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Journal International Institute of Space Law x

    The discussion of Space Traffic Management (STM) has rapidly emerged over the past couple of years but policy decisions or concrete actions are yet to be ignited to date. From the beginning of discussions of the Draft International Code of Conduct for Space Activities (ICOC), a combination of a top-down approach engaging the political commitments of States and a bottom-up approach of technically affordable solutions have become essential for realizing sustainable space activities at a global level. These approaches are the logical conclusion of the need to establish common standards and safety regulations across the entirety of operations in outer space. However, after experiencing the multiple disappointments of topdown approaches, some began as bottom-up approaches but ended up as top-down, including the Draft Best Practice Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Space Activities at Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Outer Space (COPUOS), ICOC, and the Report of the Group of Governmental Experts for Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Space Activities; therefore, methods of engaging actors must be carefully designed. At this point, considering from the actors’ incentives, a bottom-up approach among civil operators towards global STM rule-making for safe space operations should be promoted. This paper will describe the main reason why the operators have to be the main players at this stage, based on the reluctance of States to regulate traffic in outer space. States are unlikely to regulate other traffic areas, apart from their incentive to maintain the order of the area, as they do not have sovereignty over any part of the area. Civil operators, on the other hand, will become liable for damages due to on-orbit accidents in the near future. The current evaluation standard of fault liability for on-orbit damage will change in the near future, due to the accumulation of cases involving the practical standards of operations. In these circumstances, those operators who do not conform to the stipulated standards will be deemed liable for damages. Therefore, at this stage, operators have incentives to take an important role in the de facto rulemaking process by producing practical standards and guidelines. This process will help secure the future of space activities while forming standards of fault liability affordably.

Yu Takeuchi
Institute of Space Law, Graduate School of Law, Keio University, 2-15-45 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 108-8345. Management and Integration Department, Human Space Flight Technology Directorate, JAXA, 2-1-1 Sengen, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan 305-8505.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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.

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.

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.

    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.

    Currently, the space industry is witnessing a commercialisation wave which, at least in parts, can be considered as disruptive. New technology and market trends associated to this commercialisation wave are circumscribed by the term NewSpace. Along with the NewSpace trend, there is a wave of investment in commercial space activities. Favourable framework conditions supporting commercialisation are key factors for investment decisions and the commercial success of companies along the entire value chain.
    Laws and regulations concerning commercial space activities are established in many countries, but they are currently reviewed and amended in the light of technology and market trends. Certain new services and applications are not yet addressed under national laws, or there is no consensus on their treatment at international level. Overall, there are significant uncertainties and/or evolutions regarding the legal framework in which space companies are operating. Companies along the value chain require different types of governmental approvals, including licenses under national space legislation, licenses under national telecommunications or media law, frequency assignments, market access authorizations, or export/import licenses. Delays in authorisation procedures and/or the denial/revocation of governmental approvals may have serious impacts on investments in space ventures.
    So far, investment treaties have not been extensively employed by the space industry for ensuring favourable political and legal conditions supporting their activities. However, the wave of commercial space companies and activities around the globe raises questions on the potential future role of public investment law.

Erik Pellander
BHO Legal, Germany,

    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).

The Proposed Public Procurement for Projects to Enhance Industrial Capabilities through Japanese Lessons Learned

