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    The United Nations space treaties establish the basic legal framework governing outer space activities. While it is through national space legislation that the spirit and schemes in these treaties are further instilled into specific entities undertaking space activities, launch services contracts play a notable role in final stage of rendezvous and docking with the legal infrastructure at international level. For example, allocation of risk/liability mechanism in these contracts is deeply influenced by treaty provisions and national legislation. These arrangements seem to be made all the more complicated in the context of international launch projects. Growing demand from the small satellite sector for ride hitching opportunities in space launch begs the question of whether and how the launch service contracts need to be tailored to accommodate industry demand and regulatory needs. This paper purports to examine some of the regulatory issues surrounding risk/liability management under standard and piggyback launch services contracts, which reflect deliberate compliance on micro-level with the international and national legal framework on macro-level.


Kang Duan
China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

    Artificial intelligence is an emerging technology which is anticipated to revolutionize society and industry. Artificial intelligence also presents a potential technological component to ensure the cyber and physical security of space assets. However, the use of artificial intelligence in space assets may conflict with certain legal obligations or duties imposed by the space law treaty regime.
    Outer Space Treaty Article VIII obligates a State to retain control over a space object it launches. Using artificial intelligence in space assets presents the question of whether such reliance abdicates a State’s obligation to retain control over a space object it launched or which is registered to it. If so, then issues will exist regarding how a State may balance the use of artificial intelligence in space assets with its obligations under the Outer Space Treaty. For instance, in the emerging autonomous or driverless motor vehicle technology, some jurisdictions in the United States are contemplating laws which mandate human ability to override or otherwise intervene in decision making by artificial intelligence in certain circumstances.
    Similarly, Article III of the Liability Convention imposes liability based on a State’s fault or fault of persons for whom the State is responsible. The use of artificial intelligence in space assets presents the possibility of negating Article III’s fault-based concept. The unsettled liability issues associated with autonomous motor vehicles may very well foreshadow liability and fault allocation issues arising from the use of artificial intelligence in space assets.
    This paper will examine whether the use of artificial intelligence in space assets conforms with a State’s obligation under Outer Space Treaty Article VIII and Liability Convention Article III and analyze what measures, if any, may be necessary to ensure that the provisions are not undermined by the use of artificial intelligence in space assets.


George Anthony Long
Managing Member, Legal Parallax, LLC, United States. gal@legalparallax.com.

    China’s first space station, Tiangong-1, returned to earth on 1 April 2018 after more than six years in outer space. This was not isolated and some of the previous return of space objects are Cosmos 854 in 1978, Skylab in 1979, Delta II second stage in 1997, MIR Space Station in 2001, Italian BeppoSax in 2003, US-193 in 2008 and ESA’s GOCE in 2013. In light of these events and its inevitably increasing frequencies, it is necessary to reflect on the international law governing the re-entry of space objects.
    In the current international legal framework, the state obligations cover the whole process of re-entry without obvious loopholes, preventative ex ante and responsible ex post. But the state practice is largely uneven and there are controversies and ambiguities over obligations to forewarn hazardous events and disclose information for facilitating damage control and cleanup operation; under what conditions can reentry objects be actively removed; and how to return the objects and compensate the damages. This requires adjustment and fine-tuning of some critical notions in the space treaties and other legal documents, particularly, how to apply victim-oriented and environment-friendly principles in space sector, the balance between launching states’ jurisdiction and control of space objects and the interest of other states, the definition and determination of damages and state responsibility for hazardous activities.


Xiaodan Wu
Law School, China Central University of Finance and Economics.

Hamza Hameed
Legal Consultant, International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT).

Michael S. Dodge
Department of Space Studies, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, University of North Dakota.

Hamid Kazemi
Dr. Hamid Kazemi (main author), Aerospace Research Institute, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Iran, h.kazemi@ari.ac.ir.

S. Hadi Mahmoudi
Dr. S. Hadi Mahmoudi, Shahid Beheshti University, Iran, h mahmoudi@sbu.ac.ir.

Ali Akbar Golroo
Dr. Ali Akbar Golroo, Aerospace Research Institute, Iran, ali@ari.ac.ir.
Article

Legal Loophole or Just a Matter of Interpretation?

