International Institute of Space Law

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Issue 7, 2022 Expand all abstracts

    The interpretation of the “interest of mankind” principle has led, first, to the adoption of the Moon Agreement and, at the same time, brought to its defeat. At present we see a renovation of interest in the doctrine of the “global commons” within the sustainability policy of men activities on earth and in space, the new challenge is to balance the need to preserve outer space for future generations, the enhancement of scientific research and the freedom to enact space activities compliant with the peaceful purpose principle and all other principles set at the international level.

Maria Elena de Maestri
Università degli Studi di Genova.

    The paper focuses on one of the most crucial issues of International Space Law nowadays – the lack of space navigation regulation. It describes the current state of orbit congestion by the growing number of satellites and proves the critical necessity to modernise the existing regime of outer space. The author suggests the development of a special legal regime for space navigation by drafting the Convention on the Safety of Space Navigation and establishing the International Convent – an intergovernmental organisation responsible to operate and control further evolvement of human extraterrestrial travelling.

Ruslan Konygin
RUDN University

Alexander Travnikov
RUDN University

Access_open The New Brazilian National Program of Space Activities – PNAE (2022-2031): What to expect

Keywords Space Law, Space Policy, PNAE
Authors Ian Grosner, Suyan Cristina Malhadas and Thaís Zandoná
AbstractAuthor's information

    Pursuant to art. 1, III, of Law No. 8,854/1994, and Decree No. 1,332/1994, it is incumbent upon the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) to prepare, update, execute and enforce the Brazilian National Program of Space Activities (PNAE) and the respective physical and budgetary proposals. The Agency has recently approved the PNAE 2022- 2031, through the AEB Ordinance No. 756/2021. This working paper introduces the next decade’s PNAE and analyses its elements from a space law and policy perspective. It examines the evolution of the Brazilian national program and assesses how PNAE 2022-2031 is expected to orient national space activities, enabling and incentivizing investments in the space sector and in specific sets of activities in accordance with the State’s obligations under international space law and focusing on meeting the needs of the national society. The research methodology is bibliographical and documental, through qualitative analysis, and the historical and analytical methods are applied herein.

Ian Grosner
Brazilian Space Agency (AEB)

Suyan Cristina Malhadas
Catholic University of Santos

Thaís Zandoná
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Access_open Could the Working Paper Lead to a Unified Legal Regime?

To Resolve Legal Challenges with Respect to Aerospace Objects

Authors Nayoung Youn
AbstractAuthor's information

    By analyzing the UNCOPUOS “Questionnaire on possible legal issues with regard to aerospace objects”, this paper addresses different member States’ responses and ultimately it argues that the questionnaire is one of the ways to harmonize States’ views and establish a unified legal regime for aerospace objects. Specifically, this paper evaluates Questions 1, 7, and 8, which refer to the definition of aerospace objects, and considers precedents, international customary law, and national and/ or international legal norms with respect to the passage of aerospace objects during take-off and/ or reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The analysis shows that even though there is no consensus among member States about the applicable law to aerospace objects at present, they are still aware of the issues, and that the questionnaire in the working papers can be a basis for formulating international customary law or can help create future legal regimes for aerospace objects.

Nayoung Youn
University of Cologne

    Few contests that space resource activities hold the potential to revolutionize the space sector. Whether this revolution will be for good or for worse also depends on how these activities will be regulated. Under the right framework, space resource activities can certainly deliver on their promise of a new era of prosperous and sustainable space exploration. But with the wrong rules (or lack thereof), they can destabilize the space community to an unprecedented scale that might seriously compromise the peaceful and cooperative uses of outer space.
    This paper provides a highlight of the key findings developed by the author after four years of specialized research on the governance of space mining. First, the paper presents fundamental boundary conditions and open questions posed by the applicability of the OST to space mining. Second, the paper discusses the enforceability of existing national and international norms related to space mining. Finally, the paper proposes two correctives that can help stabilize the system and ensure the safe, sustainable, rational and peaceful conduct of space mining.

Antonino Salmeri
Open Lunar Foundation, Italy.

Access_open On the 55th Anniversary of the Rescue Agreement

The Drafting History and Contribution to Strengthening International Cooperation

Authors Elina Morozova
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Rescue Agreement, the second space treaty adopted under the auspices of the United Nations in 1967, celebrates its 55th anniversary. Its entry into force in 1968 became a true milestone in the evolution of space law. The drafting history of the Rescue Agreement was anything but short and easy. It took almost ten years of lively discussions within the walls of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The geopolitical situation and challenging events of that time could not but affect its work. Tense negotiations time and again gave way to promising spirit of cooperation, and seemingly opposed views were pointed, however, in the same direction: towards an absolute value of human life and the need for humanism under any circumstances. The Rescue Agreement can rightly be considered a shining example to follow since it is never impossible to agree when the interests of humankind are at stake.

