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Journal International Institute of Space Law x Year 2019 x Category Article x

Mahulena Hofmann
SES Chair in Space, SatCom and Media Law, University of Luxembourg.

    This paper will critically evaluate the provisions of the Space Industry Act 2018, its relationship with the Outer Space Act 1986 and the underlying arguments behind the UK Government’s decision to use the new Act to encourage both the development of launch systems within the UK and the attendant infrastructure. It will also consider the ramifications for the space economy within the UK and how the legislation will facilitate access to space for small space start-up companies and encourage the growth of a nascent space tourism industry. Given that the UK has taken the opportunity to revivify its national space law, the paper will go on to discuss some of the key points of significance in the new legislation. In particular, the 2018 Act lacks specific detail on many key regulatory issues, instead providing a skeleton outline which requires augmentation by way of secondary legislation. The paper will consider the way in which the UK will seek to fulfil its international treaty obligations within the legislative framework and whether the legislation can serve to contribute to the growth of the UK space economy amidst unprecedented political turmoil.


Christopher J. Newman
Professor of Space Law & Policy, Northumbria Law School, Northumbria University at Newcastle.

    Most if not all space activities require the use of the radio frequency spectrum (RFS); the RFS is essential for satellite and other wireless communications and scientific probes. Countries with advanced industries in the space sector obviously have more developed legislation than States that only aspire to participate in space activities. Even these, however, regulate space activities by which they are directly affected, primarily through their adherence to the International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations (ITU-RR) and policies embedded in the space treaties. Thus, it can be said that most countries have some basic national legislation related to space activities.
    Some emerging economies have changed the focus of their activities, from wanting to acquire a satellite for communications, to obtaining a remote-sensing /earth observation satellite. Regardless of the change in focus, they face similar issues: budgetary and personnel constraints, as well as policies of industrialized countries regarding transfer of technology. Despite these challenges, less developed countries have contributed to the expansion of space activities and their regulation, at the national and international level. They participate in ITU Study Groups, and in the UN COPUOS’ sessions, bringing a different perspective to the deliberations of these entities.
    This paper will focus on Emerging Market Economies (EMEs), 5G networks and satellite mega- constellations; it will provide an overview of some of their contributions to space law and space activities, while keeping in mind limitations they continue facing.


Sylvia Ospina
S. Ospina & Associates - Consultants POB 141814, Coral Gables, FLA 33114.

    Most national commercial space legislation imposes a general obligation to comply with the Outer Space Treaty, often by reference to compliance with international obligations generally, on commercial entities seeking authorization to engage in space activities. Accordingly, a low-level or minimalistic harmonization exists in this respect. However, different wording in national space laws of even this very generally worded obligation as well as failure to include such an obligation in a select number of national space laws makes such harmonization imperfect. The consequences of this minimalistic, imperfect harmonization are a reduction in potential transparency benefits to private parties and missed opportunities to advance a coalescence of views of countries around Outer Space Treaty obligations. More detail in national space legislation regarding what the Outer Space Treaty requires may assist in achieving greater coalescence of views among countries of Outer Space Treaty obligations beyond what can be achieved relying on diplomacy alone within the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and in other forums. It may also provide more transparency and certainty to private parties and confirm that OST obligations are minimally burdensome for commercial entities, thereby helping their business cases and expanding commercial space innovation and investment.


Matthew Schaefer
Haggart & Work Professor of International Trade Law & Founding Co-Director – Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program, University of Nebraska College of Law.

    Since 2005 a growing number of states have adopted national space legislation to ensure adherence to international obligations, clarify rights under international space law, and promote regulatory certainty for space activities under their jurisdiction. While a certain degree of similarity is seen in the interpretation of these international obligations, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that diverging interpretations on a national level already exist. The interpretations that are reflected in national space legislation are often contextual and products of national space capabilities and ambitions. As such the Report of the Study Group of the International Law Commission on the Fragmentation of International Law regarding competing lex specialis, each with its own purpose and reasoning, will be discussed by analogy to provide insight into the processes and consequences of fragmentation of international law through diverging interpretations. Thereafter, this paper will present a brief comparative study on the scope of various national space legislation. This study will highlight variations in the interpretation of what it means to “carry out a space activity” under Article VI OST. Particular attention will be given to who is defined as carrying out a space activity and what is defined as a space activity. The conclusion will underline a need and urgency for coordination in the interpretation and application of space law, which is both beneficial and necessary to avoid the negative consequences of the fragmentation of international space law.


