Whose mess is it anyway? Regulating the environmental consequences of commercial launch activities

Steven Freeland*, Donna Lawler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The existing body of international space law does not provide a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of the environment of space, nor does it specify rigorous environmental standards in relation to the conduct of space activities. Moreover, even the rather general obligations relating to environmental aspects of the exploration and use of outer space that are found in the United Nations Space Treaties are not particularly appropriate to, or directed towards launch activities. Although the Outer Space Treaty provides for 'international law ' to apply to 'activities in the exploration and use of outer space ', it is not entirely clear how readily these principles can be applied to the unique characteristics of space activities. To further complicate matters, many launches are now undertaken by non-governmental commercial entities, which are not per se bound by the United Nations Space Treaties, but rather are subject to local laws and the provisions negotiated in commercial launch service contracts. This paper will consider both the public international law and private international law elements that may be relevant to the environmental considerations associated with launching, and will offer some suggestions as to how these should be strengthened, in terms of both treaty and national laws and also at the commercial contract level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011(IAC 2011)
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a meeting held 3-7 October 2011, Cape Town, South Africa
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Pages10317-10325
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781618398055
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 3 Oct 20117 Oct 2011

Publication series

Name62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011
Volume12

Conference

Conference62nd International Astronautical Congress 2011, IAC 2011
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Period3/10/117/10/11

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