Space Law

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Space Arbitration: Could Investor-State Dispute Settlement Help Mitigate the Creation of Space Debris?

In recent years, activities in outer space have increased and diversified, thereby causing a multiplication of objects being launched into outer space. This has rendered outer space increasingly crowded and has led to a growing amount of space debris. While technological advances provide hope for cleaning up our orbits, such efforts still face regulatory and financing issues. One way to address the problem is to create a new treaty. However, this faces the obvious difficulties of international cooperation and the reluctance of States to enter into new binding obligations. These complications make it interesting to analyze whether there is an existing legal framework that could address this issue. This post analyzes the potential for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (“ISDS”) to mitigate the accumulation of space debris in outer space. The growth of the international space industry and the creation of space debris In the past, the use of space was scarce and activities in space were limited to governments. In recent years, however, space has witnessed an increasing diversification, commercialization and democratization:…

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Defining military activities in outer space: the launching of the Iranian satellite Nour 1

The Iranian satellite, Nour 1, operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was launched on 22 April 2020. The US Space Force (USSF) tracked Nour 1 and its final stage in orbit and added orbital tracking data and orbital parameters for two objects from the launch, the satellite and the rocket third stage, independently confirming the result…

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Lost in Space? Gaps in the International Space Object Registration Regime

Despite having been operational for over 15 years, the satellites NSS-6 and NSS-7 are missing from the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space ('International Register'). Just as we do not accept unregistered cars on our roads, we should not accept unregistered space objects in orbit. Registration ensures that the state responsible for…

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What on Earth is Happening to Space Law?

In 2015 and 2017, respectively, the United States of America and Luxembourg enacted bills granting property rights on resources collected in outer space. The potential beneficiaries of these laws are hi-tech companies investing in the exploration and exploitation of space resources. Even though robotized mining of precious metals, rare earths and other raw materials on the Moon or on…

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