Vincent Seffinga
Vincent Seffinga, Department of Law, European University Institute, Villa Salviati, Via Bolognese 156, 50139 Florence, Italy.

Mari Eldholm
Mari Eldholm, in private capacity.

Hannah L. Kohler
J.D. Georgetown Law 2015; B.A. Penn State 2012; attorney, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Office of Chief Counsel.

    Entities enjoying international legal personality are generally regarded as the “subjects” of general international law and international space law and are considered to possess rights and obligations under international law. While States have historically been recognised as the principal subjects of international law, non-State actors, such as international organisations, non-governmental entities, multinational corporations, and (arguably) individuals, are increasingly empowered with rights and subjected to obligations on the international plane. International space law, although embedded in general international law, contains unique principles and rules that are in some cases different from those of general international law. With the changing nature of activities due to technological developments, and the proliferation of actors in the space domain, it is necessary to critically examine the issues as to what are considered the subjects of international space law. This question is important both from the doctrinal perspective, and as a matter of practical relevance, as space activities are increasingly being undertaken by non-State actors under the jurisdiction and control of, or having a nexus with, several States.


Kuan-Wei Chen
K.W. Chen, Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, McGill University, Canada.

Ram Jakhu
R. Jakhu, Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, Canada.

Steven Freeland
S. Freeland, Western Sydney University, Australia.

    Among the numerous space activities, satellite communications remain the most widespread, essential, and advanced. To perform a communication function, satellites need to be placed in orbit and use the radio-frequency spectrum. Such limited natural resources, which require rational, equitable, efficient, and economical use in an interference-free environment, are managed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
    Before a new satellite or a satellite network is brought into use, the relevant operator carries out coordination with other operators which utilize satellite networks in the adjacent orbital locations. The results of the coordination procedure are then reflected in coordination agreements. Though coordination may last for years, the difficulty is not so much the conclusion of an agreement as its due performance and enforcement.
    Coordination agreements generally contain mutually acceptable technical parameters for the operation of certain frequencies and their breach may cause harmful interference toward communications satellites. At the request of administrations, the ITU carries out investigations of harmful interference and formulates recommendations. Although such a process has a few drawbacks, complete disregard for the content of coordination agreements makes it totally meaningless.
    If the ITU’s recommendations cannot satisfy the parties or are not duly followed, or if damage was caused by harmful interference and requires compensation, a judicial recourse seems inevitable. As disputes may involve parties around the globe, to which court should they apply? Commonly drafted by technical experts, coordination agreements hardly provide for a dispute resolution mechanism or governing law, while the application of general rules may bring parties to an exotic jurisdiction equally irrelevant to both. Whatever court is chosen, the question of specific knowledge arises. However, the ITU’s practice has always been not to get involved in disputes.
    Therefore, disputes related to coordination agreements pose legal challenges. Where to adjudicate the case and what law to apply are just the tip of the iceberg, while the major question of whether there is a need for a specialized court remains significant. This field of space activities apparently requires legal advice.


Elina Morozova
E. Morozova, Head of International Legal Service, Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications.

Yaroslav Vasyanin
Y. Vasyanin, Legal Counsel, International Legal Service, Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications.
Article

Arbitration in Space-Related Disputes: A Survey of Industry Practices and Future Needs

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2019
Keywords space law, space related disputes, arbitration, dispute resolution
Authors Viva Dadwal and Eytan Tepper
AbstractAuthor's information

    To better understand the viability of arbitration in space-related disputes, we designed a survey that examines the use of arbitration clauses in contracts used by space companies, and if the use thereof is mandatory. More specifically, the survey gathers data on contracting parties’ preferred seats of arbitration, arbitration institutions, selection process for arbitrators, and choice of procedural and substantive rules. The survey also captures actual use of arbitration within space related disputes by collecting data on how often such arbitration clauses have been invoked and the number of disputes ultimately resolved by arbitration. Finally, the survey solicits industry preferences for the future development of arbitration as a form of dispute resolution in the space sector. The survey is built in a way that allows break down of results and comparing segments, inter alia, based on the type of contract (e.g., launch contract, insurance contract, investment contract, contract for supply of parts or services). The results of the survey will expose the demand for arbitration and the successes and barriers for the use thereof. Furthermore, the results will allow us to evaluate the success of existing arbitration infrastructure for space-related disputes, including the PCA Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Outer Space Activities and the Panels of Arbitrators and Experts for Space-related Disputes. To our knowledge, there exist no surveys or catalogues on the use of arbitration in spacerelated disputes. The results of the survey will provide empirical data and trends that may be used by scholars, policymakers and practitioners to anchor future theoretical papers and policy recommendations.


