The Registration Convention (1976)

The Universe, a zone of lawlessness

This spacecraft, the Tesla Roadster, was not going to measure anything, observe anything. It was a grand publicity stunt, at the cost of “intentional pollution” of outer space. The radio installed on board the imitation vehicle, and supposed to play the song Life on Mars? by David Bowie was too much detail: there is not even a sound in space!

Swarm Technologies and space law

Swarm Technologies, the Silicon Valley creator of “SpaceBee” picosatellites, is an American start-up based in California. On January 12, 2018, four satellites of the American start-up were illegally put into orbit by Antrix Corporation Limited; what are the space legal issues?

Public International Space Law

Based on the mentioned basic space law principles, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty provided a legal framework whose enlargement was made possible by subsequent treaty texts. All these provisions form the corpus juris spatialis governing space activities.

The legal status of space debris

Considering the growing problem of space debris, sometimes referred to as space waste or space garbage, let’s study the legal status of space debris, and ask ourselves, for this new space law article on Space Legal Issues, the following question: are space debris space objects?

In-orbit transfer of ownership

For this new Space Law article on Space Legal Issues, let’s focus on the mechanism and consequences of, concerning space objects (especially satellites), the in-orbit transfer of ownership. Let’s focus on Satellite Ownership Transfers and the Liability of the Launching States. A space object may be sold/bought while in outer space. There is no objection by principle to a transfer of registration.

Jurisdiction over a multi-component space object

In our research on Space Law and on the notion of Space object, let’s have a look at how jurisdiction over a multi-component space object is managed. In this case, by the terms “multi-component space object”, we will look at a space object composed of many space objects, each under the jurisdiction and control of a different state. The best example is the International Space Station (ISS).

The 1921 Flag Right Declaration

The Declaration recognising the Right to a Flag of States having no Sea-coast is a 1921 multilateral treaty which legally recognised that a landlocked state (a sovereign state entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas) could be a maritime flag state; that is, that a landlocked state could register ships and sail them on the sea under its own flag.

Flag state and Space Law

With space objects, like vessels, a central register of objects launched into outer space was established and is maintained by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The mandatory system of registering objects launched into outer space (for identification), like that of registering ships, contributes to the development of International Space Law governing the exploration and use of outer space. Let’s have a look at the similarities between the notion of flag state and Space Law.

Jurisdiction and control by an intergovernmental organisation

For this new Space Law article on Space Legal Issues, let’s focus on the exercise of jurisdiction and control over a space object by an international intergovernmental organisation. Let’s study the case of the ISS module Columbus. Which entity would be internationally liable? Which entity has jurisdiction and control over the space object?

The 1976 Registration Convention

The 1976 Registration Convention, or Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, which obligates Parties to register launches of all objects launched into Earth orbit or into outer space with an appropriate national space agency, was considered and negotiated by the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee from 1962 to 1975.

The legal status of Stratolaunch and the future of orbital launch systems

Stratolaunch has recently taken flight for the first time, on April 13, 2019. It must theoretically be used to carry and drop at a 10-kilometre altitude a small rocket that will then light its engine, and will propel itself to outer space to place satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). What is the legal status of Stratolaunch and the future of orbital launch systems?

The legal status of biosatellites and their payloads

Biosatellites are a special type of satellites taking living organisms (plants, animals, organisms…) into outer space for the study of their behaviour. Are those biosatellites spacecraft or satellites? Are they space objects? Is the biological matter considered a payload of the space object and therefore a space object itself? Are those living beings envoys of mankind?

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?

Znamya the Space Mirror

Znamya was a series of Russian experiments developed in the 1990s to study the possibility of sending back radiation from the Sun to illuminate, for example, cities in the Russian Arctic plunged into darkness for much of the year. Znamya objects are space objects; it would be interesting to focus on environmental legal issues concerning that type of project.

Valentina Tereshkova becomes the First Woman in Space

Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman to have flown in outer space on June 16, 1963. Before her recruitment as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur skydiver. She has been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963.

Stratobus or the legal status of High Altitude Platform Stations

Stratobus is an autonomous stratospheric platform concept halfway between the satellite and the drone. Complementing the global satellite coverage, what is the legal status of those High Altitude Platform Stations or geostationary aircraft?

The 1963 Declaration of Legal Principles

The Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, RES 1962 (XVIII), General Assembly eighteenth session, December 13, 1963, is the second important text concerning Space Law.

SpaceX debris on the French coast

In April 2018, strollers discovered on the beach of the Molène Archipelago (in Finistère, a department of France) what looks like the nose cone (the forwardmost section of a rocket, guided missile or aircraft) of a Dragon capsule produced by the SpaceX company.