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Mine, mine, mine!

On the new US space resource policy and attitude towards outer space

In an impressive display of questionable timing and priorities, the US President may just have rung in the first round of a new space age. While “non-viral” news currently fly under the radar, the legal and policy implications of the newest ‘Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources’, quite literally, go above and beyond. In response to a recent post on the subject …

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Current Developments

Legitimation through executive order?

The issue of space resources in international law

Resource extraction from and mining of celestial bodies such as the Moon or asteroids has matured from a fantastical idea of science fiction to a contentious issue of international law. It is characterized by a tension of  international treaties, such as the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967 and unilateral national initiatives. The US arguably broke the mold of theoretical discourse with its Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 …

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Current Developments

Saber-rattling in space

How international law does (not) regulate States’ plans for Space Forces

Does international law entitle states to have military space forces? Recent efforts by several states as well as NATO to strengthen their military space capabilities re-ignite this debate. The issue is not unregulated; international space law in particular is not silent on this issue. But the limits are not as strict as one might think. Renewed military interest in space At its 70th anniversary summit in London in December 2019, …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Keeping it clean (part II)

On the protection of outer space as part of the environment

This Bofax is the second part of a two-part series – inspired by India successfully testing an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against an Indian satellite and thereby causing space debris – that deals with selected issues revolving around the use of ASAT missiles against satellites of other states. When space objects such as satellites are destroyed, a cloud of particles of different sizes, known as space debris, remains. This debris can …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Keeping it clean (part I)

On the prohibition on the use of force in an ASAT context

On March 27th India successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against one of its own test satellites, creating a cloud of space debris which might collide with the International Space Station (see the post of last week here). Since ASAT weapons are ultimately designed to be used against satellites of other states, scenarios in which space debris is caused through international hostilities become more realistic. As the conflict in the Indo-Pakistani Kashmir …

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Current Developments

India’s anti-satellite missile test

Another reminder of the gaps in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty

In a much-publicized address on 27th March, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the country successfully tested its anti-satellite (ASAT) missile by destroying a live mini-satellite placed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), 300 kilometres from the earth’s surface. Codenamed “Operation Shakti”, the ASAT missile has been developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Reportedly, an interceptor missile was used, which was part of the DRDO’s ongoing …

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Current Developments

A new object in the sky

Space law points the telescope to its relationship with cyber law

While cyber activities have been growing rapidly since the 1970’s, the law was not able to catch up with this development immediately. However, over the years, law-making efforts at the international level have resulted in the enactment of international conventions regarding cybercrime such as the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime, or the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual …

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