CURRENT EVENT: EU agrees to fully fund Galileo satellite project; Tries to mollify Spain

November 30, 2007 at 9:12 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

The Associated Press
November 30, 2007

BRUSSELS, Belgium: EU governments agreed Friday to jointly complete the
development of the much-delayed Galileo satellite navigation project that
will rival the American GPS system, overruling a Spanish demand for a
bigger stake in the venture.

While Spain’s objection was overruled it cast a pall over the decision to
launch a flagship €3.4 billion (US$5 billion) EU undertaking forcing
negotiations among EU transport ministers to continue in search of
unanimity, officials said.

Source: International Herald Tribune

Ukraine Launches Space Surveilance System

November 29, 2007 at 11:56 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

Ukraine Flagby P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
Ukraine is launching a system to be fully operational sometime in December that will track satellites and debris in orbit around the Earth. Stanislav Konyukhov, Ukraine’s Pivdenne design bureau head, said the system will also “make it possible to prevent observation of parts of Ukraine’s territory from space, as well as actions against them.”

An interview with Konyukhov revealed that there were security reasons, based on a lack of a formal mechanism to enforce international space law, for Ukraine in launching such a system:

But let me note that international law defines space within the solar system as non-state territory. That envisions that all states can freely explore and use space. A wonderful rule! But it is not backed up by a real mechanism and so it is only a declaration. Imagine someone wanting to use space as a beachhead to threaten war. Naturally, the world community will be the last to learn about this. And so we need a certain technical potential for surveying and stopping such actions.

He also stated that the Ukraine is “really for cooperation, not confrontation.”

Source: Red Orbit.

Res Communis Welcomes its First Guest Blogger

November 29, 2007 at 11:20 am | Posted in Etc. | Leave a comment

Res Communis is proud to announce its first guest blogger, Hiroshi Kiyohara.

Hiroshi (B.A., Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; J.D., The Institute of Legal Research and Training, Tokyo; LL.M., Golden Gate University Law School) is an attorney admitted in both the United States (New York and California) and Japan. He served as an assistant judge for Tokyo District Court, and currently work as the chief attorney for Musashi International Law Office in Tokyo. He will be posting over the next couple of weeks on Res Communis about Current Japanese space law.

INTERVIEW: Peggy Finarelli

November 29, 2007 at 11:03 am | Posted in Interview | Leave a comment

Peggy FinarelliPeggy Finarelli’s career with NASA and other U.S. Government agencies focused on strategy development and negotiations in the fields of domestic space policy and international relations in science and technology. At NASA (1981-2000), she rose to the position of Associate Administrator for Policy Coordination and International Relations. She was responsible for developing the international Partnerships in the International Space Station (ISS) program, and led the U.S. team conducting the international negotiations that resulted in the agreements governing NASA’s cooperation with Europe, Japan, and Canada. These agreements provide the legal, policy and programmatic foundation for the multi-billion dollar ISS. As the International Space University’s Vice President for North American Operations (2000-2006), she was responsible for strategic Partnerships and business development in the United States for the Strasbourg, France-based international university. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS and Distinction in Chemistry. She also has a Master of Science degree in Physical Chemistry from Drexel University, Philadelphia.

Ms. Finarelli received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal in 1985, the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award in 1988, NASA’s Group Achievement Award in 1989 and 1994, the Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award in 1989, and NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1991. She was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics in 2003. In 2004, she was awarded the International Cooperation Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was elected as a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society. In 2005, she was elected an Associate Fellow of the AIAA.

Peggy Finarelli Interview 11-14-2007

Res Communis: Can you tell us about your participation in the International Space Station (ISS) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations?

Finarelli: I led the MOU negotiations for a period of about five years in the mid 1980s. We worked simultaneously at the space agency level on three bilateral MOUs – one with Europe, one with Japan and one with Canada. The negotiations were divided into two parts: the first agreement covered the design of the Station, and then the second agreement addressed the development, operations and utilization phases. The design phase agreement had the additional major purpose of laying the groundwork for negotiations for the follow-on agreement. It took about a year to do the first agreement. Then the second agreement took another couple of years. I led the NASA team that whole time, bringing in Europe, Japan, and Canada. The negotiations that brought the Russians into the ISS program took place in the early 1990s. That negotiation was lead by Lynn Cline of NASA.

