Legal and Policy Aspects
Edited by Jan Wouters, Philip De Man and Rik Hansen
Chapter 3: The scope of international obligations to extend rescue assistance to ‘astronauts’ and ‘personnel’ under the Outer Space Treaty and the Return and Rescue Agreement
This chapter discusses the impact of manned commercial space activities on the legal definition of space tourists. Specifically, the chapter aims to answer the question whether space tourists are eligible to receive rescue assistance in outer space under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1968 Astronaut Return and Rescue Agreement. Answering this question depends, in turn, upon the resolution of several other challenging questions, including whether space tourists qualify as ‘astronauts’ or ‘personnel of a spacecraft’, as well as determination of the precise criteria required by the OST and RRA rescue provisions. The author raises and discusses a number of arguments to support the position that these definitions should be interpreted as inclusive of space tourists, taking into account the meaning of the verb ‘have alighted’ in the relevant provisions, and the underlying humanitarian objectives and purposes of the RRA to provide for search and rescue for all spacecraft personnel in danger. Keywords: space tourist; astronaut; personnel of a spacecraft; rescue and return; definitions
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