Viva Dadwal
V. Dadwal, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 3644 Peel St, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9.

Eytan Tepper
E. Tepper, Institute of Air & Space Law, McGill University, 3690 Peel Street Montréal, Québec, Canada H3A 1W9.
Article

Dispute Settlement and Decision Making in Relation to the Scarce Orbit-Spectrum Resource

‘Preventive’ and ‘Reactive’ ITU Procedures and Their Relevance for Private Sector Actors

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2019
Keywords ITU, Dispute Settlement, Spectrum Management, Private Actors
Authors Simona Spassova
AbstractAuthor's information

    The exploration and sustainable use of outer space is dependent, not only upon technological developments and capital investments, but also on the availability of the spectrum-orbit resource for the associated relevant radio communications. Even though the electromagnetic spectrum is a non-exhaustible resource, it is a limited and finite one. The increased number of actors and activities in space – both current and planned- is putting a strain on the coordination and allocation processes for available spectrum as well as on the subsequent observance of the international requirements in this respect. Hence, this paper focuses on the way geostatic positions are assigned and frequencies - allocated on an international level. These are complicated and highly time-consuming processes, involving technical and engineering expertise, coordination, compromise and some diplomacy too. On a global level these negotiations are done within the framework of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and spectrum/orbital positions can only be assigned to sovereign member states. At the same time, more and more satellite communication operators nowadays are private commercial entities, even if, licensed and supervised by their respective national administrations. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, it will examine the ways disputes related to the allocation and use of the spectrum resources are handled within the framework of the ITU. It identifies ‘preventive’ and ‘reactive’ efforts to settle disputes within the framework of the organization. In other words: what is the ITU doing to prevent the potential for conflict and what measures does it offer for resolution once a conflict has occurred? Different means of dispute resolution - will be examined together with the associated advantages. Secondly, the article will also analyse the role of private operators and not only Member States administrations in these processes. The ITU brings together also Sector members from the industry and in doing so, it for provides for multistakeholder discussion. Arguably, as the oldest UN agency, the Union is remarkably fast and adept when responding to technological challenges and considering the needs of the private sector. Is this so also when disputes are at stake, whereby private operators are not an official party?


Simona Spassova
Simona Spassova is Faculty Advisor to the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Team and a legal consultant for the International Finance Corporation.

Michael Friedl
Michael Friedl is a PhD candidate and research and teaching assistant at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Maximilian Gartner
Maximilian Gartner is a PhD candidate in a joint PhD program at the University of Bologna, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Mykolas Romeris University.
Article

The Role of International Territorial Administration in (Semi) Permanent Lunar Presence

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords International Territorial Administration, Governance, International Law, Space Law
Authors Matija Renčelj
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this paper is to analyse examples of ITA as a relevant model in administering celestial bodies. Proposed missions to the Moon promise ambitious plans which will change the way humanity perceives (and administers?) our closest celestial neighbour. Examples of ITA, which first emerged in the 19th and early 20th century are valuable resources for understanding how international organisations can undertake administration of increased presence on celestial bodies. In fact, international organisations already perform such powers (i) either vaguely, e.g. through the OST or (ii) through a clear regulatory mechanism that assigns slots in Geostationary orbit. In order for the regulatory framework to get up to speed with developments in space exploration the solution is two-fold: (i) avoid fragmenting debates on niche-topics (resources, cultural heritage, safety standards) but rather tackle them through a comprehensive framework and (ii) allow the UN (or a body designated by the UN) to actively administer activities on celestial bodies. ITA mechanisms developed in the past 100 years, have proven flexible enough to adapt to multiple scenarios and different political realities. Furthermore they allow international organisations to assume powers of administration without acquiring ownership over the territory and are hence in line with the provisions laid down in the OST. The analysed mechanisms in no way represent a magic solutions to all the alleged shortcomings of the current regulatory environment, it is nevertheless important to establish a nexus between developed examples of ITA and potential future mechanisms administering activities on celestial bodies.