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 9 2018
Keywords H-IIA, H3, Ariane 6, COTS, public private partnership, procurement
Authors Mizuki Tani-Hatakenaka
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper discusses a framework for governmental projects to enhance industrial capabilities through the lessons learned from the Japanese contractual practice of H3 launch vehicle, comparing with the NASA’s Commercial Orbit Transportation Service (COTS). In 1995, the research and development (R&D) of the H-IIA was started by a former body of JAXA, and each manufacturer was responsible for delivery as required. After twelve-times launches, the operation was privatized to Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Ltd. (MHI). Concerning H3, MHI was selected as a R&D contractor and a launch provider. MHI established the H3 rocket system specification and responsible for delivering the first vehicle to JAXA in 2020, and JAXA is responsible for the total system including its launch base and the H3 flight demonstration. Such a framework gives MHI more creative freedom, but there can be a room for further clarification of the responsibilities. Coincidentally, such a framework between public and private entities is similar to that of the European new flagship launch vehicle, Ariane 6.
    Meanwhile in NASA’s COTS, partners are responsible for all of the development and operation but they are not required to deliver their vehicles to NASA, contrary to H3. It allows clear role allocation and companies’ maximum creativity. A series of contracts of the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) after COTS is also remarkable to promote private investment, for example, around half of the total R&D cost is borne by private sectors. Also, cost accounting method does not seem to be applied for the price setting.
    The framework like H-2A is still necessary for high-risk R&D conducted by governmental agencies. It will be, however, necessary for projects, which aims at enhancing industrial capabilities through transferring the operations to the private sectors and encouraging innovation, to be taken different measures in relation to selection of prime contractor, delivery and payment in the development phase and to procurement of launch services in the operating phase.

Mizuki Tani-Hatakenaka
Adv. LL.M Student of Air and Space Law, Law School, Leiden University, Steenschuur 25, Leiden, 2311 ES, the Netherlands,

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,

P.J. Blount

Rafael Moro-Aguilar

    This article studies five category of malicious cyber activities against space assets in order to assess to what extent the existing international telecommunications law and space law address such activities and identify which rules should be pursued to effectively solve them. Five category of such activities include jamming, hijacking, hacking, spoofing, and robbing the control of telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) of a satellite (a kind of anti-satellite (ASAT)). Actual incidents are selected for analysis. Those are: (i) jamming: Iranian deliberate harmful interference to the Eutelsat satellites solved in the ITU; (ii) hijacking: a terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) hijacking US Intelsat-12 satellite solved by diplomatic negotiation between the Sri Lankan and US Governments using international telecommunications law developed by the ITU and individual national laws; (iii) hacking: alleged Chinese hacking of US NOAA’s information systems; (iv) spoofing: Iranian spoofing of the GPS signals to guide a US/CIA’s RQ-170 UAV into the Iranian territory; and (v) robbing the control of TT&C: alleged Chinese taking control of US remote sensing satellites including Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1. Concluding remarks include: 1) international telecommunications law developed in the ITU can adequately address harmful interference or hijacking as a result of malicious cyber activity as long as that is conducted by a non-State actor; 2) efforts have started in the ITU to strengthen its fact-finding ability in line with the TCBM measures taken in space activities. This orientation may be remembered as a beginning of the new stage that international space law and international telecommunications law would be merged into one field of law: 3) It remains unclear about the implications of an intangible damage occurred to a satellite when its TT&C is robbed of as a result of malicious cyber activity, while it is clear that such an action constitute the violation of the principles of respect for state sovereignty, national jurisdiction and non-intervention. Thus, for promoting peaceful uses of outer space, the elaboration of relevant Articles of the Outer Space Treaty is urgently needed to formulate clear conditions for national space activities.

Setsuko Aoki
Professor of Law, Keio University Law School, Japan,

    Despite the increasing influence of cyber activities on our everyday lives, researchers encounter difficulties in understanding this subject matter and in legally qualifying these activities and their effects. Current discussions tend to concentrate on distinct aspects, which lead to a fragmented, rather than a holistic understanding of the legal aspects of cyber activities. This paper approaches the legal dimension of cyber activities from a more general direction and searches for elements and legal principles that may be found in international law, including space law, and can apply to cyber activities.