It was decided to proceed by negotiating the agreements in a step-by-step fashion. That was because getting all of the Partners to agree to the whole deal would have been almost impossible while they were still organizing their own national political situations regarding ISS participation. Getting to the agreement on design was much easier. None of the really tough problems had to be cracked; such as, how the ISS was going to be managed; what the management decision mechanisms were going to be; what the cost-sharing arrangements were going to be; how export controls were going to be handled. Export control was an issue even back in the 1980s. How to handle military use of the station in the context of all partners’ commitment to “peaceful purposes” was also an issue. All of those issues were challenging ones that had to be dealt with in detail in the final agreement but in the initial agreement, prior to addressing these issues, it was important for each Partner to recognize that we really wanted to try to make this work. So the negotiations were broken into parts.

Res Communis: Tell us about your participation in the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) negotiations.

The IGA and MOU negotiations were separate, although closely coordinated. The IGA contained those provisions that needed to be made at the governmental level and that negotiation was led by the State Department with, obviously, strong support from NASA.

Res Communis: Was there any discussion about the existing treaty regime and how the IGA would relate to it, if at all?

Finarelli: There wasn’t, really, in the first agreement as I recall. Where that became interesting was in the second agreement. The second agreement addressed “peaceful purposes” and military use issues. That obviously related to treaty commitments on that subject and of course in the mid 1980s, there were vastly different interpretations on the part of all of the Partners as to the definitions of those terms.

The MOUs contained all the details of the more operational commitments that were agreed to: who was going to build what; management; resource allocation; cost-sharing; etc. The MOUs were bilateral agreements at the agency level between NASA and, respectively, the European Space Agency, the precursor to the Canadian Space Agency and, in effect, the precursor to JAXA (although the formal signatory for Japan was at the Government level.) The whole idea of the MOUs was to deal with the operational Partners. Then the IGA addressed those legal and political issues where commitments needed to be undertaken by Governments, not simply the agencies.

Res Communis: What was the most challenging part about negotiating the agreements?

Finarelli: There were a lot of challenges. One of the most challenging parts was putting together an agreement that would work between NASA and the other space agencies. We were dealing with engineers and operations guys. The Partners started talking to one another in earnest about Station in 1981. NASA’s culture has evolved quite a bit in the past twenty to twenty-five years regarding international partnerships. Back then we were dealing with a lot of folks in the centers, in particular, who hadn’t had experience working with international partners. There was a lot of skepticism about whether or not other countries could do the job and could be relied upon over the long term to do it. There were also concerns about how could we work with them. Negotiating all the necessary provisions into the agreement was tough because NASA was dealing with its own culture just as the other Partners were dealing with their cultures.

The management structures in the MOUs reveal all kinds of information about these challenges. First of all, there was the environment I was talking about at NASA. Then, it is important to remember what the ISS represented in the US. This was the height of the Cold War, and the ISS was a Reagan Administration Cold War initiative. It was a U.S. leadership initiative. For political reasons, there could not be a decision-making mechanism that was one-nation, one-vote. The U.S. had to be able to maintain control. “Control” is an ugly word, but that is what we were dealing with. The U.S. was also putting massive amounts of money into the ISS, building the infrastructure. Management decision making was a really tough issue because all of the Partners were, reasonably, looking at it from their own perspectives. They were dealing with their own accountability to legislative, budgeting, and political authorities. Relative to their own national budgets, the Partners were putting in phenomenal amounts of money. Notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. was putting in more money than they were, they still had to have adequate control over what was going on. A consensus management mechanism was adopted. But it provided an important safety valve that when consensus could not be reached, the U. S. would take the decision. I still believe that a major reason this approach worked is because the negotiations took such a long period of time – at the program level, we were working together long enough to realize that it would work!

