International Institute of Space Law

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Issue 1, 2021 Expand all abstracts

Transfer of Ownership In-Orbit

Shaking the Status Quo and Recalibrating the Registration and Liability Regimes

Authors Theodora Liameti, Panagiota Brouma and Dimitra Anagnostopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The increased commercialization of space activities threatens to destabilize the foundations of international space law. This paper reviews the correlation between Articles VI, VII, and VIII OST and questions registration as the exclusive legal basis for jurisdiction while discussing alternative links, like ownership and effective control. It attempts, inter alia, to answer the question; which is the most “appropriate” State to become the State of Registry? Moreover, it is argued that the immutable link between launching and liability creates unnecessary obstacles for private space activities. In this context, an effort is made to challenge the launching State’s perpetual liability and to demonstrate the need to attribute liability to the actual responsible State. The paper concludes by examining the possibility of reinterpreting the corpus juris spatialis or adopting amendments.

Theodora Liameti
Trainee Lawyer, LL.M Candidate International & European Law, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Akadimias 47, Athens 10672, Greece.

Panagiota Brouma
Panagiota Brouma, LL.B, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Akadimias 47, Athens 10672.

Dimitra Anagnostopoulou
Dimitra Anagnostopoulou, Trainee Lawyer, LL.B, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Akadimias 47, Athens 10672, Greece.

    The deployment of cubesats from the International Space Station (ISS) is a groundbreaking technique for satellites to achieve orbit, allowing their release from an already orbiting space object. From the legal point of view, this method entails some relevant profiles deriving from the fact that the space object reaches its target orbit in two phases: first, it is carried onboard a cargo vehicle to the ISS, secondly it is deployed therefrom. As multiple actors are involved in this two-stage technique, there is the need to identify the States bearing the relevant obligations as “launching States”, also considering the distinctive features of the ISS as a complex space object and paying attention to the practice of registration of objects deployed therefrom. Since deployments from orbiting objects are expected to increase, verifying if the existing definitions, and their current interpretation, fit this new opportunity would help ensure compliance with the legal framework governing space activities.

Alessandra Matteis
Sapienza University of Rome.

Effective and Adaptive Governance for a Lunar Ecosystem

Recommendations from the Young Generations

Keywords International space law, lunar governance, sustainability, adaptiveness, international cooperation
Authors Antonino Salmeri, Giuliana Rotola, Paolo Pino e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The expansion of humanity’s presence on the Moon could enable a new era of sustainable, inclusive and fair exploration. In the course of this process, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Moon remains a peaceful and cooperative environment for the benefit of all countries and humankind. In September 2020 the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) established a dedicated action team to formalize and articulate the perspectives of the young generations on this critical topic. In May 2021, the EAGLE Team produced a unique Lunar Governance Report assessing the current state of the debate and providing the youth’s recommendations. The EAGLE Lunar Governance Report has been officially endorsed by SGAC and henceforth submitted as Conference Room Paper (CRP) at the 60th Session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) as the official position of the young generations at the United Nations. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the main contributions of the EAGLE Report.

Antonino Salmeri
Corresponding author and editor, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Italy.

Giuliana Rotola
Co-editor, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Italy.

Paolo Pino
Co-editor, Polytechnic of Turin, Italy.

Ghaida Aloumi
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Saudi Arabia.

Nuria Ali
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Kenya.

Amelia Batcha
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), United States.

Erwan Beauvois

Mclee Kerolle
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), United States.

Erin Gibbons
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Canada.

Martin J. Losekamm
Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Juan Carlos Mariscal
Dereum Labs S.A. de C.V., Mexico.

Mariam Naseem
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Canada.

Mehak Sarang
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States.

Jenna Tiwana
International Space University (ISU), United Kingdom.

    As other types of human activities, the exploration and use of outer space causes a variety of environmental consequences. Although some of the risks involved have been understood only recently, the international community has long known that space activities contribute to environmental degradation. The protection of the outer space environment is still considered inadequate due to the increasing development of space activities also by private actors, the renewed interest in space exploration and the desired objective of the sustainability in outer space.
    A tool to mitigate and prevent harmful consequences of human activities is the prior assessment of their potential impact on the environment. Despite its success in many fields on Earth, as well as for extra-terrestrial activities (e.g. launching rockets and space objects re-entry), environmental impact assessment (EIA) is currently not a well-established tool in the international legal framework applicable to outer space activities. Hence, the rules of international environmental law constitute an important gap-filler for finding legal solutions to the main needs in this area.

Pierfrancesco Breccia
Sapienza University of Rome.

    The development of a Space Traffic Management (STM) international framework aiming at guaranteeing the security, safety, and sustainability of outer space activities is deemed crucial and undelayable. As a starting point, this paper will consider the development of a European “regional” approach to STM. Hitherto in Europe, most STM-related issues are addressed through a bottom-up approach, centred around the sovereign competence of national governments. Nevertheless, in the SSA/SST domain, the willingness of Europe to reach a degree of autonomy in the field and to contribute to global burden-sharing has led the European Space Agency first, and the European Union then, to adopt the first collaborative frameworks concerning the SSA. This paper aims to investigate the topical elements of such programmes, with a particular focus on the top-down elements of the regulatory frameworks to be considered in the development of a future European STM capability.

Ludovica Ciarravano
Sapienza University of Rome.