Space Traffic Management

Is the orbital environment a natural resource?

“Our orbital environment is a natural resource. Just as we need to protect our rivers, forests and oceans on Earth, we believe our orbits need to be monitored and maintained in order to be sustainable”. When a valuable, naturally-occurring resource, is difficult to substitute, its preservation is of prime importance.

The future space legal issues

Space law was created in the early 1960s as part of the United Nations, under the leadership of the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., then engaged in the race for the Moon. Today, the future space legal issues are the following: the exploitation of celestial bodies in outer space, the militarisation of outer space, and Space Traffic Management (STM).

The Commercial Resupply Services contracts

The U.S. Space Agency is looking to deepen its ties with commercial partners; the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) are a series of contracts awarded by NASA from 2008 to 2016 for delivery of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) on commercially operated spacecraft. Continuing its “commercial push”, NASA has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the next round of contracts under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

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.

Satellite constellations, a race is engaged

Covering 100% of the planet in Internet access from outer space, this is the project of several firms including SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb; the objective is to send in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) thousands of small satellites or satellite constellations. Not all competitors are at the same level of progress in this project. What are the space legal issues there?

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