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Daniel Porras
Daniel Porras, Space Security Fellow, UNIDIR.

P.J. Blount
P.J. Blount, University of Luxembourg.

P.J. Blount
University of Luxembourg.

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

    This paper will critically evaluate the provisions of the Space Industry Act 2018, its relationship with the Outer Space Act 1986 and the underlying arguments behind the UK Government’s decision to use the new Act to encourage both the development of launch systems within the UK and the attendant infrastructure. It will also consider the ramifications for the space economy within the UK and how the legislation will facilitate access to space for small space start-up companies and encourage the growth of a nascent space tourism industry. Given that the UK has taken the opportunity to revivify its national space law, the paper will go on to discuss some of the key points of significance in the new legislation. In particular, the 2018 Act lacks specific detail on many key regulatory issues, instead providing a skeleton outline which requires augmentation by way of secondary legislation. The paper will consider the way in which the UK will seek to fulfil its international treaty obligations within the legislative framework and whether the legislation can serve to contribute to the growth of the UK space economy amidst unprecedented political turmoil.


Christopher J. Newman
Professor of Space Law & Policy, Northumbria Law School, Northumbria University at Newcastle.

    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.

    Entities enjoying international legal personality are generally regarded as the “subjects” of general international law and international space law and are considered to possess rights and obligations under international law. While States have historically been recognised as the principal subjects of international law, non-State actors, such as international organisations, non-governmental entities, multinational corporations, and (arguably) individuals, are increasingly empowered with rights and subjected to obligations on the international plane. International space law, although embedded in general international law, contains unique principles and rules that are in some cases different from those of general international law. With the changing nature of activities due to technological developments, and the proliferation of actors in the space domain, it is necessary to critically examine the issues as to what are considered the subjects of international space law. This question is important both from the doctrinal perspective, and as a matter of practical relevance, as space activities are increasingly being undertaken by non-State actors under the jurisdiction and control of, or having a nexus with, several States.


Kuan-Wei Chen
K.W. Chen, Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, McGill University, Canada.

Ram Jakhu
R. Jakhu, Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, Canada.

Steven Freeland
S. Freeland, Western Sydney University, Australia.

    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.
Article

Dispute Settlement and Decision Making in Relation to the Scarce Orbit-Spectrum Resource

‘Preventive’ and ‘Reactive’ ITU Procedures and Their Relevance for Private Sector Actors

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2019
Keywords ITU, Dispute Settlement, Spectrum Management, Private Actors
Authors Simona Spassova
AbstractAuthor's information

    The exploration and sustainable use of outer space is dependent, not only upon technological developments and capital investments, but also on the availability of the spectrum-orbit resource for the associated relevant radio communications. Even though the electromagnetic spectrum is a non-exhaustible resource, it is a limited and finite one. The increased number of actors and activities in space – both current and planned- is putting a strain on the coordination and allocation processes for available spectrum as well as on the subsequent observance of the international requirements in this respect. Hence, this paper focuses on the way geostatic positions are assigned and frequencies - allocated on an international level. These are complicated and highly time-consuming processes, involving technical and engineering expertise, coordination, compromise and some diplomacy too. On a global level these negotiations are done within the framework of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and spectrum/orbital positions can only be assigned to sovereign member states. At the same time, more and more satellite communication operators nowadays are private commercial entities, even if, licensed and supervised by their respective national administrations. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, it will examine the ways disputes related to the allocation and use of the spectrum resources are handled within the framework of the ITU. It identifies ‘preventive’ and ‘reactive’ efforts to settle disputes within the framework of the organization. In other words: what is the ITU doing to prevent the potential for conflict and what measures does it offer for resolution once a conflict has occurred? Different means of dispute resolution - will be examined together with the associated advantages. Secondly, the article will also analyse the role of private operators and not only Member States administrations in these processes. The ITU brings together also Sector members from the industry and in doing so, it for provides for multistakeholder discussion. Arguably, as the oldest UN agency, the Union is remarkably fast and adept when responding to technological challenges and considering the needs of the private sector. Is this so also when disputes are at stake, whereby private operators are not an official party?


Simona Spassova
Simona Spassova is Faculty Advisor to the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Team and a legal consultant for the International Finance Corporation.

    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.

Jonathan Percivalle de Andrade
Peruíbe College.

    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.

Nicola Rohner

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

    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, stefanakaiser@aol.com
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.

