A Round Trip to the Stars? Considerations for the Regulation of Space Tourism

Anne Sophie Martin, Steven R. Freeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The prospects for space tourism activities were first mooted in the early 1980s with the launch of the Space Shuttle, which opened a new era of space flight. In the new millennium, space tourism
continued its rise from possibility to reality with momentum towards a future dynamic commercial market sector propelled in 2021 with the launch of diverse missions by Virgin Galactic, Blue
Origin and SpaceX. These three pioneering companies are continually developing and refining technology to potentially give many tourists their moment in space. The private sector is largely
contributing to the development of the relevant space science, funded by private and public investments for space exploration missions. These developments raise complex and novel legal
and regulatory issues that are not directly addressed in the five United Nations Space Treaties, even as space tourism are to be considered a lawful use of space. In this article we explore several
significant legal issues relevant for space tourism activities including the delimitation of outer space, requirements for authorization, questions of liability, the status of ‘space flight participants’, the duty to rescue tourists and the protection of the space environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-284
Number of pages24
JournalAir and Space Law
Volume47
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022

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