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Space Policy & Law [clear filter]
Thursday, October 10

14:15 EDT

Disrupting Space Governance: Regulation in an Era of Technological and Commercial (R)evolutions
The talk will present the current structure of space governance and the basics of space law, as well as the necessary transformation thereof to meet the challenges of the technological and commercial (r)evolutions that disrupt the old order in favor of opening new horizons. The talk will demonstrate that after an initial period of successful development of space governance featuring institutions building and the adoption of space law treaties, from the early days in the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, space governance, as developed by those institutions, has largely stagnated. This long stagnation is a result of the decline in the rule-making capacity of the main institutions, comparable with the general trend in global affairs. The consequence is that even the most important issues, e.g. space debris, militarization, space traffic control and utilization of space resources, are left insufficiently addressed.

The new technological and commercial developments, notably those of the private sector that is already taking the lead on space exploration, are pushing the boundaries of space law and putting a strain on the outed system of space governance. Only a decentralized model of governance, may address the disruption and the needs of new space actors for regulatory assurances and accepted standards. Indeed, space governance is already on track to become decentralized, increasingly and inevitably, as stakeholders and experts establish forums that suggest, adopt or push for rules and standards. The result is a gradual emergence of numerous decision-making centers (governance centers) producing numerous, partially overlapping, issue-specific regimes. Thus, in a kind of ‘spontaneous order’, space governance may continuously evolve to meet the ever-changing challenges and opportunities of space exploration and exploitation.

avatar for Eytan Tepper

Eytan Tepper

Doctoral candidate, McGill Institute of Air and Space Law
Eytan Tepper is completing his doctorate degree at McGill Institute of Air and Space Law and has previous degrees in law and economics. His research focused on space governance, i.e. on how human space activities are steered, notably how the principles and rules applicable to these... Read More →

Thursday October 10, 2019 14:15 - 14:35 EDT
Room CR1 ICAO - 999 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC H3C 5H10

14:35 EDT

The Regulation of Rocket Emissions
With the dawn of industries such as space tourism, asteroid mining and space colonization, we are at a critical stage in the commercial use of outer space. A spike in missions indicates a drastic proliferation in the number of rockets launched when such activities become feasible. However, studies have revealed that an increase in rocket launches could cause irreversible environmental damage, including ozone depletion and global warming, due to the chemicals discharged by certain rockets. The effects of pollutants such as black carbon may alter atmospheric circulation and increase surface temperatures. The issue hence demands regulatory attention, as repercussions of increasing rocket launches would far outweigh those of aircraft flights if rocket launches amplify. The need to regulate rocket emissions has been acknowledged by the international legal community, yet the issue continues to evade regulation. My presentation will elaborate on the legal perspective and emphasize the need to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to address this issue.

My presentation introduces the issue by outlining past studies on the environmental impact of rocket emissions. I then discuss the inadequacy of the space treaties, specifically the Outer Space Treaty and the Liability Convention. These provisions demonstrate that there is no obligation on States to persuade their non-State actors, particularly companies venturing into the commercial space arena, to curb emissions or switch to cleaner rocket fuels which discharge less-polluting by-products. I propose legal principles that can be applied, based on a comparative study of international regimes within the aviation and maritime sectors. My conclusion emphasizes that collaboration with the scientific community is imperative, as well as the inclusion of economic and political inputs to design a successful mechanism to regulate rocket emissions.


Nivedita Raju

LLM Student, McGill University
I am an LLM candidate and Arsenault Fellow at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law. My LLM Thesis explores the need to regulate rocket emissions in light of adverse environmental impact. My interests in space law focus on the sustainability of outer space and permissible military... Read More →

Thursday October 10, 2019 14:35 - 14:55 EDT
Room CR1 ICAO - 999 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC H3C 5H10

14:55 EDT

Freedom of Movement as a Human Right in "the Province of all Mankind"
As the Outer Space Treaty (OST) enters its sixth decade, an evolved understanding of its ‘province provision’ at Article I is proposed. This Article declaring that the “exploration and use of outer space . . . shall be the province of all mankind” has the potential to be interpreted literally, with the full territorial implications ordinarily associated with the word “province”. This interpretation is based not only on the ordinary meaning of the word province, but primarily on the long associations of the activities of both “exploration” and “use” with territorial appropriation under international law.

This proposed ‘territorial conception’ of the province provision sees humankind as an emerging subject of international law appropriating those areas of outer space where humanity ventures. The result of which being that those regions of space where the human species extends its presence comprise the literal “province of all mankind”, with ultimate title and residual sovereignty over territory explored and utilised invested in all of humankind. Importantly this interpretation presents no conflict with Article II of the OST, which prohibits only “national appropriation” of outer space and not appropriation by humankind itself.

As every human being is collectively a member of humankind, sharing territorial title over all areas of outer space subject to its “exploration and use”, all persons should be guaranteed as a human right freedom of movement throughout humankind's province. The eventual development of such an open border regime could become one of the most unique and important governance features of outer space. For it ensures that unlike here on Earth, the ability to migrate, settle and work in space is not entirely dependent on the “birthright lottery” of nationality. For in “the province of all mankind” no human should ever be considered “illegal”.


Andrew Simon-Butler

Legal Researcher, Melbourne Social Equity Institute - University of Melbourne
Andrew is an Ontarian Barrister and Solicitor, Australian Lawyer and Australian Registered Migration Agent. His research focus is the forthcoming intersection of international migration law and international space law governing the future human settlement of outer space. Andrew has... Read More →

Thursday October 10, 2019 14:55 - 15:15 EDT
Room CR1 ICAO - 999 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montréal, QC H3C 5H10

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