International Institute of Space Law

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Issue 6, 2021 Expand all abstracts

Nicholas Gould
Fenwick Elliott LLP.

Olivia Liang
Fenwick Elliott LLP.

NewSpace, Old Rules

An Empirical Approach to Understanding the Needs of Young Space Businesses in Relation to Current Space Regulation

Keywords NewSpace, Start-ups, Regulation, Legal Services, Space Market, Space Technology
Authors Aleksandra Marinova, Michael Gould and Maura Zara
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, we examine the relationship between space business, innovation and regulation by evaluating the driving factors behind each of them and investigating the perceptions and requirements of young companies in the space market. This study sheds light on current trends among new space businesses and their evaluation of current regulatory frameworks. Based on 50 concluded interviews with founders and executives of small and start-up space companies 18 countries worldwide, it was found that a significant proportion of the respondents found the current regulation of space technology frustrating and a large group of interviewees underestimated the amount of ‘red-tape’ and the expenses associated with navigating the legal landscape of space. Based on our findings, we will make actionable recommendations on the adaptation of legal training, law making and consulting for actors in the NewSpace industry to better facilitate the development of their innovative space technologies.

Aleksandra Marinova
First Steps Legal, London, United Kingdom.

Michael Gould
Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Maura Zara
First Steps Legal, Turin, Italy.

NewSpace Persistence under Australia’s Launch Regulation

Keywords Launch, Australia, NewSpace, Regulation, Market
Authors Scott Schneider
AbstractAuthor's information

    State regulating NewSpace launch activity risk missing out on securing their place in the global market. Australia provides a useful case study when considering the significance of national space policy and the market realities in the development of domestic regulation governing launch services. When domestic regulation doesn’t properly consider a policy position or the nature of the market the law can restrict the development of industry. The present paper discusses Australia’s history in commercial space launch activities from a policy perspective and an operational perspective. When a state understands NewSpace activities in the context of how the domestic industry fits into the global market, a policy ambition can be developed which, in turn should feed into the creation and implementation of a domestic regulatory framework. Through this process, a state may facilitate its domestic industry to meet the global demand for innovative launch capabilities in a safe manner which complies with a state’s international obligations.

Scott Schneider
SouthernLaunch.Space Pty Ltd.

An International/Contractual Model for Future Space Activities

A New Status for Private Companies?

Authors Ivan Fino
AbstractAuthor's information

    The entry of private companies into the space sector has posed a critical dilemma: can the “classical framework” meet the needs of the new space economy? On the horizon, there could be problematic inconsistencies between the OST and national laws; the full exploitation of an asteroid, to the point of causing its destruction, may constitute appropriation, prohibited by Article II OST but allowed by the 2015 Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act. The aim of this paper is to analyse the weaknesses within the current framework, as well as to propose new legal solutions. Private enterprises would be placed at the centre of international space law and would assume a status of subjects of international law. The relations between private companies and national agencies would also be organised on a private-contractual model that would facilitate the resolution of disputes, with the possibility of resorting to rapid compensation procedure.

Ivan Fino
Università degli Studi di Torino, Facoltà di Giurisprudenza.

Balancing International Stagnance and National Divergence

An Analytical Study of Contemporary Liability Issues for NewSpace Tourism Companies

Keywords NewSpace companies, commercial space tourism, liability issues, national space legislations
Authors Ankit Kumar Padhy and Amit Kumar Padhy
AbstractAuthor's information

    With rapid growth of private NewSpace tourism companies and the stagnancy of legislative development of space treaties, with the last one coming into force in 1979, the international legal framework regulating liability aspects of commercial space tourism endeavours has become obsolete. Outer Space Treaty and Liability Convention impose the liability of any damage by space activities conducted by nongovernmental entities on the launching State. Article II of the Liability Convention imposes unlimited and absolute liability for any damage on the earth’s surface or aircraft flight. States can thereafter claim indemnification from the private entities. It remains contentious whether small nations allowing private space launches would be in a position to compensate huge potential losses in case of any mishap. Further, considering the high risk associated with human spaceflights and naïve condition of private space tourism industry, mandating unlimited liability for space tourism activities by NewSpace companies, can prove to be a deterrent for the growth of the commercial space tourism industry. In order to fill up such gaps left by the international space law, major space faring nations have come up with their own domestic laws to regulate commercial space tourism activities conducted by NewSpace companies.
    The article critically analyses the efficacy of the Outer Space Treaty and Liability Convention in dealing with the contemporary liability issues posed by the commercial space tourism endeavours. The article thereafter analyses the national laws of major space-faring nations vis-à-vis contemporary liability issues fundamental to private space tourism activities like limited liability, informed consent, space insurance. It also attempts to highlight the similarities and differences between the national approaches towards the liability issues. At the end, the article argues that national space legislations are the only way forward to effectively deal with the liability aspects of space tourism, attempts to provide few suggestions to balance the aforesaid international stagnance and national divergence, and ensure sustainable development of commercial space tourism.