    Increasing commercialization and privatization of outer space and multifaceted uses and exploration of the space potential and benefits raise new challenges to the existing framework of international space law and its established procedural legal mechanisms. What are the legal perspectives of an adjustment, supersession or possible resistance of the five United Nations treaties on outer space? UNISPACE conferences have aimed to enhance international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, including the promotion of common principles. UNISPACE+50 focuses, inter alia, on the issue of the “Legal regime of outer space and global space governance” and the effectiveness of the legal regime in the 21st century. Indeed, the international community is facing today new legal questions with respect to the exploitation of space recourses, multiplication of private space businesses, unilateral grants of national licenses to commercial sector, space traffic management, need for enhanced registration and precision of responsibility and liability regime, to name few. This presentation aims to introduce a general international legal framework of various procedural legal modes of further development of the five UN treaties, both in a de lege lata and de lege ferenda perspective. Light will be shed on the respective procedures of treaty law, prerequisites of the emergence of an international custom, role of non-legally binding standards, bottom-up impact of national legislations and assessment of an effective norm-making capacity of relevant stakeholders, all transposed in the space arena with regard to the current international space debate and practice of States. A selection of the most up-todate topics will serve as examples. This comprehensive legal outline aims to highlight various options that the UNISPACE dialogue and its agenda for the future can address.


Martina Smuclerova
Prague Security Studies Institute, Czech Republic, smuclerova@pssi.cz.

Dennis C. O’Brien
The Space Treaty Project.

    In 2010, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UNCOPUOS formed the Working Group on Long Term Sustainability (LTS) of Outer Space Activities, assigning it the task of formulating voluntary non-binding guidelines focusing on sustainable space utilization, space debris and space operations, space weather, and regulatory regimes. At its June 2016 meeting, the UNCOPUOS approved 12 of the proposed guidelines, while several remained on the UNCOPUOS agenda. Although the LTS Guidelines are voluntary, their adoption by the UNCOPUOS and consideration by the UNGA’s 4th Committee, are evidence of a growing awareness of their potential contribution to the evolution of space law applicable to all states. This paper explores whether the LTS Guidelines could evolve into customary legal norms as part of customary international law (CIL) and steps that could promote that evolution.


Larry F. Martinez
California State University, Long Beach, USA.

James H. Armstead
Attorney, USA.

Merve Erdem
University of Ankara, Turkey.
Article

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), anja.n.pecujlic@outlook.com.

Marko Pajovic
Serbian Case for Space Foundation, Dr. Ivana Ribara 105, Belgrade 11070, Serbia, marko.pajovic@serbiancaseforspace.com.
Article

Mitigation of Anti-Competitive Behaviour in Telecommunication Satellite Orbits and Management of Natural Monopolies

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 2 2018
Keywords anti-competitive conduct, constellation satellites, monopoly
Authors Thomas Green, Patrick Neumann and Kent Grey
AbstractAuthor's information

    Previous activities in developing satellite networks for telecommunications such as the TelStar, Relay and Syncom satellite networks of the early 1960s through to the Iridium, Globalstar and ORBCOMM constellations of the 1990s were reserved to geostationary orbits and low orbits with less than 100 satellites comprising their network. These satellite networks distinguished themselves by being business-to-government and business-tobusiness facing by contracting with government and domestic carriage and media providers for the supply of services. Customers for these services did not constitute either small to medium sized businesses, or individuals in the general public.
    With the advent of what has been dubbed ‘NewSpace’, however, new entrants into the market are developing constellation satellite networks that operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Unlike the legacy satellite telecommunication networks of the 1960s-1990s, these constellation satellite networks are focused on, amongst other things, Internet of Things (IOT) devices, asset management and tracking, Wi-Fi hot-spotting, backhaul networking and contracting with small businesses and the general public.
    Regional examples of these new telecommunication heavyweights include Fleet Space Technologies (Fleet) - an Australian company undertaking to launch 100 satellites into LEO, Sky and Space Global (SAS) - an Australian-British-Israeli consortium that intends to provide a constellation of 200 small satellites, OneWeb’s planned fleet of 650 satellites that may be expanded to 2,000 satellites, and, SpaceX’s planned StarLink network of 12,000 satellites. In addition, companies such as Spire and PlanetLabs intend to provide geospatial information through their own constellation networks to government and educational institutions alongside the private sector.
    Although propertisation of space and celestial bodies is prohibited under the Outer Space Treaty 1967 (UN), near-Earth orbits still remain rivalrous and commercially lucrative. By operating in a LEO environment, these satellite constellation networks have the potential to exclude competing services by new entrants to market. For example, where one constellation network has an orbital plane or orbital shell, another constellation may not be able to have the same orbital plane or orbital shell.
    Presently, the literature to date focuses on the allocation of spectrum bandwidth, and space traffic management with a focus on orbital debris mitigation. This paper addresses these concerns and offers recommendations on how the risk of ‘natural’ monopolies forming for specific constellation satellite networks in LEO may be mitigated under instruments available to both UNOOSA and the ITU.


Thomas Green
(Corresponding author), Neumann Space Pty Ltd, 1/41 Wood Avenue, Brompton 5007 South Australia, tom@neumannspace.com.

Patrick Neumann
Neumann Space Pty Ltd, 1/41 Wood Avenue, Brompton 5007 South Australia.

Kent Grey
b Partner, Minter Ellison, 25 Grenfell Street, Adelaide 5000 Australia, kent.grey@minterellison.com.
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