H. CON. RES. 287

January 31, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

United States Congressby P.J. Blount and the blog faculty
H. Con. Res. 287: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United States Explorer I satellite, the world’s first scientific spacecraft, and the birth of the United States space exploration program was introduced on January 29, 2008.

New Journal of Space Law Features Chinese, Japanese Space Laws; COTS; Wilson v. Imagesat International;Air and Space Law Interface

January 31, 2008 at 6:14 am | Posted in Space Law, Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment


Volume 33 Winter 2007 Number 2

Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz

Call for Papers

Jurisdiction in Outer Space: Challenges of Private Individuals in Space
P.J. Blount

Patent Rights Under Space Act Agreements and Procurement Contracts: A Comparison by the Examination of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)
Tiphany Baker Dickerson

Space Tourism Activities – Emerging Challenges to Air and Space Law?
Stephan Hobe, Gérardine Meishan Goh, and Julia Neumann

Suborbital Space Tourism Flights: An Overview of Some Regulatory Issues at the Interface of Air and Space Law
Melanie Walker

A Study on Aerospace Legislation of China
Yongliang Qi

Case Note
Corporate-Sovereign Symbiosis: Wilson v. Imagesat International, Shareholders’
Actions, and the Dualistic Nature of State-Owned Corporations
Jason A. Crook

National Space Legislation in Mainland China
Yun Zhao

Chinese Law: Registration, Launching, and Licensing Space Objects:
1) Order No. 6 of the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, 8 February 2001;
Annex: National Registration Form of Space Objects

2) Order No. 12 of the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense of the People’s Republic of China, 21 November 2002;
Annex: Application Form for Licensing the Project of Launching Civil Space Objects

Japanese Law: Geospatial Information Utilization Promotion Bill of May 30, 2007

Book Review
“Direito e Política na Era Espacial: Podemos ser mais justos no espaço de que na Terra?”/ “Law and Policy in the Space Age: Can we be more just [or equitable] in Space than on Earth?”
José Monserrat Filho
Reviewed by Sylvia Ospina

Space Law and Relevant Publications
P.J. Blount
Case Law
Law Review Articles

Colombia Ratifies Test Ban Treaty

January 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount and the blog faculty
Colombia has ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty reports that Colombia ratified the treaty on the January 29, 2008 (hat tip Exploring International Law).

The treaty itself seeks to ban all nuclear explosions. This treaty notes, in the preamble, “the aspirations expressed by the Parties to the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water to seek to achieve the discontinuance of all test explosions of nuclear weapons for all time . . .”

Rocket Plane Kistler’s Bid Protest Denied

January 29, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
According to the GAO website RocketPlane Kistler’s bid protest of NASA’s recompeting the left over funds from the termination of the funded COTS Space Act Agreement between RocketPlane Kistler and NASA has been denied. The action was taken on the case yesterday January 28, 2008. For more information on this protest see our earlier post. UPDATE: The decision is now available through Commercial Space Watch.

The Civil Aviation (Allocation of Scarce Capacity) Regulations 2007

January 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

United Kingdomby P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
The Civil Aviation (Allocation of Scarce Capacity) Regulations 2007 of the United Kingdom was laid before Parliament on 21 December 2007 (web version). It will come into force 31 January 2008. These regulations implement Article 5 of Regulation 847/2004 of the European Parliament and Council, and govern the allocation of air traffic rights amongst European Community members with a “non-discriminatory and transparent procedure” An Explanatory Memorandum is available.

H. Res. 943: Remembering the space shuttle Challenger disaster and honoring its crew members, who lost their lives on January 28, 1986

January 29, 2008 at 9:26 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

United States Congressby P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
Rep. Paul Hodes introduced H. Res. 943: Remembering the space shuttle Challenger disaster and honoring its crew members, who lost their lives on January 28, 1986. The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Science and Technology. The text of the resolution can be found on Thomas.

Cosmos 954: Relevant to the Deorbiting NRO Spysat

January 28, 2008 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Space Law, Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz and the space blog faculty

The Liability Convention contains two different legal standards: one if the damage occurs in space another if it occurs on Earth or to an aircraft in flight. Cosmos 954 showed that the application of the appropriate legal standard and proving what each standard requires is not clear-cut. Cosmos 954 was a U.S.S.R radar ocean reconnaissance satellite with an onboard nuclear reactor. Its reactor did not separate and stayed onboard until the satellite hit a section of the Northwest Territories of Canada. Depending on what happens with the current situation in which a spy satellite is deorbiting and returning to Earth, Cosmos 954 may become relevant.

