A contemporary review of the air space and outer space regimes: The thin lines between law, policy, and emergent challenges

Jackson Nyamuya Maogoto, Steven Freeland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


[Extract] The skies have always held a fascination for humankind, fanning our centuries-long quest to conquer and master them. Air balloons were the first to take humans to the skies in the eighteenth century. The first aircraft to make routine controlled flights were nonrigid airships-blimps at the turn of the twentieth century. At the start of that century, the Wright brothers made history when they successfully launched the first sustained, controlled, and powered heavier-thanair manned flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. Within a decade, various aircraft were being actively deployed for an array of purposes, ranging from commercial to military, although military and strategic imperatives primarily led the impetus.

In the course of the first four decades of the twentieth century, humankind continued its quest to master the skies with a series of technological and engineering breakthroughs fasttracking these ambitions, while scientists increasingly cast their eyes even further afield to the heavens. By 1919 the first international treaty governing aviation—Paris Convention for the Regulation of Aerial Navigation—was opened for signature.1 The era of air travel had arrived, and with hindsight, only technological challenges stood in the way of developments allowing for travel to even more ambitious destinations. Indeed, in the same year, Robert H Goddard demonstrated in laboratory conditions that spaceflight was an engineering possibility and that rockets would work in the vacuum of space; although not all the scientists of the day believed they would. In 1944 twenty-five years after the first international treaty on Air Law and Goddard’s groundbreaking work, the first rocket, the German V-2 Rocket, reached space, although this was a suborbital flight.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Law: Contemporary Issues and Future Developments
EditorsSanford R. Silverburg
Place of PublicationOxon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429968266
ISBN (Print)9780813344713
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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