Matija Renčelj
Member States Relationships & Partnerships Office, European Space Agency.

    On-orbit Servicing (OOS) will revolutionize the satellite industry, by offering tools that enable life-extension and debris remediation. However, the advanced technology heightens the risk of liability for damages and the overall perceived security in space. In addition, international OOS missions challenges the traditional concepts in the international space Treaties. Whilst OOS is not prohibited under the current legal framework, it is clear that the legal framework needs to be supplemented in order to address the new challenges. Based on the findings of the regulatory landscape, the paper offers various suggestions as to how the legal and political challenges can be addressed. These suggestions include meeting security concerns through a greater sense of transparency and trust, enabled by for example more information on the locations of the satellites, and rules for OOS behaviour.


Thea Flem Dethlefsen
LLM (Adv.) candidate in Air and Space Law, International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University.

    The proliferation of space debris and the imminent deployment of large constellations of satellites in LEO could negatively impact the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. A potential solution to clean up space and maintain a sustainable space environment is Active Debris Removal (ADR). The ADR is a potential revenue earning activity, but such activity needs a legal framework that will dissolve the existing concerns. Space law is fundamental for supporting a potential business case for commercial ADR missions. This paper will bring into discussion an international mechanism addressing the financial means for commercial ADR activity with a focus on LEO. By doing so, this paper will address the advent of ADR as lucrative activity and will analyze the proposal to finance an international fund by the launching states and ADR operators in a “Pay or play” fashion.
    In particular, this paper will analyze the need of an international funding mechanism for space debris removal and analyze the liability issues affecting the launching state and indirectly the private company with ADR capabilities. This paper aims to answer why private companies should contribute to an international fund for space debris removal depending on the Post-Mission Disposal capabilities of the satellites deployed in orbit and/or ADR solutions identified in case the satellites fail to answer the control commands. Further, this paper will analyze the prospects to manage the activity for ADR by accessing this fund.


Claudiu Mihai Tăiatu
LLM (Adv.) in Air and Space Law, International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University.
Article

A Treaty of Many Minds: An In-Depth Look at the Travaux Préparatoires of the Principles Declaration of 1963

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Principles Declaration, Mexico, travaux préparatoires, lacunae, insuffisance sociale, non liquet
Authors Howard Chang
AbstractAuthor's information

    Much of the current literature on interpretation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (OST) focuses on the OST’s own travaux préparatoires, but not on the Principles Declaration of 1963 (Principles Declaration), the basic ideas of which were incorporated into the OST. Many of these ideas expressed in the travaux of the Principles Declaration give a very forward-looking glimpse at issues in outer space, whether they were emphasized or simply discussed.
    This paper will show the vast behind-the-scenes discussions of issues not expressly included in the OST: issues such as commercialism in space, extraterrestrial contact, space crimes, stationary satellites, etc. For instance, in a working paper submitted by the delegation of Mexico to the ad hoc committee preceding the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), Mexico asked, inter alia, to what extent a launching State is responsible for changes that occur in human beings who it sends to inhabit celestial bodies other than Earth. This forward-looking issue was passed over in favor of the more pressing issues of the time: disarmament, liability, peaceful purposes, etc. However, the travaux’s mention of these issues may help illuminate current gaps in the law and give guidance on how to proceed within the current legal regime.


Howard Chang
Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001.

    The Moon contains resources such as Helium-3, Titanium, and Rare Earth Elements, that can potentially be extracted and incorporated into different products.
    The Outer Space treaty provides every state the right to extract and use resources from the Moon, however with limitations under the treaty. Under Article IV para 2 of the treaty, all State parties are mandated to ‘use’ the Moon exclusively for peaceful purposes. However the treaty fails to define the term ‘peaceful’. This ambiguity offers opportunity of such extracted minerals to be used for military purposes, i.e. incorporated into weapons, armours, structures etc. by Space powers in the future. In that case, is military use of these lunar resources permitted under the Outer Space Treaty?
    Thus to analyse the legality this paper will adopt the rules of interpretation under The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to establish that the term ”peaceful” can only be interpreted as ”Non-Military” and that any interpretation allowing ”Use” of the moon and its resources for military purposes would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty. The paper will also discuss the interpretative evolution of Peace, from Negative Peace i.e. mere absence of war or aggression, to a broader concept of Positive Peace to conclude that military use of resources extracted from the Moon is Non-peaceful and is prohibited under Outer Space Treaty. Finally, the paper will end at a functional approach to tackle the problems posed by the dual use of these Lunar Resources.