Stefan A. Kaiser
LLM (McGill). Wassenberg, Germany,

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,

Jenni Tapio
Bird & Bird Attorneys, University of Helsinki, Finland,

    The grand project of “Belt and Road” Space Information Corridor proposed by China, which aims to integrate its space-based platforms for comprehensive space applications under the Belt and Road Initiative, resonates with calls and recommendations of the United Nations conferences on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space for increased international cooperation in space projects to address common challenges. This project is expected to translate the potentials of space technology for socioeconomic development into real benefits for billions of people along the Belt and Road region. The Chinese government has released guidelines in 2016 to identify the general goals and major tasks.
    As we celebrate legacy of the UNISPACE conferences this year, it is beneficial to also focus on the ramifications of large scale space projects for governance of space activities on national, regional and international level. On the one hand, policy and legal aspects are important factors to be taken into account in project planning and implementation. On the other hand, the need to accommodate requirements of space projects could stimulate adjustment or innovation in space policies and regulations. The “B&R” Space Information Corridor offers us a chance to explore such interaction between space project and space governance. Based on analysis of the relevant aspects of legal environment, this paper purports to examine opportunities and challenges confronted with during implementation of the “mega-project” from legal perspectives.

Kang Duan
China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

Legal Rights and Possibilities to Access Satellite Data for a Non-Member State of Space Community

Case of Republic of Serbia

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2018
Keywords satellite data, digital divide, space law, EU, Copernicus, Republic of Serbia
Authors Anja Nakarada Pecujlic and Marko Pajovic
AbstractAuthor's information

    In today’s technologically dependent society an average person interacts 36x per day with satellite through diverse applications (e.g. to note just one example - 3/4 of the data used in weather prediction models depend on satellite data). Because of this wide use of satellites, nowadays 80+ countries currently operate at least one satellite in space (latest countries to reach space were Ghana, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Angola). Especially for states that are less economically and technologically developed, space systems are particularly useful and necessary in order to achieve “frog leaping” and decrease the economic and social inequalities between developing and developed states. Involvement in space activities gives them the opportunity to utilize state of the art technology and solve local issues (e.g. environmental, e-health, e-medicine, transportation). Taking a closer look at the satellite data and imagery, it can be observed that the users are mainly public sector clients, such as military institutions for security uses as well as environmental and agricultural authorities. Hence, in the first line it is important to examine which legal framework is governing the access to satellite data and if public sector clients from the developing countries have the same guaranteed rights under international law as the developed nations. This paper will offer in its first part an overview of existing international norms regulating access to satellite data, focusing on relevant provisions in the corpus iuris spatialis. In the second part it will compare these legal rights with the praxis, i.e. determining what are actual possibilities to exercise these rights, if a state is not involved in space activities and has never been a member of space community like in the case of Republic of Serbia. In the third and final part, the paper will zoom in on the EU flagship programs - Copernicus and Galileo - and ESA’s data access policies in regards to states that are neither EU nor ESA member states, but are striving for full European integration, as Serbia.

Anja Nakarada Pecujlic
Institute for Air Law, Space Law and Cyber Law, University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, Cologne 50923, Germany (corresponding author),

Marko Pajovic
Serbian Case for Space Foundation, Dr. Ivana Ribara 105, Belgrade 11070, Serbia,

Transferring Rights of Satellite Imagery and Data: Current Contract Practice and New Challenges

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2018
Keywords geospatial, remote sensing, Incoterms, intellectual property
Authors Jordi Sandalinas Baró
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present work refers to the challenge of understanding the emerging contractual paradigm referred to satellite imagery and data online commerce. Issues like the role of consent in new online contract forms will be analyzed. In this regard, the formation of online contracts requires the existence of consent given by the parties to the contract. The formation of contracts known as “click-wrap”, “browse-wrap” and “shrink-wrap” agreements constitute a new paradigm in the tradition of online commerce related to satellite imagery and data. The author highlights other legal challenges encountered during his research and practice such as the Intellectual Property Paradigm regarding Geospatial imagery and data commercial transactions. Moreover, Value Added Data and the Exhaustion of Rights Principle of the rights deserve also some close attention and must be added to the present study.

Jordi Sandalinas Baró
Attorney at Law, Maritime SDI, Drone and Satellite Law, Lecturer and Course Instructor, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, CEO Image Sea Solutions, Coordinator, email:

Catherine Doldirina
International Institute of Space Law, Italy,
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