“WE ARE JUST AN ADVANCED BREED OF MONKEYS ON A MINOR PLANET OF A VERY AVERAGE STAR. BUT WE CAN UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSE. THAT MAKES US SOMETHING SPECIAL.”
Have we ever wondered if there are laws about space ? Yes there are space laws and subsequently, there are also recent and upcoming developments in law. Space law is a body of laws, agreements and treaties that govern outer space. Worldwide leaders must grapple with how to regulate activity in space. Space law covers issues like rules for exploration, weapons use, damage for liability, rescue efforts for astronauts in distress, environmental regulations and records of space activity.
WHAT IS SPACE LAW?
Space law includes national and international law governing activities in outer space. International lawyers have been unable to agree on a uniform definition of the term “outer space”, although most lawyers agree that outer space generally begins at the lowest altitude above sea level at which objects can orbit the Earth, approximately 100km
Which objects can orbit the Earth, approximately100 km (62mi) ( the Karman line). The inception of the space law began with the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite by the Soviet Union in October 1957. Named SPUTNIK 1, the satellite was launched as part of the International Geophysical Year. Since that time, space law has evolved and assumed more importance as mankind has increasingly come to use and rely on space-based resources.
STUDY OF SPACE LAW:
Space law is relatively new area for formal legal study. The first formal legal certificate program for space law studies began in 2008. A few universities offer degrees and other opportunities for formal study. The University of NEBRASKA offers an LLM and a J.S.D. degree in space, cyber and telecommunications law. The University of MICHIGAN sponsors a society for space law. Students wishing to pursue space law might pursue one of these programs or they might choose related course work as part of their own, customized legal study within a more generalized law degree program.
Space lawyers draft international treaties and national laws. They advise lawmakers about good policy and whether to enter international agreements. Space lawyers may even help; negotiate these agreements. They help; government entities and even private companies engaging in space exploration comply with existing laws and treaties.
Because of the nature of space law, space lawyers engage in a great deal of policy making. They might spend the bulk of their time drafting proposals or advocating for certain policies.
Space lawyers must also understand enough science to give their clients educate advice.
CHALLENGES IN SPACE LAW:
It is not a easy job for anyone to send a satellite into the space yet still. Satellites in GEOGRAPHICAL ORBIT must all occupy a single ring above the equator, approximately 35,800 km into space. The requirements for the satellites apart means that there is a limited number of orbital “slots” available. Thus only a limited number of satellites can be placed in geostationary orbit. This has led to many disputes and conflicts among different countries wishing access to the same orbital slots. These disputes are addressed through the ITU allocation mechanism. In 1976, when many countries located at the Earth’s equator created the BAGOTA DECLARATION in which they asserted their legal claim to control the use of space above their territory.
NEED FOR SPACE LAW:
With this field of the law is still in its infancy, it is an era of rapid change and development. Arguably the resources of space are infinite. If commercial space transportation becomes widely available, with substantially lower launch costs, then all countries will be able to directly reap the benefits of space resources. High costs are not only factor preventing the economic exploitation of space. Hence much importance should be given to the space law as other laws are concerned. So, there is a need in our present society to study space laws.
I would like to conclude by saying, in our current situation, it seems likely that consensus will be much easier to achieve with respect to commercial development and human settlement of outer space. It is argued that space should be considered as pristine environment worthy of protection and conservation, and that the legal regime for space should further protect it from being used as a resource for Earth’s needs. Debate is also focused on whether space should continue to be legally defined as part of the COMMON HERITAGE OF MAN and therefore unavailable for national claims, or whether its legal definition should be changed to allow private property in space.
“THE FUTURE CANNOT BE PREDICTED, BUT THE FUTURE CAN BE INVENTED”