Article

Space Law

Frans von der Dunk

in International Law

ISBN: 9780199796953
Published online March 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199796953-0041
Space Law

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  • International Law
  • International Courts and Tribunals
  • Private International Law and Conflict of Laws
  • Public International Law

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Space law is best defined as the law dealing in a substantial manner with human activities in outer space. Traditionally conceived as a branch of general public international law, space law was originally taken to refer in particular to a handful of United Nations–originating treaties of general scope, UN resolutions, and special multilateral or bilateral agreements specifically addressing space activities (such as establishing international space organizations or the framework for the international space station). Due to the indispensability of the use of radio frequencies for all space activities, certain aspects of international telecommunications law, developed in the context of the International Telecommunication Union, were also considered part of space law. Finally, in view of the political and military overtones of many space activities, major arms control agreements came to be considered part of space law. In the early days of space law, there was only a marginal body of customary international law that applied to it, and no jurisprudence. Over time, increasing technological developments gave rise to commercialization, and ultimately privatization, in many areas of space activities. Thus, on the one hand, other legal regimes became part of space law as they started to impact (certain) space activities, such as copyright law as a tool to protect investments in satellite remote sensing, international trade law to handle commercial satellite services being offered around the globe, or international financing law when it came to handling risks in satellite projects. On the other hand, the incursion of private entities into many areas of space activities resulted in a growth of national law and regulation (and in the specific European context, both European Union and European Space Agency law and regulation) in order to make sure such private activities would be appropriately subjected to, as well as accommodated by, the applicable international rules. Consequently, this article will address space law at international, national, and European levels, as well as address the major areas of space activities, including the military uses of outer space, launching, satellite communications, satellite remote sensing (including disaster monitoring), satellite navigation, space station operations, space debris and its mitigation, space resource utilization, space project financing, private human spaceflight (also known as space tourism), and dispute settlement issues regarding space activities.

Article.  15916 words. 

Subjects: International Law ; International Courts and Tribunals ; Private International Law and Conflict of Laws ; Public International Law

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