Search result: 52 articles

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Irmgard Marboe
University of Vienna, Austria.

    The milestone provisions in the Outer Space Treaty designate outer space and celestial bodies as an area beyond national jurisdiction in which national jurisdiction extends only to space objects and persons in outer space. In view of upcoming commercial space mining activities and the recent national legal developments, it is of crucial importance to delineate the different levels of legal authority over space resource activities and to analyze them systematically. What is indisputable, in the first place, is that any national appropriation in outer space is prohibited by Article II OST, while the appropriation of resources is not explicitly mentioned. More specific provisions are formulated in the Moon Agreement. Its Article 11 prohibits the appropriation of resources on celestial bodies and states that such activities — as soon as they become feasible — must be regulated by the international community of States. While this moratorium on resource exploitation is binding only for the 18 ratifying State parties to the Moon Agreement, there is no doubt that the legal authority to regulate over outer space lies with the international community and not with single States. Unilateral legislative acts must conform to existing international provisions as outer space is an area beyond national jurisdiction. Where such explicit provisions are lacking – as is the case with the appropriation of space resources – the lawful scope of national authority must nevertheless be delineated through international regulation as States lack the national prescriptive authority to regulate over outer space and celestial bodies.


Stephan Hobe
Prof. Dr. Stephan Hobe is Director of the Institute of Air Law, Space Law and Cyber Law and Holder of the Chair for Public International Law, European Law, European and International Economic Law at the University of Cologne.

Rada Popova
Rada Popova is a senior lecturer (public international law, EU law and constitutional law) at the University of Cologne and research fellow at the Institute of Air Law and Space Law in Cologne.

    Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty, requiring “authorization and continuing supervision” of “national activities in outer space” including those of “nongovernmental entities”, has always been viewed as the primary international obligation driving the establishment of national space legislation for the purpose of addressing private sector space activities. As the Article itself did not provide any further guidance on precisely what categories of ‘national activities by nongovernmental entities’ should thus be subjected to national space law and in particular to a national licensing regime, in academia generally three different interpretations soon came to be put forward on how to interpret the key notion of ‘national’ in this context as scoping such national regimes.
    Looking back at 50 years of national space legislation addressing private sector space activities, however, we now have the possibility to look not only at the writings of learned experts, at best a subsidiary source of public international law, but at actual State practice-cum-opinio iuris on the matter. The present paper, on the basis of a survey of more than two dozen existing national space laws, will therefore be able to considerably narrow the appropriate interpretation of ‘national activities in outer space’, so as to diminish the uncertainty as regards what categories of private space activities States may be held responsible for, thus both narrowing the permissible discretion of individual States in scoping their national space law regimes and increasing the coherence and transparency of space law at the international level.


Frans G. von der Dunk
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law, Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program.

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

    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.

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.

    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.

    From ESA’s Moon Village to Elon Musk’s Martian cities, there is increasing talk of establishing permanent human settlements or outposts in outer space. November 2018 will mark 18 years of continuous human presence in space via the International Space Station (ISS). However, these new proposals are different for several reasons. They are intended to have a permanence never envisioned for the ISS, they are intended to be ‘home’ to more than professional astronauts and fewer than a handful of space tourists, and they will be located on the Moon and other celestial bodies. The ISS is treated by the existing space law regime as a space object, or an assembly of separate space objects, regarded as functionally no different from any other space object. However, whether this approach could be taken for facilities on the Moon and other celestial bodies is the proposed focus of this paper. None of the space law treaties provide a precise definition of the term ‘space object’, however the generally accepted understanding is that “space objects may be defined as artificial man made objects that are brought into space and are designed for use in outer space.” That is not to lament the lack of a specific definition, as it would most likely be disadvantageous to have been lumbered with the 1967 conception of ‘space object’. The nonspecificity of the treaties allow scope for development and adaptation to deal with the uses now proposed. Article VIII of the Outer Space Treaty potentially provides aid in this quest as it indicates that ‘objects constructed on a celestial body’ fall within the scope of ‘space object’. Therefore, it is most likely possible to construct a regime providing a legal basis for governance of space settlements and outposts utilizing the existing ‘space object’ concept. However, there will still be potential issue around the nonappropriation principle codified in Article II of the Outer Space Treaty. Which this paper will also explore. This is a topic which is vital for the maintenance of the existing space law regime and is of growing relevance as more proposals for permanent human presence are made.


Thomas Cheney
Northumbria University, United Kingdom; thomas.cheney@northumbria.ac.uk.
Article

Fledgling Polish Space Industry Ready for Lift–Off

Law as a Risk Management Tool in the Emerging Space Sector

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 9 2018
Keywords outer space, space activity, national space law, liability in space law, Polish space law
Authors Katarzyna Malinowska
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper presents an overview of recent developments in Poland from a regulatory and institutional point of view, as well as at a programme level. Though Poles played an active part in setting out the foundations of the international space law, largely through the pioneer of space law – Polish Professor Manfred Lachs – for many years the Polish space industry barely existed, consisting only of the activities of a few engineers brave enough to set up start-ups and cooperate with big international players. The situation changed in 2012, when Poland joined ESA as a full member. Joining ESA and opening up the space industry to small players can be perceived as a significant trigger for the boost of Polish space projects. The first results came quickly. The number of Polish companies active in the sector is growing rapidly, already reaching 300 companies, forming a consistent, consolidated group of large, medium and small enterprises. Over the last five years, the attitude of the government has also been changing.
    Concerning regulatory challenges, Poland has still not adopted comprehensive space legislation, though in July 2017, a draft law on space activity was published by the government. The legal concept adopted in the national space law, especially about risk management, may influence the development of the whole national space activity, which still suffers from insufficient capital to bear the high level of risk related to ultra-hazardous activity such as space activity. The recent tendencies covering small sats, New Space, suborbital flight and space mining are also the subject of pending legislative discussions.