Tejas Bharadwaj
T. Bharadwaj, student, BA. LL.B School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

Harshith Iyer
H. Iyer, Student, B. Com. LL.B School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

    Air, Water, Food, Shelter, Sleep: These are the five basic requirements for a human being to survive. Providing these basics to a single person is a harrowing challenge; providing them to 1,200 souls on the merciless Martian landscape is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, in 2032 SpaceX successfully constructed Valinor – the first human scientific settlement on Mars-by transporting hundreds of scientists, engineers, scientific experiments and the most technologically advanced survival equipment ever created to the red planet. Each year saw more successful missions to Valinor, and the world community grew more excited about the realization of mankind’s expansion into the cosmos. However, after 15 years of exciting scientific discoveries and over 350 billion dollars invested in its survival and sustainability, Valinor remained monetarily profitless. After the stock market crash of 2047, SpaceX was purchased by OnlyEarth Corp., an oil conglomerate that saw Valinor as a threat to its fiscal security. Over the next three years, OnlyEarth reduced its regular supply missions to Valinor, demanding that Valinor produce massive quantities of Martian raw materials in exchange for fresh supplies from Earth. When Valinor refused to comply with these demands, OnlyEarth ended re-supply missions altogether. With the flow of corporate resources now stemmed, Valinor’s leadership was forced to redesign the sociopolitical and legal structure of its 1,200+ inhabitants to ensure the colony’s survival.


Marshall Mckellar
Marshall Mckellar is Assistant Chief Counsel, NASA: Kennedy Space Center.

Yvonne Vastaroucha
Yvonne Vastaroucha is National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Law.

    The increasing interest in extracting natural resources from celestial bodies raises many issues, among which guaranteeing environmental standards is paramount. There is more than a reasonable concern that industrial exploitation of the outer space lead to similar or even greater disasters than the ones already afflicting Earth. There is a consensus among the legal community that international law does provide environmental protection through the Outer Space Treaty in its Article IX. Because of its generality, however, this provision precludes the agreement from effectively protecting the outer space's environment in the context of specific activities. The present contribution aims to explore appropriate legal responses. One, often proposed, is that such a response should take the form of a new international agreement. Considering the lengthy process of treaty-making, and the reluctance of States to adopt binding international documents limiting their freedom in space, there is a high chance that space mining activities will have started by the time there is any kind of international agreement. Therefore, another approach must be envisaged, which rests with the analysis of existing environmental standards that could be leveraged to answer the challenges of space mining activities. Special attention will be paid to the enforcement of the Outer Space Treaty and how it should be combined with what is usually referred to as “soft laws”. As a conclusion, the contribution attempts to answer the question of the transforming role of States in complementing existing international standards for the protection of the outer space environment.


Gabrielle Leterre
Doctoral Researcher, Université du Luxembourg, Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, Luxembourg.

Setsuko Aoki
Professor of Law, Keio University Law School, Tokyo, Japan.
Article

The Documentation of Human Rights Violations by Satellites: The Satellite Sentinel Project

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Documentation of international crimes, satellite images, evidence, Space Law instruments
Authors Ingrid Barbosa Oliveira and Jonathan Percivalle de Andrade
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present work aims to examine and study the organization “The Satellite Sentinel Project”, created to monitor the commission of international crimes in Sudan, which was essential to support the attacked civilian population and document human rights violations that occurred during the Civil War. By that, it is possible to understand that space technology can also be considered an important asset in the human rights protection systems, especially regarding the production of evidence of heinous acts of violence. Therefore, an important question arises: are those images able to guarantee legal standards to human rights systems regardless of the lack of regulation of satellite use in this particular area? For this purpose, the Sudan case was studied in light of the evidence obtained by the Satellite Sentinel Project, in order to understand its effectiveness. In sequence, the Space Law instruments, which regulate Earth observation and remote sensing activities, were examined. Finally, the discussion relied on the lawfulness and admissibility of satellite imagery as evidence before accountability proceedings.


Ingrid Barbosa Oliveira
I. B. Oliveira, Faculty of Law, International Law Postgraduate Center, Catholic University of Santos, Santos, São Paulo, Brazil.

Jonathan Percivalle de Andrade
J. P. de Andrade, Faculty of Law, Department of International Law, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
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