International Institute of Space Law

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Issue 1, 2022 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Nandasiri Jasentuliyana Keynote Lecture: “For the Benefit and in the Interests of All Countries, Irrespective of Their Degree of Economic or Scientific Development”

Keywords Space Law, role of the States, General international Law, Space legal framework, Use of Outer Space
Authors Armel Kerrest
AbstractAuthor's information

    This lecture examines the process of space law as it has developed in the past, and takes a perspective on how it stands to develop over the next seventy years. With much written about commercial space and the increased presence of space in the modern media, space has become closer to the people. It delivers indispensable means for communication, navigation and timing services, and important public services such as weather forecasting. It is also a horizon that is open to further scientific research and exploration. This talk highlights some of the future challenges already under discussion today, such as resources mining, space traffic management, and longer-term missions. It examines these within the light of the legal parameters applicable to commercial space, in the framework of general international law, taking into consideration the former experiences in the law of the High Sea and Antarctica.

Armel Kerrest
University of Western Brittany Professor emeritus. Vice Chairman of the European Centre for Space Law of the European Space Agency Armel.

Access_open Legal Issues of International Cooperation in the Operation of China’s Space Station

Keywords China’s Space Station, international cooperation, legal issues, long-term operation
Authors Jie Long
AbstractAuthor's information

    China’s Space Station (CSS) will be established in 2022, making China the third country to be able to build and operate the space station independently. The international cooperation of the CSS has initiated. International cooperation in the CSS operation is an effective way to promote the long-term sustainability of space activities and realize a community with a shared future for humankind. As China has not yet promulgated its national space law, international cooperation in the CSS operation will inevitably encounter legal problems. In the context of the lack of relevant legislative basis and practical operation experience in China, to carry out international cooperation and maintain the long-term sustainable operation of the CSS, it is necessary to learn related legal experiences and make corresponding institutional arrangements.

Jie Long
Shenzhen University, China.

    Since space exploration became a tangible reality to humankind, we have been able to launch space objects to the outermost atmospheric layers of Earth, and beyond. At this point, it is only natural that humans are driven to break the next frontier and seek other space activities such as space mining. In this context, countries like Chile, due to its geographical advantages, have positioned themselves as leading experts in mining, constantly searching for innovation, resolving challenges and becoming forefront leaders in this sector. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the potential of Chilean legislation to contribute to international laws on space mining. From Chuquicamata, the largest copper open pit mine in the world, Chile and other nations will be able to test, develop, export and expand on mining technology from Earth to space, in a legal framework made from and for developing and developed nations.

Isidora Casas del Valle Pacheco
Universidad de los Andes.

    International space law is governed by four primary treaties, beginning with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Elegant and enduring documents, they nonetheless face criticism – they largely do not anticipate commercial space missions. With the rise of new space, it is important to consider the interplay of private law and international space law, analyzing where private interactions may alter or antagonize the principles and regimes established by the international space law treaties.
    Academics have analyzed how international transfers of spacecraft ownership on orbit may challenge the intersection of private law and international space law. However, with the rise of in-space servicing between private companies, a more nuanced question must be asked – how will international transfers of control in space challenge the international legal regime? This paper will examine international legal considerations of in-space servicing under the Outer Space Treaty, Registration Convention, and instruments of the International Telecommunication Union.

Laura Cummings
Astroscale U.S. Inc.

Access_open Proposal for a Legal Definition of Space Debris

Keywords debris, waste, definition, IADC, law, STM
Authors Andrea Capurso
AbstractAuthor's information

    Wherever humans go, pollution follows. Outer space is no exception.
    After 60 years of space missions, the orbits around Earth are filled with “space debris”, which threatens satellites as they pass by. The international community has been working on means to remove them through so-called ‘Active Debris Removal’ (ADR) operations. However, the latter pose unresolved challenges in terms of jurisdiction, control and ownership over space debris, as well as in terms of international liability during and after operations.
    The present paper tackles them with a focus on the legal notion of “space debris”. In particular, it explores the possibility of defining “space debris” like “waste” is defined on Earth. Building upon the EU waste regulation, it proposes a definition which revolves around the position of the owner of a space object and its intention to discard it. The conclusion demonstrates how this solution fits in the system of international space law without any modification of it, providing an effective solution to the legal hurdles of ADR operations.

Andrea Capurso
Department of Law, LUISS University, Viale Romania 32, 00197 Rome, Italy.