Katarzyna Malinowska
Professor at Kozminski University, Poland, katarzynamalinowska@kozminski.edu.pl.

Helena Correia Mendonça
Vieira de Almeida & Associados.

Magda Cocco
Vieira de Almeida & Associados.

Cristina Melo Miranda
Vieira de Almeida & Associados.

Nicola Rohner
Article

What Are Space Resources? What Are Celestial Bodies?

The Need for Refined Legal Definitions in View of Recent Regulatory Efforts Concerning Space Resources

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 5 2018
Authors Irmgard Marboe and Michael Friedl
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recent efforts in the regulation of the use of space resources have raised controversial discussions about the compatibility of respective national legislation with international law. The situation is relatively unclear, also because key terms in this context have so far remained relatively vague and undefined under international law, including most importantly the terms space resource and celestial body. The purpose of the present paper is to examine how these terms, as they are used in the UN space treaties, should and could be defined in order to provide better guidance to national legislators and international fora concerned with the formulation of recommendations on space resources governance at the international level. In addition to Articles 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, approaches and definitions used in practice by scientists, such as astronomers, astrophysicist, and engineers, will be taken into account.
    As regards the term space resource it will be addressed to what extent the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources may be relevant for the legal qualification of outer space resources and the regulation of their use. As regards the term celestial body it will be asked whether it could be meaningful to differentiate the Moon – and other planets and stars – from asteroids in the development of legal regimes governing their use and exploitation. In this respect, recent scientific findings will be presented in more detail.
    Technological progress and its legal implications shall be discussed in view of the historical development of the legal regime of outer space, including the concepts of freedom of use, benefit of mankind and common heritage of mankind. The paper will also address comparable concepts and their development in the law of the sea.


Irmgard Marboe
University of Vienna, Austria.

Michael Friedl
University of Vienna, Austria.

    This paper tries to give orientation on which legal ramifications a plan for a Moon Village should observe. Through an analysis of the relevant provisions of international space law it shall be highlighted what kind of activities are compatible with international space law as well as which kind of legal developments of space law may be aimed at in order to make future activities of the Moon Village successful.


Stephan Hobe
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c., LL.M. (McGill); Director of the Institute of Air Law, Space Law and Cyber Law; holder of the Jean-Monnet Chair for Public International Law, European Law, European and International Economic Law at the University of Cologne. stephan.hobe@uni-koeln.de.

Rada Popova
Teaching and Research Fellow and PhD candidate at the Institute of Air Law, Space Law and Cyber Law (University of Cologne); (Mag. iur) Law Master's Degree (University of Vienna); Researcher at the 2017 Centre for Studies and Research (Hague Academy of International Law). rada.popova@uni-koeln.de.
Article

Normative References to Non-Legally Binding Instruments in National Space Laws

A Risk-Benefit Analysis in the Context of Public International and Domestic Law

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 4 2018
Authors Alexander Soucek and Jenni Tapio
Author's information

Alexander Soucek
European Space Agency (ESA), The Netherlands, alexander.soucek@esa.int.

Jenni Tapio
Bird & Bird Attorneys, University of Helsinki, Finland, jenni.tapio@helsinki.fi.

    From the inception of European integration, a regime trying to regulate and arrange competition as much as considered necessary for the benefit of society at large has been one of the core elements of the European Union’s legal order. While the European Union has over the past few decades become more and more involved in the European space effort, this has so far hardly given rise to fundamental application of this competition regime to space activities, even if space also in Europe increasingly has become commercialized and privatized. The current paper investigates the reasons and rationale for this special situation, addressing inter alia the special character of outer space activities and the space industry and the role of the European Space Agency in this respect.


Frans G. von der Dunk
University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Robin J. Frank
Robin J. Frank, Esq., Associate General Counsel International Law, Office of the General Counsel, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States.

David R. Lopez
David R. Lopez, Attorney Adviser, Office of the General Counsel, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States.
Article

Kiwi’s in Space

New Zealand’s ‘Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act’

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 4 2017
Authors Frans G. von der Dunk
Author's information

Frans G. von der Dunk
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law.
Article

New Space Activities and Legislation

A General Overview with a Specific Reference to the Ongoing Debate in Italy

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2017
Authors Marina Gagliardi, Nicoletta Bini, Cristina Marabottini e.a.
Author's information

Marina Gagliardi
Marina Gagliardi, Legal Affairs Unit, Italian Space Agency, Rome, Italy.

Nicoletta Bini
Nicoletta Bini, Legal Affairs Unit, Italian Space Agency, Rome, Italy.

Cristina Marabottini
Cristina Marabottini, Legal Affairs Unit, Italian Space Agency, Rome, Italy.

Gianfranco Gabriele Nucera
Gianfranco Gabriele Nucera, Department of Political Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome.
Article

Access_open Report of the 59th Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space

Guadalajara, Mexico, 2016

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 8 2016
Authors P.J. Blount and R. Moro-Aguilar

P.J. Blount

R. Moro-Aguilar
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