The dynamics of a consensus mechanism in an operational environment is quite interesting. The folks at the working level really don’t want to be bucking their problems up and having higher levels making decisions for them. So the imperative of finding consensus is very, very strong at the working level. And, as the working level develops into a team, everyone starts looking at how is this thing going to work, rather than who is in control.

Cost sharing was a tough issue because it was wide open and no one had any experience. No one knew what the bottom line operating cost was going to turn out to be, so as the various Partners were signing on to carry X percent of the burden, no one knew what 100% of the burden was going to be. This was a difficult sell for us as well as all our partners.

Res Communis: What role, if any, did individual relationships play? Certainly there were times when negotiations seemed insurmountable and you spoke to “Mary” just as Peggy. What role did that play?

Finarelli: Obviously, these are trust relationships, so I cannot reveal who they are. I had them with all the Partners. Through them, I was able to figure out what were the real issues and what were the real limits (just as they were figuring out these things through their relationships with me). I really believe that effective negotiating can’t happen without these kinds of behind-the-scenes relationships.

Res Communis: Where did policy meet law? Please address the interface between policy and law in the IGA.

Finarelli: NASA has a variety of international agreement mechanisms and some of them are not intended to be formally governed by international law. At the time of the Space Station negotiations, agreements not intended to be covered by international law were written as letter agreements. An MOU was the mechanism used for large projects, intended to be covered by international law. These agreements were closely coordinated with State Department through the OMB Circular-175 process. Both NASA and State lawyers were involved in all the steps all the way. So policy and law were always there, and the issue of where policy met law came up frequently. I want to say this carefully. Everybody is interested in policy. However, when lawyers speak, people sometimes believe that everything that a lawyer says is law. Law trumps. But a lawyer making a policy statement is on equal ground with anyone making a policy statement. As you are developing your negotiating positions, differentiating between when your lawyer is speaking the law versus when that lawyer is taking a policy position is an extremely important thing to which the head of a delegation must be sensitive.

Res Communis: You have degrees in chemistry and have a policy career. Do you want to say how they related to each other?

Finarelli: My policy and international relations career has always focused on science and technology, including arms control issues as well as cooperation. Having the technical degrees enables me to see and understand the science and engineering of the projects on which I am working. I can’t drill down to the level that the scientists and engineers do, but I can grasp the important elements of what they are talking about and what they need in an agreement. A technical degree is also a “credential.” Scientists and engineers are rightly proud of their capabilities, which are quite different from the expertise of most policy people. So if you have a scientific or engineering background, it makes it a little easier for them to understand that you are on their team.

Res Communis: Switching to the current day, what would you say are some of the most important issues in space law and policy?

Finarelli: I think there are major, major problems. I thought export control was difficult in the 1980s. But it was, in retrospect, a kinder and gentler time. Now you’ve got the current International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) provisions covering the whole space area. This makes it so difficult for people to talk to one another, to exchange the information necessary to conduct an international project.

I have been involved in an ITAR study being done by the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Studies Board. International participants at the workshop offered their opinion that the ISS couldn’t be done today in the current environment. They predicted that space exploration isn’t going to be able to work as an international undertaking unless there is some relief. The culture has changed and everybody knows that working together makes even more sense now than it ever did because of limited national resources coupled with global interest and capabilities. But it has become harder and harder to do this. And this is not just a problem for space agency cooperation. When you talk to the commercial people and look at what has happened to the US satellite industry—it’s a disaster.

Nonetheless I am still so excited! Right now the European module Columbus is getting ready to launch to the ISS; the Canadian remote handling hardware has been operating for years; and the Japanese module is going to be launched early next year. Columbus is just one of the many things coming together after all these years. We all had idealism and optimism that it could work. Seeing it come together is phenomenal!

Res Communis: ISS critics say that the space station is not science; it’s a waste of money; took too long; is not really a success; and after all these years is still not completely assembled. What, if anything, would you say?

