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Article

Space Debris: Between Unity and Fragmentation – Risk as a Static Principle with Dynamic Outcomes

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 6 2019
Keywords risk, space object, space debris removal, material environment, social milieu, collision prevention, harmful interference
Authors Ward Munters
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper analyses the interrelationship between science, risk, international law and the prevention of collisions between space objects, so as to contribute to progressive development of international law and of an epistemic community invested with a common conceptual and terminological apparatus, as well as to examine interrelated juridical and technical obstacles and opportunities regarding the creation of an informed, uniform and therefore, it is posited, more effective regulatory regime.
    To contribute to establishing a common frame of reference, the article presents and explores an analytical and theoretical mapping exercise of some structural contours delineating mutual space object relations, positing the common construction of risk and its collective management as central to the asymptotic realization of uniformity in standards concerning space objects, space debris and its removal, and preventing physical interference or collisions. The paper proceeds from scientific insights into collision risk to uncover the extent of the technical notion of risk in this area before briefly examining how risk management mechanisms operate in international law to produce restrictions or permissions regarding future conduct, activities or incidents. Risk emerges as a ‘static’, i.e. common, principle with ‘dynamic’, i.e. variable, outcomes that may form the normative foundation of a uniform yet highly adaptive regulatory framework – a principle thus particularly suited to protean conditions in orbital space. Finally, some sketches follow of a heuristic device for envisaging the normative and jurisprudential construction of a static risk principle that can correlatively produce the substantively variable permissive rights and restrictive obligations as may attach to space objects, i.e. output, on the basis of evolving material conditions in orbit, i.e. input.


Ward Munters
Institute for International Law and Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 41, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

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.
Article

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.

Peter Stubbe
German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany

Frans G. von der Dunk
University of Nebraska, College of Law, Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program, Fvonderdunk2@unl.edu.

R. Burks
Auburn University, USA, rsb0016@auburn.edu.

C. Carmen
University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA, Christina.Carmen@uah.edu.

Irina Kerner
LL.M. (Edinburgh), Doctoral candidate, University of Cologne, Germany, irina.kerner@googlemail.com
Article

Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty: Extraterrestrial Back Contamination, the U.S. Constitution, and the "Politics" of U.S. Regulatory Authority

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 G.S. Robinson

G.S. Robinson
Article

Tidying Up the Moon Treaty Prior to Construction

30 Years of the Moon Agreement: Perspectives

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2010
Authors E.E. Weeks and M.K. Force

E.E. Weeks

M.K. Force
Article

The Commercial Exploitation of Outer Space and Celestial Bodies: A Functional Solution to the Natural Resource Challenge

Nandasiri Jasentuliyana Keynote Lecture on Space Law & 2nd Young Scholars Session

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2010
Authors P. de Man

P. de Man
Article

Outer Space: Of the People, by the People and for the People

Peace in Space: Transparency and Confidence Building Measures

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2009
Authors V. Leister

V. Leister
Article

Collision Course: 2009 Iridium-Cosmos Crash

Third Party Liability Issues in Commercial Space Activities

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2009
Authors M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser
Article

Equity and Transparency in the New Province of Humanity

The 4th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law in Washington D.C., United States, December 2009: "Peaceful Purposes and Uses of Outer Space"

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 10 2009
Authors V. Leister

V. Leister
Article

Bifurcation of Spaceport Regulation Within the United States

The 40th Anniversary of the Rescue Agreement: Looking Ahead

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2008
Authors L. Tennen and P.M. Sterns

L. Tennen

P.M. Sterns
Article

The Joinder of Telecommunications and Globalization

Weaponisation of Outer Space in the Light of the Outer Space Treaty

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2008
Authors C.Q. Christol

C.Q. Christol
Article

Report of the 51st Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space in Glasgow, Scotland, September 2008

Glasgow Session Reports

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 6 2008
Authors C. Doldirina, F. Tronchetti, Y. Takaya-Umehara e.a.

C. Doldirina

F. Tronchetti

Y. Takaya-Umehara

S. Ospina

C. Constant-Jorgenson
Article

Treaty Law in Support of Climate Monitoring

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 F.G. von der Dunk

F.G. von der Dunk
Article

OST, Liability Principles and Launch from International Domain: Resolving a New Twist in the Tail

Legal Issues of Private Spaceflight and Space Tourism

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2007
Authors A. Dubey and L. Sonchhatra

A. Dubey

L. Sonchhatra

K. Comer
Article

Fly Me to the Moon: Legal and Political Considerations of Space Exploration Initiatives

The Moon, Property Rights and Legal Issues

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2006
Authors L. Martinez and U. Bohlmann

L. Martinez

U. Bohlmann
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