The Moon Agreement (1979)

The Lawfulness of Space Mining Activities

For this new Space Law article on Space Legal Issues, we have decided to publish The Lawfulness of Space Mining Activities, a space law Master’s Thesis written by Louis de Gouyon Matignon. Available by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this article, we hope that this work will help you understand space mining, celestial bodies, the lawfulness of space mining activities, asteroids, asteroid mining…

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.

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 Homestead Act of 1862

In our research on Space Law and Public International Law, concerning the non-appropriation principle and the hot topic of mining legal resources, such as asteroids or the Moon, let’s look at the homestead principle, by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation, and the Homestead Act of 1862.

From Antarctic tourism to Moon tourism

Humanity has always wanted to conquer more and more territory. Deserts, islands, tropical forests any area that seemed liveable, have been occupied by men. On Earth, Antarctica was one of the last places that remained untouched, but step-by-step, men are colonising this land of ice. The Moon is another current challenge for the more adventurous men. Antarctica and the Moon have a lot more in common.

Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space

On June 10, 2014, Russia introduced to the Conference on Disarmament an updated draft of its working paper with China, “Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects”.

The Wow! signal and extraterrestrial life

The Wow! signal, the strongest candidate for an alien radio transmission ever detected, was a strong radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States of America, then used to support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

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?

Meteorites and their legal status

Let’s study for this article meteorites and their legal status. The question we are asking ourselves is the following: who do meteorites belong to? “The heavens, the stars, are goods so common to the whole society of men, that no one can master them, nor deprive others of them”, Jean Domat, Lois civiles dans leur ordre naturel (1689).

The United States Space Force

The United States Space Force has been much discussed about for the past year. What is a “Space Force”? What do international treaties say about it? Did Donald Trump’s announcement in 2018 affect spatiopolitics? What are the potential dangers?

The Moon village

The main steps of the Moon village might be the following: first a Robotic Lunar Village (2022), then humans in lunar orbit (2024), and finally, humans permanently (2030). Moon cities might then appear and why not, maybe a Republic of the Moon by the end of the twenty-first century?

The definition of Space Law

Space Law, the laws applying to human activities in outer space, the law on space activities… What are we talking about? What is the definition of Space Law? Let’s look at some definitions and let’s make remarks on this multidisciplinary activity.

The res communis concept in Space Law

Since the inception of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, international law regarding the use of outer space by States and individuals has been dominated by the res communis doctrine, the concept that outer space belongs to mankind and not to one individual or country; the non-appropriation principle prevails and reference to the State sovereignty is absent.

Beresheet on the way to the Moon

Beresheet, an Israeli probe carried by a Falcon 9 rocket of the private company SpaceX, left Earth Thursday night at 20:45 local time towards the Moon. Israel will be the fourth country to join the Moon after the United States of America, Russia and China.

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.

Starfish Prime or the legality of high-altitude nuclear explosions

High-altitude nuclear explosions are the result of nuclear weapons testing. Starfish Prime was a 1962 high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States of America. Are those high-altitude nuclear explosions still legal?

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 legal status of astronauts

An astronaut could be described as a person who travels beyond Earth’s atmosphere, or a trainee for spaceflight. Let’s summarize the international legal regime applicable to persons transported in outer space.

The legal status of Antarctica

There are many legal similarities between the status of Antarctica and that of the Moon. Antarctica is a de facto condominium, like the ISS, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. For this article, let’s focus on a general presentation of Antarctica’s legal status.