Although we have long moved on from a spacefaring environment dominated by the actions of two State powers, modern space law is still centred on the notion of ‘launching States’, including as the basic concept for applying the Liability Convention. This chapter asks whether the legal framework established at the time of adoption of the Liability Convention is still efficient for the regulation of commercial space ventures, in particular by questioning the continuing relevance and definition of the concept of ‘launching State’. This question will be considered in four steps, discussing in turn (1) the importance of the notion of launching States; (2) the interest of holding States liable for damage caused by a space object; (3) the implications of private entities getting involved in this framework; and (4) the entity carrying the risk created by private space activities. Keywords: launching State; liability; private actors
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