The United States of America

The solar storm of 1859

Also known as the Carrington Event, the solar storm of 1859 was a powerful geomagnetic storm. An incredible storm of charged particles sent by the Sun slammed into Earth’s atmosphere, overpowered it, and caused havoc on the ground. Telegraph wires, the high-tech stuff of the time, suddenly shorted out in the United States of America and Europe, igniting widespread fires. Colourful aurora, normally visible only in Polar Regions, were seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii.

The League of Nations

The League of Nations was an international organisation, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, created after the First World War to provide a forum for resolving international disputes. Founded on January 10, 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War, it was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.

NASA communicating to survive

NASA is now sixty years old, and more than ever, it is everywhere: on social networks, in the media… Impossible to escape. Its media omnipresence, its ability to communicate, are key elements of its strategy. And for a good reason: since its origins, it is an essential factor of its survival.

ESA, Europe and the USA

Recently, the European Commission (EC) published a communication “towards a Space Strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens”. In this document, the EC emphasises the political and societal role of Space for Europe. Article 189 of the Lisbon treaty confers on the Union a shared space competence. Referring to this new competence, the EC aims at coordinating EU Space programs to counteract a fragmentation of EU Space activities.

Where to learn Space Law?

Teaching is important both in spreading knowledge of space law and for its development. Unsurprisingly, given the number of states and enterprises now active in space, a goodly number of universities and other academic institutions round the world now offer lectures and occasionally courses in space law.

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.

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.

The Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency of the United States government, regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all fifty states of the United States of America, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

The Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a governmental body of the United States of America with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a United States regulatory regime (dating back to the mid-1970s) to restrict and control the export of defense and military related technologies to safeguard U.S. national security and further U.S. foreign policy objectives. Before 1992, satellite components were classified as munitions, and ITAR export compliance was controlled by the State Department.

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).

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?

X-Men and Space Law

X-Men: Dark Phoenix kicks off with the X-Men heading into outer space (and thus becoming astronauts, according to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty), responding to a distress signal from the Space Shuttle Endeavour to rescue the crew of the spacecraft/space object which has critically been damaged. As Space Law enthusiasts, the question we may ask ourselves is the following one: are there laws in outer space concerning astronauts? What are those? Were they respected by the X-Men?

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).

The Commercial Crew Development program

NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program is investing financial and technical resources to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation capabilities. The Program manages Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) partnership agreements with U.S. industry totalling eight hundred million American dollars for commercial cargo transportation demonstrations.

The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984

The Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 is a United States federal law authored to facilitate the private enterprise of the commercialisation of space and space technology. The Act also assigned the duties of overseeing and coordinating commercial launches, issuing of licenses and permits, and promotion of safety standards to the Secretary of Department of Transportation.

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 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program

The Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) was a NASA program, announced on January 18, 2006, to coordinate the delivery of crew and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) by private companies. NASA challenged the U.S. industry to establish capabilities and services that could open New Space markets and support the crew and cargo transportation needs of the International Space Station (ISS).

Morelos 1, the first Mexican satellite

On June 17, 1985, Mexico put its first artificial satellite, Morelos 1, into a geostationary orbit, and the country entered the satellite era. Its trip into outer space was truly an odyssey, with the launch taking place aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, from the Kennedy Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and just a few months later, Morelos 2 was sent up.