Elina Morozova
Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications.

    Operation of mega-constellations has become very popular in the private space industry recently. Big space companies like SpaceX or OneWeb have already started launching their satellites of mega-constellations for providing high-speed internet all over the world. For instance, satellite internet constellation ‘Starlink’ includes over 1,700 satellites; OneWeb has more than 400 satellites. Such space faring nations as China (Tianxian) and Russia (Sphere) also have plans of deployment megaconstellations.
    Mega-constellations have many advantages: comprehensive or local coverage of the Earth’s territory, multiple satellites simultaneously launch and the high technical performance of the whole constellation. This new applied space activity is very beneficial economically but from the legal point of view there could be some questions, one of them deals with registration process. Some of the registration aspects will be discussed in this paper from the point of international space law and telecommunication law view.

Irina Chernykh
Department of International Law, RUDN University.

Andrey Zimakov
Department of Civil Law and Process, and International Private Law, RUDN University.

Access_open Parameters, Concepts and the Terminology of Outer Space Law

A Review of the Essential Facilities Served by Outer Space Activities and the Rules of Interpretation for Treaty Law and Soft Law Guidelines

Authors Prof. Lesley Jane Smith and Mr. Tim Blawat
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘resilience’ of outer space activities is a concept frequently referred to in the context of maintaining the capabilities of space systems, whether from a protective or security perspective. The notion can apply to the requirements for ensuring the protection of space assets, as well as to maintaining their inherent robustness. All activities in outer space are subject to the imponderables of its highly fragile environment and accompanying risks. Equally, all activities in outer space serve some aspect of our common societal needs; these include a continued interest in undertaking scientific research in outer space, whilst ensuring some capabilities that have meanwhile gained a status as essential civilian services. The concept and notions of resilience now span activities and measures that range from ensuring the safety of outer space assets and their integrity. They also include securing accessibility to space. The terminology is often generic. Resilience is also a technical attribute and core description of elements required to ensure the availbility of those operations that are meanwhile an essential part of today’s daily services to civil society. The concept of resilience nevertheless deserves to be analysed and the contexts in which it is used further highlighted. This paper, in the form of a virtual poster presentation, reviews the various terminology, concepts and general principles applicable in the context of rules applying to the resilience of space operations in its current setting. The review includes measures adopted to secure the operational and informational benefits provided by outer space operations, as well as those that secure non-interference or interruption.

Prof. Lesley Jane Smith
Leuphana University of Lüneburg/Weber-Steinhaus & Smith, Germany.

Mr. Tim Blawat
Leuphana University, Germany.

Access_open Legal Issues of Spacecraft Maneuvering with Artificial Intelligence

Comparative Study with the Japanese Regulations for Autonomous Driving Vehicles on the Ground

Keywords autonomous driving, liability, legal issue, HTV-X, accident, insurance
Authors Hisako Moriguchi
AbstractAuthor's information

    What are the legal issues to realize safe operation of spacecraft with Autonomous Intelligent Systems in space? Technological innovations on autonomous systems for space operations are developing rapidly, but the legal infrastructure to solve such AI operated spacecraft incidents and/or accidents has not yet been evolved. When considering new means of resolving legal disputes in space, a comparative study with the legal regulations for automated driving of automobiles on the ground would be helpful. This research reviews the current status of legislation regarding the auto-driven cars being undertaken in Japan and other countries and examine whether it can be invoked in space. A new safety standards and evaluation methods that correspond to the operation of the autonomous driving vehicle will need to be set. This paper introduces the discussions and explore the design of the legal system that could be applied to incidents/accidents of automatically operated spacecrafts.

Hisako Moriguchi
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), Japan.

    Space has been used to support terrestrial military activities since the dawn of the space age. Since 1991, satellite navigation, imagery and communications, have taken a central role in terrestrial wars across the globe. However, the 2022 Russo-Ukraine war highlighted a new emerging reality. The space arena has historically been state-driven, now advances in technologies are enabling a wide range of non-state actors entrance into the space sector. The so called NewSpace is quickly gaining in importance, not only in the commercial sector, but by supplying military services and potentially influencing the outcome of inter-state conflicts as well. This article will provide a quick overview of international space law, particularly Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty, and the law of state neutrality, and significantly whether the former influences the latter by prescribing that states carry international responsibility for national activities in outer space.

Katja Grünfeld
Institute of Air Law, Space Law and Cyber Law at the University of Cologne.