Finarelli: I would say, I don’t agree. Everybody who works in space has their own sense of what the priorities should be in space. People with astronomy careers think that expenditures on robotic science are the most important thing. People who have worked in Earth sciences think that research related to global climate change is the highest priority. There are still others who think that human space activities are extremely important. This is never going to be resolved because there is no absolute answer. I think that considering all of the nations that have participated in the ISS—Europe, Japan, Canada, Russia, and others—proves that we can all work together. This was an important statement to make back in the Cold War; it remains an important statement in the post Cold War era. The evolution of the Station to bring on the Russians was an extremely important accomplishment.

As for determining whether or not good science has been done on the Station, this does not happen over night. Scientists are collecting data; they and others not even involved in designing the initial experiments are analyzing data and will do so for years to come. Who knows what is going to come out of that? The fact that a Nobel Prize has not yet been won is not a criterion for judging whether or not good science has been done on the station. Nobels take time too.

Res Communis: We will conclude on that note unless there is anything you would like to add. It has been a pleasure, Peggy.

Finarelli: It has been a pleasure. Thank you.

The Arctic and the Moon

November 29, 2007 at 9:33 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
Check out this article on how claims of sovereignty in the Arctic could be relevant to future claims of sovereignty on the Moon. It features Res Communis’ very own Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz.

Russia wants New Treaty to Replace START

November 28, 2007 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

Russian Federation Flagby P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
It is being reported that Russia is seeking a new treaty to limit the creation of nuclear weapons to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which expires in 2009 (it was signed in 1991) (see also Kommersant and Yahoo News). The United States has proposed an informal, nonbindning agreement which will do away with the strict verification requirements of START.

START, because it deals with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), has a few space law related provisions, including limitations on ICBMs used for space launches and the number of facilities used for these sorts of launches (see Art. IV(4)). The treaty also requires that
“[e]ach Party undertakes not to use ICBMs or SLBMs for delivering objects into the upper atmosphere or space for purposes inconsistent with existing international obligations undertaken by the Parties.” (Art. V(15)).

Finally, START can be an issue for commercial space as well. If an entity is using ICBMS then compliance with START will be needed before a launch license will be issued.


November 27, 2007 at 11:11 am | Posted in Remote Sensing Law Current Events | Leave a comment

Brazil and Argentina have agreed in principle to collaborate on the construction and launch of a hyperspectral Earth observation satellite for environmental monitoring and oceanography, the Brazilian space agency, INPE, announced Nov. 21.

The announcement followed a meeting of the two nations’ heads of state Nov. 20 in Brasilia. It said the satellite would carry a payload of about 800 kilograms, with about 700 watts of power. The sensor will include between 15 and 25 bands in the visible and infrared spectrum. Final technical specifications are to be decided early in 2008.

INPE said the joint work would further the two nations’ goal of becoming more independent in space-based sensors and less reliant on foreign suppliers whose products are often subject to export restrictions. INPE said the two nations would make the satellite the first in a series.

Brazil also has partnered with the Chinese government to produce a series of Earth observation satellites, called CBERS.

SOURCE: Space News

CURRENT EVENT: Galileo ‘compromise’ is emerging

November 27, 2007 at 11:01 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

The European Commission has put forward a new tendering process for the stalled Galileo satellite-navigation project.
No one company will be allowed to win more than two of the six segments of work offered to build the system.

The commission hopes the arrangement will pacify countries such as Germany which wants assurances about the distribution of industrial contracts.

Germany has been holding out against a refinancing of Galileo, which is likely to cost close to 4bn euros (£3bn).

Galileo’s planned network of 30 satellites will beam radio signals to receiving devices on the ground, helping users pinpoint their locations and know the precise time. The European system’s technologies promise greater accuracy and reliability than is afforded by the current American network (GPS) alone.

But Galileo has been beset with industrial and political squabbling across EU member states, and its timeline has repeatedly slipped as a result. A private consortium charged with building two-thirds of the network collapsed earlier this year, and now the commission is trying to rescue Galileo using public funds.

However, its suggestion of using unused agricultural and administrative funds from within the EU’s budget has been opposed by a number of countries – notably Germany.

