work also demonstrates correlation of Union’s regime with obligation of Union’s member states in the World Trade Organization.
    On the basis of the research conclusions are formulated on existing supportive legal base for future perspectives of trade growth in space goods/services within the Union and with third countries.

Darya Bohdan
PhD Student at Department of International Law, Belarusian State University.

Sustainable Corporate Finance and Space Activities: Towards a Sustainable Space Taxonomy

Keywords Space Traffic Management, Sustainable Space Rating, Sustainable Corporate Finance, Disclosure Regulation, European Green Deal, Sustainable Space Taxonomy
Authors Lucien Rapp, Maria Rhimbassen and Maria Topka
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sustainable Corporate Finance (SCF) intends to respond to the climate challenge by imposing on financial operators a responsible approach in their investment operations. It takes place in the context of the European Green Deal and seeks to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities that the COVID19 crisis is offering to the spacefaring nations. Space activities should be primarily concerned by SCF. Some space activities such as earth observation contribute to the fight against climate change; they are virtuous and should attract responsible investors. Others are or may be polluting, whether it be the accumulation of space debris or the effects of uncontrolled development of space mining or space tourism. SCF could therefore contribute to reshape the global space ecosystem.
    This article builds on a recent proposal for a Sustainable Space Rating (Rathnasabapathy et alii, 2020). In line with the current efforts of the European Union in the framework of the European Green Deal (Disclosure Regulation, 2019), it suggests the development of a Sustainable Space Taxonomy to encourage public and private investors to invest in industries that are sensitive and respectful to the environmental risks of outer space. To this end, it describes some contextual elements, pointing out the establishment of a new financial ecosystem following the emergence of private initiative in the space sector. It then analyzes the architecture of the various measures taken in Europe around the Disclosure Regulation. Thirdly, it shows the conditions and modalities of their adaptation to the space sector and paves the way toward a Sustainable Space Taxonomy.

Lucien Rapp
Lucien Rapp is a law professor at the University of Toulouse. He currently heads the SIRIUS Chair (https://www.chaire-sirius.eu).

Maria Rhimbassen
Maria Rhimbassen is currently a research associate to the SIRIUS Chair and a PhD candidate at the University Toulouse-Capitole.

Maria Topka
Maria Topka is currently a research fellow to the SIRIUS Chair.

    The days when the conduct of space activities was an “invitation-only party” for governmental agencies and their guests are long gone. Apart from the popular personas and firms that have monopolized the spotlight for some time, the private sector's footprint in space is expanding at a fast rate. Thus, not only did Jeff Bezos announce his “retirement” from Amazon to dedicate more time in his Blue Origin venture, but also an increasing number of space start-ups are emerging around the globe due - inter alia - to the lowering of launch costs. Admittedly though, companies involved in the space industry are not in the business of making money - at least not yet. An inevitable question that arises is how these companies will raise the capital necessary to invest in RD, until their bottom line reflects their prospected valuations. Lately, a vehicle that has proven popular among the IPO-shy group of space companies is reverse mergers through special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). The rise of SPACs in capital markets has also led to the heated debate whether they are an acceptable means of “going public”, virtually democratizing finance, or whether the lack of regulation will be another “black hole” in the history of financial markets. Initially, the present paper briefly addresses the ambiguous nature and varied acceptance of SPACs in capital markets globally. It then turns to an elaborate examination of cross-border mergers between space start-ups and SPACs, which are anticipated in the months ahead. The paper further attempts to assess their potential implications, in particular whether SPACs are an optimal manner to finance companies with high-end innovation expectations, and what standards of Corporate Governance should be expected thereby. Moreover, the respective regulatory lacuna is juxtaposed to the requirement of close supervision of space activities in general. In conclusion, the paper reflects upon the democratization of space by comparing this capital-raising technique with public-private partnerships. In essence, the promotion of innovation and the survival of new players in heavily regulated realms, as is outer space, depends upon investment-friendly policies, even beyond long-standing geopolitical rivalries. To that effect, financing techniques via governmental subsidies, and their respective compliance with applicable regional regulation, is examined as an alternative.

Iliana Griva
Faculty of Law/Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, St Cross Building, St Cross Road, Oxford, OX1 3UL. ONASSIS Foundation Scholar | Foundation for Education and European Culture Scholar.

Jack Wright Nelson
National University of Singapore.