History of Space Law

Peenemünde and the German V-2 rockets

Peenemünde is a municipality on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The community is known for the Peenemünde Army Research Center, where the world’s first functional large-scale liquid-propellant rocket, the V-2, was developed.

Pleumeur-Bodou and the French CNET

July 11, 1962. For the first time in the history of telecommunications, television images are broadcasted live from the United States of America to Europe, thanks to the Telstar satellite. Mondovision was born thanks to Pleumeur-Bodou and the French CNET.

Space Law History 101

The launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957 took the attention of the world. In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre (1981), the horror writer Stephen King tells how the screening of a film in a small-town New England cinema was interrupted. The cinema manager told the audience what had happened, and the screening was abandoned. People went out in a fruitless attempt to try to see the satellite.

Wan Hu, the Chinese astronaut

Wan Hu, the Chinese astronaut, is really well known in China. And throughout the world. Wan Hu is a legendary Chinese official who was described in twentieth century CE sources as the world’s first “astronaut” by being lifted by rockets into outer space. The crater Wan-Hoo on the far side of the Moon is named after him.

The Origins of the Space Age

Let’s have a look at the history of spaceflight from the origins of rocketry to the beginning of the Space Age. Cultures around the world have contributed both to the visions and to the technological developments necessary to make spaceflight a reality.

The first European satellites

The first satellites of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO), a pair of satellites that formed the basis of ESRO’s scientific program, concentrated on solar and cosmic radiation and its interaction with Earth. ESRO-1A was launched on October 3, 1968 and re-entered on June 26, 1970; ESRO-1B was launched on October 1, 1969 and re-entered on November 23, 1969.

Remote sensing, the dual use of satellites and the impact on the environment

There are several questions arising from remote sensing operations, and these too often represent a threat to state sovereignty and territorial control. Let’s have a look at the dual use of satellites and the impact on the environment.

An interview with Michel Viso

An interview with French veterinarian Michel Viso from the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) in Paris about exobiology, Enceladus, Europa, Titan, French spationauts, and extraterritorial life. Could we terraform Mars? Could we live on the Moon? How to define life? What is the future of space law?

UNISPACE I in 1968

UNISPACE I, held from August 14 to 27, 1968, was the first in a series of three global UN conferences on outer space, which focused on raising awareness of the vast potential of space benefits for all humankind.

The Iranian space program

Iran, one of the twenty-four founding members of the COPUOS, is one of the few countries in the world capable of putting satellites into Low Earth Orbit using its own launch vehicles. The Islamic Republic’s space program is young but is rapidly making progress.

The legal status of objects printed in outer space

The notion of space object will become of more practical importance with the expansion of space activities (International Space Station, space tourism, Moon, Mars…). What will be the legal status of objects built in outer space? Will outer-space-3D-printed objects be considered space objects? What about an object made from extraterrestrial material or a mix of extraterrestrial and earth-brought material?

The Rescue Agreement of 1968

The Rescue Agreement of 1968 provides that States shall rescue and assist astronauts in distress and promptly return them to the Launching State, and that States shall provide assistance to Launching States in recovering space objects that return to Earth outside the territory of the Launching State.

The birth of the Indian space programme

With the live transmission of the 1964 Summer Olympics, Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme, quickly recognized the benefits of space technologies for India.

Mission Shakti and Space Law

The Indian government announced on March 27, 2019, it successfully fired a ground-based anti-satellite weapon against a satellite in Low Earth Orbit, a test – Mission Shakti – that is likely to heighten concerns about outer space security and orbital debris.

An interview with Jean-Pierre Sanfourche

An interview with Jean-Pierre Sanfourche of the Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France (3AF) about scientific ballooning, the future of aeronautics, the Hermes spaceplane, the Moon village, the Zeppelins, Mars…

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the main principles of Space Law

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, an international treaty binding the parties to use outer space only for peaceful purposes, is draft treaties on the uses of outer space reconciled during several months of negotiation in the Legal Subcommittee of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (September 17, 1857 – September 19, 1935), was a Russian and Soviet rocket scientist and pioneer of the astronautic theory. He championed the idea of the diversity of life in the universe and was the first theorist and advocate of human spaceflight.

Edward Makuka Nkoloso, the Afronauts and the Zambian space program

In 1964, at the height of the Cold War, an African schoolteacher named Edward Makuka Nkoloso launched the Zambian space program with a dozen aspiring teenage astronauts or “afronauts”. Nkoloso said he had been inspired by his first airplane flight. When the pilot refused to stop the plane so that he could get out and walk on the clouds, Nkoloso made up his mind to enter the Space Race.

Troposphere, Jean-Patrice Keka and the Congolese space program

Troposphere rockets are developed by Jean-Patrice Keka and his private company Développement Tous Azimuts (DTA). Let’s discover the Congolese space program.

When France became the third space power

On November 26, 1965, France placed the A1 satellite, also known as Astérix, into low Earth orbit. Less than ten years after humanity entered the Space Age, France surprised everyone by becoming the third country to place an object into Earth’s orbit.