In the case of Cosmos 954, the U.S.S.R. blamed a mid-space collision and said that the satellite had “ceased to exist” after reentry. Canada blamed a faulty motor and said it found charred pieces. The U.S.S.R was attempting to locate the causal event of the damage as having occurred in space while Canada was attempting to identify it as having taken place on Earth. This is because the location of the event determines whether negligence or strict (absolute) liability applies. If the former, evidence of fault is required and involves a higher legal standard Actual evidence is also more difficult to find and prove. If the latter, a lower legal standard is involved and no evidence of fault is required. Evidence may conceivably be more practically gathered. It is reasonable to expect similar positions being taken under similar circumstances.

It is also reasonable to expect, like Cosmos 954, whatever happens in the case of the deorbiting spysat, the case will never see the inside of a courtroom. Assuming IF the satellite, or parts of it, hit a territory and that the territory upon which the spysat lands belongs to is a signatory of the Liability Convention, both that signatory and the U.S. will want to settle through diplomatic negotiations: an option also provided for by the treaty regime. This allows the parties to control the future precedent-setting value of the case. In Cosmos 954, a Formal Protocol was reached in 1981 that contained no express acknowledgment of legal liability but also provided for $ 3 million payment — approximately half the amount of the original claim.

NRO Spy Satellite Falling Out of Orbit

January 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty
There are numerous reports that a broken U.S. satellite may be falling out of orbit and to the surface of the Earth in the coming weeks (see for example RedOrbit). According to Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, “appropriate government agencies” are monitoring the situation. He also noted that, “[n]umerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause,” but was mum on whether a missile might be used to destroy the satellite. Meanwhile, Russia has called for the U.S. to supply “objective and maximally open information” on the satellite to avoid a disaster (RedOrbit).

This situation is a good opportunity to have a look at the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (Liability Convention) to which the U.S. is a party. Under terms of the convention, damage done by a space object to the Earth’s surface or to an aircraft in flight carries “absolute liability” (Art. II). However, this does not apply if the damage is caused to “nationals of the launching state” (Art. VII). So if a U.S. citizen is harmed by the de-orbit of the satellite, that citizen cannot make a claim under the liability convention (but might be able to make a claim under other federal laws such as the Federal Tort Claims Act). If a foreign citizen is damaged, then a claim under the Liability Convention can be made. This claim must be made by the State of that person’s nationality, by the State wherein the damage occurred, or by the State in respect to damages to permanent citizens (Art. VIII). These claims are ranked by priority, thus if the State of a person’s nationality makes the claim then the State where damage occurred is precluded for making a claim on that person’s behalf. Claims shall be made through diplomatic channels (Art. IX), and if no resolution is met within a year then claims can be submitted to a Claims Commission at the request of either party (Art. XIV).

Also, if the damage caused “presents a large-scale danger to human life or seriously interferes with the living conditions of the population or the functioning of vital centres,” then the launching state shall examine giving assistance when requested by the damaged state (Art. XXI).

Hopefully, this satellite will de-orbit with a minimal effect on the Earth’s surface, but if it does not the Liability Convention will govern any damage that it does to non U.S. entities.

CURRENT EVENT: China, Russia to offer treaty to ban arms in space

January 28, 2008 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

From Reuters:

GENEVA (Reuters) – China and Russia will submit a joint proposal next month for an international treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space, a senior Russian arms negotiator said on Friday.

Valery Loshchinin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, said the draft treaty would be presented to the 65-member forum on February 12.

Read the rest of the story at Reuters.

CURRENT EVENT: Space Weapon Treaty Supported in Russian/American Poll: Keep Outer Space Free of Weapons

January 24, 2008 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount and the blog faculty
A new poll shows that most Americans and Russians support a treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. From Newswise:

Newswise – Most Americans and Russians agree that their governments should work together to prevent an arms race in space. Large majorities in both countries favor unilateral restraint and a treaty that would keep space free of weapons.

Treaties that would prohibit countries from attacking or interfering with each others’ satellites and from testing or deploying weapons designed to attack satellites are also supported by Russians and Americans.

These are among the key findings of a poll released today, carried out by the WorldPublicOpinion.org and developed in conjunction with the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM) in College Park, Maryland.

The study received development assistance from the Secure World Foundation; additional financial support was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Ploughshares Fund. Knowledge Networks in the United States and the Levada Center in Russia conducted the interviews.

