International Institute of Space Law


Megaconstellations of Satellites and Their Impact on Astronomy

A Potential Need for International Regulation

Authors Rafael Moro Aguilar
Author's information

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

      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.

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