Is naming stars legal?

For this new Space Law article on Space Legal Issues, we have asked ourselves the following question: is naming stars legal? There are services which will let you name a star in the sky after a loved one. You can commemorate a special day, or the life of an amazing person. But can you really name a star? Is it legal?

Telepossession and space law

Telepossession could provide for a form of possession, which would allow mining and space colonisation companies to develop the extraterrestrial resources used in making space stations, fleets of spacecraft, fuelling stations and all other colonisation infrastructures.

The militarisation of celestial bodies

About thirty years ago, a part of the doctrine hypothesised the possibility of using celestial bodies as interplanetary stations. This eventuality goes hand in hand with the recognition of the exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies mentioned in Article I of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. One wonders what implications this discipline might entail, and once again, we could be faced with a gap capable of exposing risky conduct.

Space archaeology: how to protect lunar sites?

As private companies or NASA revive the space race to Mars, the Moon has once again become an important landmark in space exploration. How to protect the first sites of space exploration, when space is supposed to belong to everyone? The trace of the boot left on the lunar floor by Neil Armstrong in July 1969 is still intact, fifty years later.

Pedis possessio and asteroids

Pedis possessio is a principle of mining law, according to which a qualified person who peaceably, and in good faith, enters a land in the public domain in search of valuable minerals, may hold the place exclusively against others having no better title. In the context of space law and that of the lawfulness of space mining activities, could the principle of pedis possessio interest space lawyers?

Public-private partnership contracts

Public-private partnership contracts involve collaborations between government agencies, and private-sector companies, used to finance, build, and operate projects, such as public transportation networks, parks, and convention centres. Financing projects through public-private partnership contracts can allow projects to be completed sooner, or make them a possibility in the first place.

The 1979 Moon Agreement

The 1979 Moon Agreement reaffirms and elaborates on many of the provisions of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty as applied to the Moon and other celestial bodies, providing that those bodies should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, that their environments should not be disrupted, that the United Nations should be informed of the location and purpose of any station established on those bodies.

Dragonfly, a drone soon on Titan

Dragonfly, the fourth mission of the “New Frontier” exploration program, is a planned spacecraft and mission that will send a mobile robotic rotorcraft lander to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, in order to study prebiotic chemistry and extraterrestrial habitability at various locations where it will perform vertical-take-offs and landings.

Why explore space?

Today, space activities are frequently justified on the basis of economic or policy rationales, or the benefits deriving from space spinoffs. Yet the dream of spaceflight is as old as Humanity and found in cultures around the world. So what drives us to explore the cosmos?

The Solar System

The Solar System has three major zones: the inner solid planets and asteroids, the large gaseous planets, and the ice-dominated small bodies that make up the Kuiper belt and Oort Cloud.

Space Law and the New Space

This article describes the issues surrounding the regulation of “New Space” activities. Today’s space field is characterised by new activities, new actors and new concerns. New activities in space such as space mining or large constellations of small satellites raise issues that are not clearly addressed in the UN space treaties.

The United Arab Emirates in space

The United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), which was proposed in 2008 as a civilian Pan-Arab Space Agency, like the European Space Agency (ESA), is an agency of the United Arab Emirates government responsible for the development of the country’s space industry. It was created in 2014.

The lawfulness of extraterrestrial real estate

Let’s have a look at the lawfulness of extraterrestrial real estate. Extraterrestrial real estate refers to claims of land ownership on other planets or natural satellites or parts of space by certain organisations, individuals, and artists. The topic has been present since the 1890s.

In situ resource utilization

In space exploration, in situ (which means “in its original position or place” in Latin) resource utilization (ISRU) is the practice of collection, processing, storing and use of materials found or manufactured on other astronomical objects (the Moon, Mars, asteroids, etc.) that replace materials that would otherwise be brought from Earth.

The Commercial Lunar Payload Services program

The Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) is a NASA program to contract transportation services able to send small robotic landers and rovers to the Moon with the goals of exploration, in situ resource utilisation (ISRU), and lunar science to support the Artemis lunar program.

The Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program

NextSTEP is a public-private partnership model that seeks commercial development of deep space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human spaceflight missions in and beyond cislunar space: the space near Earth that extends just beyond the Moon. NextSTEP is managed by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES).

Tensions between NASA and China

Throughout the years, starting in 2010, the US government has prohibited all researchers from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from working bilaterally with Chinese citizens affiliated with the Chinese government. But recently, scientists and policy makers in the U.S. and Europe were seeking new ways to work with China on its ambitious lunar exploration program.

Audouin Dollfus, the French aeronaut

Canadian astrophysicist Hubert Reeves considers Audouin Dollfus to be one of the greatest French contemporary astronomers. In particular, he discovered Saturn’s satellite Janus, determined the composition of Mars’ soil, detected an atmospheric residue on Mercury, and selected the Apollo XI mission landing site, which allowed Neil Armstrong to set foot on the Moon.

The most isolated villages on Earth

On Earth, there are villages so isolated that their inhabitants are forced to live without any connection with the outside world. These examples illustrate the difficulties that will encounter a human colony installed on the Moon or on Mars. In fact, according to NASA, temperatures on Mars at low altitude are similar to those in Antarctica.

The Beagle 2 British Mars lander

The Beagle 2 British Mars lander was a Mars lander initially mounted on the top deck of the Mars Express Orbiter. The lander was released on a ballistic trajectory towards Mars from the Orbiter on December 19, 2003 on a course to land on Mars on December 25, 2003. Isidis Planitia was chosen as the landing site. No signals were received following the scheduled landing and after over a month of attempts at contact the mission was declared lost.