Results of the poll were presented today at a workshop – The State of Space Security – being held at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Top experts in space policy, law and emerging technologies are taking part in the one-day workshop, geared to help hammer out steps in establishing a global consensus on security in outer space.

Global dependency on space systems

“This poll by World Public Opinion shows that the American public recognizes that keeping space free of weapons is in the best long term interest of the United States even if some portions of the U.S. military establishment do not,” explained Ray Williamson, Executive Director of the Secure World Foundation, based in Superior, Colorado. “The U.S. economy and citizens’ well being has become so dependent on the benefits provided by our civil space systems that we can ill afford to put those benefits at risk,” he said.

Williamson noted that other nations are fast becoming every bit as dependent on space systems to bolster economic growth and are concerned about possible efforts by the U.S. to place weapons into space.

Majorities in both the United States (78%) and Russia (67%) say that as long as no other country puts weapons into space, their own governments should also refrain from doing so.

Most Russians (72%) and Americans (80%) also favor a new treaty banning all weapons in space. Support for such a ban was strong among Americans even when they were presented counter arguments about the potential military advantages of deploying such systems.

The U.S. poll revealed strong bipartisan consensus on the issue. Majorities in both the Republican and Democratic parties believe the U.S. government should refrain unilaterally from deploying space weapons. There is also bipartisan backing for a treaty to ban these weapons, though support is higher among Democrats.

Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, noted that there was remarkable agreement within and between the two countries on the issue of space weapons.

“What is striking is the robust consensus — among Russians as well as Americans, and among Republicans as well as Democrats — that space should not be an arena for the major powers to compete for military advantage,” Kull said.

John Steinbruner, director of CISSM, added that “the observed consensus also reflects a robust conception of security interest.”

“The use of space for common protection is, in fact, far more important for all countries under the circumstances of globalization than the pursuit of national advantage in performing traditional military missions,” Steinbruner said.

U.S. presidential candidates

Asked how high a priority their governments should place on bilateral cooperation to prevent an arms race in space, large majorities of Americans (86%) and Russians (also 86%) agree that it should be an important priority. A majority of Russians (53%) consider this a top priority.

American respondents were asked how they would like presidential candidates to deal with U.S. national security and space weapons.

Sixty-seven percent overall said they would have more confidence in a presidential candidate “who favors a treaty banning weapons in space,” including 57 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats. Seventy-three percent would also have more confidence in a candidate who took the position that as long as no other country puts weapons in space, the United States should not do so (Republicans 63%, Democrats, 83%).

Space treaties

Americans and Russians agree that a treaty prohibiting countries from attacking or interfering with each others’ satellites is a good idea, even when given the argument that disabling satellites could be useful militarily. Seventy-eight percent of Americans and 65 percent of Russians say that such a treaty should be negotiated.

Similarly, both Americans (79%) and Russians (63%) favor a treaty that would prevent countries from testing or deploying weapons systems dedicated to attacking satellites, even when given the counterargument that arms control treaties are sometimes ineffective.

Furthermore, majorities of Americans (77%) and Russians (61%) favor a treaty prohibiting interference with satellites. Support for these treaties was bipartisan in the United States, though Democratic support was larger.

Americans and Russians also overwhelmingly reject the idea of preventively destroying another country’s missiles that could be used in an anti-satellite attack.

Williamson of the Secure World Foundation spotlighted one outcome from China’s anti-satellite (ASAT) test early last year.

“One of the unexpected side benefits of the recent Chinese ASAT test is that it showed the world that destruction of satellites will often make things much worse for the safety and long term sustainability of space systems. Our continued ability to reap the benefits of space systems will depend on keeping weapons from outer space. Instead of building new space weapons, the U.S. should assume the leadership in a move to keep weapons from outer space. As a start, it should especially focus on banning ASAT development and tests,” Williamson emphasized.

Poll Sampling Details

Details regarding the WorldPublicOpinion.org poll include the following:
The U.S. poll included a nationwide sample of 1,247 respondents interviewed September 14-23, 2007. Most questions were administered to a half sample, thus the margin of error is plus or minus 4.0 percent.

Knowledge Networks fielded the poll using its nationwide panel, which is randomly selected from the entire adult population and subsequently provided Internet access. For more information about this methodology, go to http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp

The Russian poll had a nationwide sample of 1,601 respondents taken September 14-24, 2007. Most questions were administered to a half sample, thus the margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent. The poll was fielded by the Levada Center using face-to-face interviews.

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