On the Outer Space Treaty’s Methodology Test with the Diversification of Space Activities

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2017
Authors Merve Erdem
Author's information

Merve Erdem
Department of International Law, Ankara University Faculty of Law, Cemal Gürsel Caddesi No: 58, 06590, Cebeci, Ankara, Turkey, erdemm@ankara.edu.tr
Article

Rebus sic stantibus and International Space Law

The Evolution of the Space Treaties in the Next Fifty Years

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2017
Authors Dimitra Stefoudi
Author's information

Dimitra Stefoudi
International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Article

Space Debris Remediation, Its Regulation and the Role of Europe

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2016
Keywords space debris, remediation, European Union, European Space Agency, International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities
Authors Jan Wouters, Philip De Man and Rik Hansen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Ever since the launch of the first space object, discarded bits and pieces ranging from disused payloads and spent upper stages to single bolts and tiny flakes of paint have been cluttering outer space, making valuable and widely used orbits and trajectories to and from earth increasingly unsafe for future use. The response of the international community to this immediate threat to the sustainable use of outer space has been slow and haphazard and remains limited to non-binding guidelines and technical recommendations for space debris mitigation. Recent events such as the 2007 Chinese ASAT test and the 2009 collision between an active American and an in-operational Russian communications satellite demonstrate that more needs to be done in order to develop a strong international regime on active debris remediation. Given the complexities of these issues and the lengthy nature of international negotiations, one should not expect a comprehensive legal regime for space debris mitigation and remediation to materialize any time soon. As it is in the own interest of its users to preserve outer space for future exploration and use, the regulation of debris mitigation by space agencies may well prove a valuable alternative as a starting point for binding remediation rules. Since new international initiatives in this respect are lacking, the present article looks at the various space actors in Europe and at the role some of them may play in developing global rules of space debris remediation.


Jan Wouters
Jean Monnet Chair ad personam EU and Global Governance, Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations and Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Institute for International Law, University of Leuven.

Philip De Man
Project Manager, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven.

Rik Hansen
Doctoral Researcher at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and the Institute for International Law of the University of Leuven.

Ali Akbar Golroo
Dr. Ali Akbar Golroo, Aerospace Research Institute, Iran, ali@ari.ac.ir.

Hamid Kazemi
Dr. Hamid Kazemi, Aerospace Research Institute, Iran, h.kazemi@ari.ac.ir.

Sadaf Amrin Fathima
Student of Master’s in Space and Telecommunication Law, Center of Air and Space Law (CASL), NALSAR University of Law, India.
Article

Sustainable Space Exploration and Use

Space Mining in Present and Future Perspectives

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2015
Authors Rishiraj Baruah and Nandini Paliwal
Author's information

Rishiraj Baruah
International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University

Nandini Paliwal
International Institute of Air and Space Law, Leiden University

Brendan Cohen

Yuri Takaya-Umehara
Any views in this article pertain to the first author only. Kobe University, Japan, yuritakaya_japan@hotmail.com.

Seiji Matsuda
IHI Aerospace Co, Ltd., Japan, matsuda-s@iac.ihi.co.jp.

Takayoshi Fuji
Japan Space Systems, Japan, fuji-takayoshi@jspacesystems.or.jp.

Mitsuteru Kaneoka
CSP Japan, Inc., Japan, kaneoka@csp.co.jp.

Hamid Kazemi
Aerospace Research Institute, Iran, h kazemi@ari.ac.ir.

Ali Akbar Golroo
Aerospace Research Institute, Iran, ali@ari.ac.ir.

Hadi Mahmoudi
Aerospace Research Institute, Iran, mahmoudi@ari.ac.ir.

Souichirou Kozuka
Gakushuin University, Japan, souichirou.kozuka@gakushuin.ac.jp.

Motoko Uchitomi
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan, uchitomi.motoko@jaxa.jp.

Hiroyuki Kishindo
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan, kishindo.hiroyuki@jaxa.jp.

George Anthony Long
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, gal@spacejurist.com.

Elena Carpanelli
University of Milan Bicocca, Italy, elena.carpanelli@gmail.com.

Brendan Cohen
Stanford University, United States, brendan.cohen@alumni.stanford.edu

Setsuko Aoki
Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan aosets@sfc.keio.ac.jp.

Nie Jingjing
School of Law, Civil Aviation University of China, PHD Candidate of School of International Law, China University of Political Science and Law.

Yang Hui
Professor of Law, School of Law, Civil Aviation University of China.
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