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Frans G. von der Dunk

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Frans G. von der Dunk

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Frans G. von der Dunk

The scholarly contributions discussed in this timely research review address the special realm of legal rules applicable to space activities and their terrestrial applications. Outer space is generally considered a “global commons”, so this review focuses on the international regime which is also the foundation of an increasing number of national space laws. Topics covered concern the development, character and structure of international space law, its relationship with national space law, and military and commercial aspects of space activities, including launching and satellite applications. This fascinating study provides a comprehensive overview of the most important matters relating to international space law and will be a valuable research tool for academics and practitioners alike.
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Frans G. von der Dunk

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Andrea J. Harrington

Several US states have pioneered the adoption of space tourism industry-sponsored Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Acts for spaceflight participants in the past decade. These Acts specify the conditions under which a spaceflight entity will not be liable for a participant injury resulting from the risks of spaceflight activities. This trend in US space law is likely to have an impact on the emerging space tourism industry. The current chapter sets forth the context in which these Acts exist, by defining key terms and discussing the relevant distinctions between orbital and suborbital transportation. The chapter presents the federal setting in which the US Acts have come to exist, both in terms of liability with regard to commercial spaceflight and conflict with federal law generally. Finally, the language of the Acts is analysed, comparing key differences among them, and the potential applicability of such acts in non-US jurisdictions is considered. Keywords: space tourism; spaceflight liability and immunity; liability waiver; US state and federal law

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Lesley Jane Smith

This chapter focuses on the impact of sub-orbital flight on the existing air and space transport liability regimes. It discusses whether the future sub-orbital or orbital aircraft services, designed to deliver new forms of faster and further aerospace travel, can be pegged with existing aerospace liability regimes, or whether a new sui generis sector-specific approach to liability for this growth sector is needed. It reviews the regulatory options available at national and international level, identifies the importance of dialogue and consultation across the national licensing systems, and highlights some of the considerations involved in identifying the best possible approach to a liability regime for this sector. The technical considerations involved in certifying and licensing sub-orbital craft are not addressed. Keywords: sub-orbital flights; liability; licensing; aerospace transport

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Ward Munters

This chapter discusses the legal challenges under international law associated with the planned implementation of large constellations of small satellites by a number of commercial space operators, including OneWeb, SpaceX and Boeing. The international community is increasingly aware of the challenges that the paradigm shift posed by these constellations may hold with regard to, inter alia, effective regulation and sustainability. Using the real-world example of the forthcoming OneWeb constellation as well as scientific studies on its ostensible impact on the space debris environment in low Earth orbit, the chapter seeks to critically frame a number of concerns relating to large constellations vis-à-vis international space debris mitigation guidelines, liability and reparations, the prevention of transboundary harm and the precautionary principle. Keywords: space debris mitigation; small satellites; large satellite constellations; international environmental law; transboundary harm; precautionary principle

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Steven Wood

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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Jean-François Mayence

The United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is the cradle of the five treaties on outer space and the arena wherein several resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with space activities have been drafted. It has more than seventy Member States, with more or less involvement in the space business, and several intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations as observers. This chapter seeks to review how, in almost sixty years of existence, its work has involved the representatives of the private space sector and how such involvement could be achieved in the future. Keywords: UNCOPUOS; non-State actors; global space governance; global public goods

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Thierry Herman and Alexander Soucek

This chapter provides elements for consideration regarding the regulation of sub-orbital flights carrying humans, in particular those carried out for commercial purposes. The authors argue that the formulation or application of law concerning this issue should be anticipated by establishing clarity in respect of two questions. First, what needs to be achieved? Second, how can this best be achieved? To answer those questions, the chapter proposes elements for discussion rather than conclusive answers. The authors argue that clarity over the purposes for regulation plays as much a role as the experience gained from existing regimes and precision in definitions and semantics. They recall characteristics of the two systems that are considered apparent ‘candidate regimes’ for regulating commercial suborbital flights. Finally, they present two examples of domestic regulatory approaches that deal with different subjects and yet reveal certain commonalities. Keywords: commercial sub-orbital flight; air law; aircraft; space object; US federal law; French law