Friday’s new proposal aims to ensure fair competition in the bidding for new contracts, and the German transport Ministry welcomed it as an acceptable compromise.

A large order for spacecraft must be placed very soon with contractors if Galileo is to keep to its present 2011-12 target for full operational deployment.

A final decision on funding could come from the EU leaders at a mid-December summit in Brussels.

“If we don’t have a clear agreement before the end of the year, then this would mean that we will have to put an end to our efforts because this would be clearly too late,” a spokesman for EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

Source: BBC

CURRENT EVENT: DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 Reaches Full Operational Capability with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

November 27, 2007 at 10:53 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

(DigitalGlobe Press Release) – Industry Leading Provider of High-Resolution Satellite Imagery Begins Supplying Imagery to the NGA; General Availability of WorldView-1 Imagery Set for January 3

Longmont, Colo. – DigitalGlobe, provider of the world’s highest-resolution commercial satellite imagery and geospatial information products, today announced that WorldView-1 has completed its commissioning, meets all of its requirements, and is delivering imagery to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as part of the NextView program. Full Operating Capability (FOC) with NGA began on November 17th. Following a controlled roll-out with NGA, DigitalGlobe will begin taking orders for WorldView-1 imagery from its global resellers, partners and customers on January 3, 2008. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on September 18, and delivered its first sample set of high-resolution images on October 15.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have started delivering WorldView-1 imagery to NGA and we are excited for the general availability of WorldView-1 imagery” said Jill Smith, chief executive officer of DigitalGlobe. “This is truly a fabulous milestone for DigitalGlobe, we are proud to be serving the NextView contract and excited to be operating a new imaging satellite that addresses the worldwide demand for map accurate satellite imaging capacity.”

WorldView-1 is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) NextView program, and was partially financed through an agreement with the NGA. The majority of the imagery captured by WorldView-1 for the NGA will also be available for distribution through DigitalGlobe’s ImageLibrary. Additionally, WorldView-1 frees capacity on DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird satellite to meet the growing commercial demand for multi-spectral geospatial imagery.

WorldView-1 is the first of two new next-generation satellites DigitalGlobe plans to launch in the near term. In late 2008, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. and ITT Corporation will complete WorldView-2, bringing the total number of satellites DigitalGlobe has in orbit to three and enabling the company to offer a constellation of spacecraft that will provide the highest commercial collection capacity, with more than 1 million square kilometers per day of high-resolution Earth imagery. Additionally, WorldView-2 will provide eight bands of multi-spectral for life-like true color imagery and greater spectral applications in the mapping and monitoring markets.

About DigitalGlobe
Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe ( is the clear leader in the global commercial Earth imagery and geospatial information market as well as the only company operating a constellation of sub-meter commercial imaging satellites. The company’s technical superiority and innovation, unparalleled commitment to customer service, extensive business partner network and open systems philosophy make DigitalGlobe the preferred supplier of imagery products to government and commercial markets. DigitalGlobe is the only geospatial content provider to take an end-to-end approach to geospatial imagery, from acquiring proprietary high-resolution images through a leading-edge satellite and aerial network, to integrating and distributing that data through GlobeXplorer, a proprietary web-based search and retrieval system that makes it easy to find, purchase and download global imagery. DigitalGlobe currently operates the world’s highest-resolution commercial satellite constellation with QuickBird and the first of two next-generation satellites, WorldView-1. The company plans to complete construction of its second next-generation satellite, WorldView-2 in late 2008. The company’s updated and growing ImageLibrary contains more than three hundred million square kilometers of satellite and aerial imagery suited to countless applications for people who map, view, navigate and study the earth.

Source: DigitalGlobe

LIBRARY: A Round Up of Recent Publishing

November 27, 2007 at 10:12 am | Posted in Library | Leave a comment

Law Journals:
G.S. Sachdeva, Challenges in Air Law, Indian Journal of International Law (Vol. 47, no. 2, 2007)

Congressional Reports:
2007 Report to Congress of the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission

PRC Premier Wen Jiabao’s Speech at the Unveiling of Lunar Probe Photo

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