International Institute of Space Law

Article

Protecting the Dark Skies of the Earth from Satellite Constellations Under International Space Law

Authors Tejas Bharadwaj
Author's information

Tejas Bharadwaj
Tejas Bharadwaj, BA. LLB Hons. Energy Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.
  • Abstract

      Satellite Constellations are often brighter and visible in the night sky and therefore an increase in the number of satellite constellations in the Earth’s orbit can threaten the dark skies of the earth. The bright trails of these satellites constellations on the Dark skies in large numbers can interfere with various Astronomical activities. Considering these interferences, this paper will discuss the legal measures under International Space law to protect Dark skies from Satellite constellations. Firstly, this paper will emphasize how an extension of the “Equitable Access principle” by the ITU to LEO and MEO will help in regulating the number of operating Satellite Constellations, thereby reducing the disturbances caused to Dark skies of the earth. Secondly, this paper will analyse how the concept of “Milestones based launching” of Satellite constellations as agreed under WRC 2019 can help in shaping mitigation measures. Thirdly, this paper will emphasize on the Role of Domestic Regulators such as FCC of U.S etc. and the development of National Policies to regulate Satellite Constellations in order to prevent their pollution of dark skies. Finally this paper will evaluate the importance of World Heritage Convention 1972 in protecting the Dark Skies.

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