Ankit Kumar Padhy
Research Scholar (Ph.D. Candidate), School of Law, Gujarat National Law University, Attalika Avenue Knowledge Corridor, PDPU Rd, Koba, Gujarat, India 382426 and Assistant Professor, School of Law, Vellore Institute of Technology, Kelambakkam - Vandalur Rd, Rajan Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600127 (corresponding author) .

Amit Kumar Padhy
Assistant Professor, School of Law, SVKMs Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bannerghatta Campus, Kalkere Post, Anekal Taluk, Bannerghatta Main Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, India 560083 and Research Scholar, Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur, India.

    Due to the latest technological developments, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), including Galileo, are being integrated as an essential component in artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Even though it is unlikely that a loss of signal will lead to an accident caused by an AI system, this scenario cannot be totally ignored. Recent incidents revealed a series of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed before more AI systems using GNSS signals can become active participants in our societies. In this context, it becomes clear that the most pressing issue is the one related to liability: who will be liable in case an accident is caused by an AI system due to a GNSS signal failure at a critical point during navigation? Taking into consideration the debates concerning Galileo’s potential acceptance of liability, this paper investigates if international space law is able to prevent potential liability gaps, thus avoiding situations where incidents occur and liability cannot be attributed.

Ioana Bratu
Amsterdam Law & Technology Institute | ALTI, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Lunar Exploration: New Challenges for Export Control Compliance

Keywords space exploration, international cooperation, export control, regulations, compliance
Authors Anne-Sophie Martin
AbstractAuthor's information

    Space exploration missions on celestial bodies bring new challenges for export control, notably due to the fact that diverse actors will be involved, including commercial entities; and new technologies will be developed and used, as lunar surface power, in situ resource utilization, surface excavation and construction. Such scenarios raise many legal issues, especially with reference to export control regime. Insofar as lunar exploration will imply the exchange of technologies as well as information and data between the participants to the mission, possessing different nationalities, these activities would need to be properly licensed and authorized by the competent authority. The paper examines the export control systems in the United States and at European level, considering also the mechanism set up within the International Space Station’s agreements, and the Artemis Accords in order to put forwards the key elements to limit potential risks of export control violations in the case of space exploration programs.

Anne-Sophie Martin
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in International Law and Space Law at Sapienza University of Rome. Department of Political Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5, 00185, Rome (Italy).

Artificial Intelligence and the Challenge of States’ Responsibility in Space Law

Keywords Responsibility, Liability, Artificial Intelligence, Outer space, Due care
Authors Hamid Kazemi, Akram Tayyebi and Ali Kazemi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in space technologies has reduced human intervention in space technologies in outer space. Although it has benefits, technological and legal issues are emerging in the space industry; e.g., does international space law cover the responsibility of states arising from AI behavior? Releasing data and information by AI has undermined privacy law when it is not rule-governed. State responsibility in international space law has been complicated by data and information obtained through AI. The private sector activities have extended beyond the control of their respective states, which is challenging to attribute actions of private companies that use AI to their respective state. This article suggests that the concept of a common-sense robot instead of due care of reasonable man be adopted to establish responsibility in the performance of AI in national and international space laws.

Hamid Kazemi
Aerospace Research Institute, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Iran.

Akram Tayyebi
Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran.

Ali Kazemi
K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran.

Megaconstellations of Satellites and Their Impact on Astronomy

A Potential Need for International Regulation

Authors Rafael Moro Aguilar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The recent activity of launching into low earth orbits (LEO) large constellations of satellites is posing a number of technical and regulatory issues. In particular, a totally unexpected issue has also emerged, which poses one of the most significant challenges: the visual impact that huge numbers of satellites placed in LEO is having on the Earth’s night sky. The present paper will first examine the nature of this problem, and will then analyze it from the point of view of Space Law. The overall conclusion is that existing international regulation is insufficient, current efforts at self-regulation are giving at best limited results, and therefore new legal rules will be necessary in order to fully address this issue. International Space Law in force does provide some basic principles that could inspire a future regulation, in particular those contained in Articles I, III, VI, and IX of the Outer Space Treaty.

Rafael Moro Aguilar
LL.M., School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University.