For much of the lay public, and perhaps even for many in the legal profession, when the question of “space law” arises, thoughts turn to “special treaties” and “international conventions,” and to noble acts of diplomacy involving concepts like “adventurous and peaceful” activities in space, magnanimously conducted for the “benefit of all mankind.” The documents containing these pronouncements have been prepared by people from numerous professions and disciplines, including politicians, legislators, and their staffs and analysts, with the support of diplomats, scientists, engineers, budget analysts, and the like. Once drafted, they are then studied by lawyers who attempt to determine where the proposed activities of their clients may fit with the often amorphous, wishful, and imprecise provisions, phrases, terms, and words that appear in those very same documents. This shows us that law is a process intended to provide clarity and direction, but which instead too often results in ambiguity and uncertainty. Such is the nature of “space law” as it was written in 1967, and as it is practiced today. How we may overcome these shortcomings in the current manifestations of space law, and what laws we will need to see and, indeed, enable the opening up of space for full commercialization is the focus of this paper.
Read more: PUBLIC SPACE LAW Robinson
This paper was first published as part of International Cooperation for the Development of Space, published by the Aerospace Technology Working Group (ATWG) and included on this site through the courtesy of ATWG, ISU and the individual authors.
Other extracts from this publication can be found here.