Search result: 213 articles


Irmgard Marboe
University of Vienna, Austria.

    An international legal regime that comprehensively governs the exploitation of space resources is currently missing; nevertheless, the United States has enacted legislation specifically disciplining this activity. The US Space Act gives rise to the question of whether a State, through national law, can unilaterally discipline a specific use of commons over which States have joint stewardship, especially if, at the international level, such a use is not comprehensively disciplined and lacks consensus. This paper does not have the ambition to resolve the persisting academic debate surrounding the interpretation of international space law regarding the appropriation and utilization of space resources. Rather, it attempts to provide legal support for the concept that the international community is the sole subject in the position to further specify the rules to govern the use of outer space and celestial bodies, including of the resources thereof. In doing so, the US Space Act is analyzed in light of the key principles of the Outer Space Treaty relevant to the exploration and use of space resources. These principles are further subjected to critical analysis, the outcome of which is assessed against the Moon Agreement provisions. In its conclusion, the paper explores which legal steps States could possibly undertake to ensure a smooth and prosperous development of the space mining industry.

Ermanno F. Napolitano
PhD Candidate, McGill University, Faculty of Law.

Regulation of Commercial Mining of Space Resources at National and International Level

An Analysis of the 1979 Moon Agreement and the National Law Approach

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 5 2019
Authors Vinicius Aloia
Author's information

Vinicius Aloia
Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 3, 00101, Helsinki, Finland.

    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.

Space Traffic Management: Not Just Air Traffic Management for Outer Space and More Than Data Analytics

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Space Traffic Management, Air Traffic Management, Space Situational Awareness, data analytics, technical measures, regulatory measures, space traffic rules
Authors Stefan A. Kaiser
AbstractAuthor's information

    Space Traffic Management is a complex concept that consists of technical, organisational and regulatory elements. It is not foreseen in the Outer Space Treaties and yet considered a crucial concept for a safe and sustainable access to space and interference free operations in space. Space Situational Awareness and Space Surveillance and Tracking are not identical to Space Traffic Management which is broader and reaches farther. Space Situational Awareness and Space Surveillance and Tracking are cognitive elements of Space Traffic Management. Air Traffic Management is often used as a reference for Space Traffic Management. However, not only the legal regimes of sovereign airspace as opposed to the regime of Outer Space are substantially different. Alone the differences of the physical characteristics support different technical approaches in air space and Outer Space. Motions in air space that follow aerodynamics and ballistics tend to be short lived and henceforth air traffic control has evolved from short term, tactical measures. Opposed to that, objects in Outer Space follow orbital dynamics and their trajectories persist for longer periods, so that control procedures need to address longer term effects and be of a strategic nature. In that context, Air Traffic Management has evolved in an opposite direction than Space Traffic Management. During recent years, rule-making for Space Traffic Management takes new roads. Lacking hard treaty law, an increasing range of non-binding standards, national regulations, practices of private bodies, voluntary information exchanges and cooperative routines tend to synchronize selected elements of Space Traffic Management. In addition, data analytics is taking an expanding role in Space Situational Awareness.

Stefan A. Kaiser
Wassenberg, Germany.

    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.

    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 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.

    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.

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.

Thea Flem Dethlefsen
LLB and LLM, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Adv. LL.M. Air and Space Law, Leiden University (2018).

Heejeong Vicky Jeong
LLB (Hons.), London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Adv. LL.M. Air and Space Law, Leiden University (2018).

Antonino Salmeri
LLM (cum laude), University of Catania, LLM (cum laude) Law and Government of the EU, LUISS University, Rome. Adv. LLM Air and Space Law, Leiden University (2018).

    The three “global commons (GC)” Antarctica, outer space and the high seas/deep seabed, which do not fall under the sovereignty of States (“State-free”), have become a symbol of peaceful cooperation and coordination of the international community. The international treaties which have already been negotiated from the 1950s show an astonishing degree of foresight concerning common public interest. Today, however, each of the three spaces is at risk in at least one of the following areas: peace and arms control, sustainability of use, and just and fair distribution of resources and benefits. This has gone so far that States have begun questioning the concept of nonappropriation. Could this potentially lead to conflicts – even armed conflicts? A new approach to the preservation and fair management of the GC is therefore necessary and requires appropriate political and diplomatic action. This paper intends to tackle the three GC together in order to identify steps for further developing their governance and to investigate, whether joint diplomatic initiatives for the three GC could be more effective than isolated efforts to deal with single hotspots. It will be argued that the future of the GC lies in the establishment of comparable moratoria, thresholds, fees and codes of conduct drawing from best practices in one or more of the three GC.

Kai-Uwe Schrogl
European Space Agency (ESA).

    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;

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,

The Principle of Non-Appropriation and the Exclusive Uses of LEO by Large Satellite Constellations

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 8 2018
Keywords Non-Appropriation Principle, LEO, Exclusive Use, Large Satellite Constellation, Mega Constellation
Authors Yuri Takaya-Umehara, Quentin Verspieren and Goutham Karthikeyan
AbstractAuthor's information

    Newly proposed projects of large satellite constellations are challenging the established business models of the satellite industry. Targeting the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), already the most populated orbit for space applications, these constellations pose an increasing risk regarding the sustainable use of outer space. According to the Inter- Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), presenting at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UN COPUOS in 2018, the implementation level of the IADC Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines in LEO is considered as “insufficient and no apparent trend towards a better implementation is observed", when compared with GEO. In parallel, 11 private entities such as OneWeb, Telesat and SpaceX have applied for approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate large satellite constellation projects.
    Before the launch of these massive constellations, several legal issues have been identified from the perspectives of international obligations related to liability and registration. Taking them into consideration, as well as the IADC recommendations, the present article reviews one of the most fundamental principles in space law, the principle of non-appropriation, to clarify its applicability to the exclusive use of specific LEO orbits by large satellite constellations. After this clarification, the paper concludes with proposals for possible solutions.

Yuri Takaya-Umehara
The University of Tokyo.

Quentin Verspieren
The University of Tokyo.

Goutham Karthikeyan
The University of Tokyo & Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS-JAXA).

P.J. Blount

Rafael Moro-Aguilar

    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.

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).

Roy Balleste
School of Law, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue Street, Miami Gardens, Florida 33054, USA.
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