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As the First Country to Land on the Moon’s South Pole, Should India also be the First Space Power to Ratify the Moon Agreement?

Introduction 23 August 2023 will be etched in gold in not only India’s but humankind’s progress in outer space exploration.  India has become the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon's south pole and only the fourth country ever to land on the moon.  The other three countries are the U.S., Russia (including the former Soviet Union), and China. Since 1969 – when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon – until now no country has attempted to exploit the moon’s resources.  However, it would be far-fetched to assume that none have wanted to exploit the moon.  That may be because they were limited in their ability to do so by existing science and technology.    Although it is now one of the world’s major space powers, India does not through its foreign policy endorse commercialization of the moon.  That is perhaps why India signed the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Moon Agreement) forty years ago –…

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A future ‘EU Space Law’: A few Constitutional Considerations

A new and potentially extensive ‘EU Space Law’ is – according to the new EU Space Strategy on Defence and Security (the ‘Space Strategy’) released in March 2023 – currently under consideration by the European Commission and High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (‘High Representative’). The communication amounts to a…

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The EU’s (limited) push toward the strengthening of International Space Law

International Space Law has long suffered from a deficit in global regulatory action. Like many other areas of international law, international space law is behind with what is needed to solve current problems, including: low-earth orbit pollution (or even potential un-useability if orbital debris reaches a severity flashpoint), light pollution (from satellites), the…

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Splashing down the International Space Station in the Pacific Ocean: Safe Disposal or Trashing the Ocean Commons?

The International Space Station (ISS) is reaching its end of life and will need to be disposed of. NASA plans to do so by de-orbiting the ISS and sinking it into a particular area of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo (named after Captain Nemo, the famous character in the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues…

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To the Rescue of the Rescue Agreement

On 3 December 1968, and after half a decade of battling in negotiations, the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, entered into force. The Agreement, guided by humanitarian and scientific objectives, and which further developed article IV of the Outer Space Treaty, aimed to protect the new “envoys of mankind”, astronauts that were in distress at…

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