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    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.

Laura Keogh
MHL-Law RechtsanwaltsgesellschaftmbH.
Article

The Hague Space Resources Governance Working Group

Second Progress Report and the Way Forward

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2017
Authors Tanja Masson-Zwaan, René Lefeber, Giuseppe Reibaldi e.a.
Author's information

Tanja Masson-Zwaan
Tanja Masson-Zwaan (corresponding author), International Institute of Air & Space Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands, t.l.masson@law.leidenuniv.nl.

René Lefeber
René Lefeber, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands, rene.lefeber@minbuza.nl.

Giuseppe Reibaldi
Giuseppe Reibaldi, Special Space Policy Advisor, The Netherlands, giuseppe.reibaldi@gmail.com.

Dimitra Stefoudi
Dimitra Stefoudi, International Institute of Air & Space Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands, d.stefoudi@law.leidenuniv.nl.

Federico Bergamasco
PhD Researcher, Université du Luxembourg, Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, Federico.bergamasco@uni.lu

Kumar Abhijeet
Assistant Professor of Law, National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Doctoral Candidate Institute of Air and Space Law, University of Cologne, Germany.

K.R. Sridhara Murthi
K.R. Sridhara Murthi, Director, IIAEM, Jain University, Jain Global Campus, Jakkasandra post, Kanakapura Taluk

V. Gopalakrishnan
V. Gopalakrishnan, Policy Analyst, ISRO Head Quarters, Antariksh Bhavan, New BEL Road, Bangalore

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.

Olavo de O. Bittencourt Neto
Catholic University of Santos, Brazil, olavo.bittencourt@usp.br.

Mahulena Hofmann
SES Chair in Satellite Communications and Media Law, University of luxembourg, mahulena.hofmann@uni.lu.

Divyanshu Agrawal
National Law School of India University, India, divyanshu.agrawal.92@gmail.com.

Shashank Reddy
National Law School of India University, India, rshashankreddy186@gmail.com.

Dr. Ulrike M. Bohlmann
European Space Agency, Paris, France, Ulrike.Bohlmann@esa.int

Declan J. O'Donnell Esq., Pres.
United Societies In Space, Inc. & The International Space Development Authority Corporation, isdac.usis@gmail.com, djopc@qwestoffice.net

J.J. Hurtak Ph.D
The Academy For Future Science, jjh@affs.org
Article

A Pragmatic Approach to the "Harmful Contamination" Concept in Art. IX of the Outer Space Treaty

The 5th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law in Washington D.C., United States, December 2010: "Art. IX of the Outer Space Treaty and Peaceful Purposes: Issues and Implementation"

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 11 2010
Authors M. Williamson

M. Williamson
Article

Report of the Symposium

The 5th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law in Washington D.C., United States, December 2010: "Art. IX of the Outer Space Treaty and Peaceful Purposes: Issues and Implementation"

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 11 2010
Authors J. Sandalinas

J. Sandalinas
Article

Brief Statement on the Legal Regime for Space Elevators

Recent Developments in Space Law

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 6 2009
Authors P.B. Larsen

P.B. Larsen
Article

The Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space: Some Legal Questions

The 40th Anniversary of the Rescue Agreement: Looking Ahead

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2008
Authors J.M. de Faraminán Gilbert and M. del Carmen Munoz Rodriguez

J.M. de Faraminán Gilbert

M. del Carmen Munoz Rodriguez

M. Hofmann

P. Rettberg

M. Haese
Article

Report of the Symposium

2008 IISL-ECSL Space Law Symposium Held on the Occasion of the 47th Session of the Legal Subcommittee of UNCOPUOS in Vienna, Austria: "Legal Implications of Space Applications for Global Climate Change"

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 8 2008
Authors G.M. Goh

G.M. Goh

C. Jimenez Monroy
Article

Application of the Precautionary Principle to the Moon

Legal Aspects of Expanding Human Presence Beyond Low Earth Orbit

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2005
Authors P.B. Larsen

P.B. Larsen
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