Legal Advisory Project

Space Law for New Space Actors

Picture provided by NASA

Innovation and knowledge derived from space exploration and related activities support economic growth, deliver high returns on investment, generate new technologies and job creation. More countries and non-governmental entities than ever are interested in engaging in these activities. As global interest grows, awareness of and adherence to international space law becomes ever more important. In this regard,   UNOOSA is the UN entity responsible for the planning and implementation of activities aimed at building Member State capacity in space law and policy. We have been working with established and emerging space-faring nations on such activities since the Office was established by the UN General Assembly in 1958.

Updates:

  • Update September 2022: France to join the project as a new donor (NEW!)
  • Update June 2022: Update to the List of Technical Advisory Missions and their programmes (NEW!)
  • Update June 2022: Update on the content of the Space Law Project webpage (NEW!)
  • Update February 2022: APSCO to join the project as a new donor 
  • Update September 2021: Kyutech to join the project as a new donor
  • Update June 2021:Update on the Space Law Project (  ppt available) (NEW!)
  • Update May 2021:Japan to join the project as a new donor (  press release available)
  • Update November 2020: Belgium to join the project as a new donor
  • Update May 2020: Chile to join the project as a new donor
  • November 2019: Launch webpage with the support of Luxembourg (press release and video available) and SWF

Summary of the Project

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2017, the UN Outer Space Treaty (OST) serves as the foundation of international space law. Since the OST, governments have agreed, through the UN, a growing list of treaties, principles, and guidelines that, collectively, constitute the normative framework governing activities in outer space. This framework has been instrumental in sustaining over half a century of exponential growth in space activities and the global space economy.

Today, stakeholders around the world are accessing the space environment and investing their political and economic capital in space activities. With this explosion of new actors, there is a pressing need to enhance efforts to raise awareness of, and adherence to, the existing normative framework governing outer space activities.

These activities facilitate, on request, countries to draft national space law and/or policy that is in line with the international normative framework on space. Furthermore, these services contribute to raising global adherence to - and awareness of - the existing international and legal instruments on outer space, for the benefit of established and emerging space-faring nations alike.

If you are interested in UNOOSA capacity-building and advisory services in international space law, please contact us through the contact details below.

Presentation introducing project to delegates at Legal Subcommittee of COPUOS 2021

Advisory Services on Offer

  • Through capacity-building and advisory services, UNOOSA supports an enhanced understanding of the fundamentals of international space law, increasing the capacity of states to draft or revise national space law and policy  in line with the international normative frameworks on space
  • UNOOSA supports recipients implement existing normative frameworks, such as the Outer Space Treaty, the Registration Convention, and the UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines.
  • Through direct consultation with the recipient, activities are tailored in consideration of specific judicial, administrative, and technical requirements.  

 

Target Beneficiaries

  • The capacity-building and advisory services are tailored to the needs, requirements, and interests of  policy-makers and legislators of the requesting Member State. Typically such representatives come from governmental and regulatory authorities.
  • It is expected that countries that are either entering the space sector for the first time or who are embarking upon new phases of space activities will benefit most from the project.
  • If you are interested in UNOOSA capacity-building and advisory services in international space law, please contact us through the contact details below.

 

Four-Stage Method

The overarching project "Space law for new space actors: fostering responsible national space activities" will be delivered by the Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to the Member States, upon request, in 4 stages over a 12-month duration:

  • Stage 1) Development and desk-based research of the requesting country;
  • Stage 2) Tailor-made course development;
  • Stage 3) Deliver 2-3 days on-site technical advisory mission;
  • Stage 4) Follow-up and evaluation.

 

e-Learning Modules

The e-learning course is available to the participants for the recipient country on the legal advisory services provided through the project Space Law for New Space Actors. The participants to the on-site technical advisory mission, who are selected by the recipient government, will be asked to complete the mandatory e-learning course before the event. UNOOSA has developed 4 learning modules available in English, French, and Spanish languages.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Space Law for New Space Actors
  • Module 2: The Outer Space Treaty and the Fundamental Principles of Outer Space
  • Module 3:  Key elements of National Space Law
  • Module 4:  Guidance on Space Object Registration and Frequency Management for Small and Very Small Satellites  

 

Technical Advisory Missions

As part of the legal advisory services provided through the Space Law for New Space Actors project, the project conducts technical advisory missions on both the regional and national level for selected representatives of relevant organizations. These technical advisory missions are tailor-made to raise the awareness levels of the fundamental principles of international space law as well as enhance the understanding of the importance of bringing space law and policy into the national context.

Technical Advisory Missions are organized based on the 7 key elements of national space law. 
"Report of the Working Group on National Legislation Relevant to the Peaceful Exploration and Use of Outer Space on the work conducted under its multi-year workplan" of 3 April 2012 (A/AC.105/C.2/101) notes that the following elements could be considered by States when enacting regulatory frameworks for national space activities, as appropriate, taking into account the specific needs of the State concerned:

  • I. Scope of application
  • II. Authorization and licensing of activities of non-governmental entities
  • III. Continuing supervision of activities of non-governmental entities
  • IV. Registration
  • V. Liability and insurance
  • VI. Safety
  • VII. Transfer of ownership


List of Concluded Technical Advisory Missions

Type of Activity Target Beneficiaries Location Language Date Sponsor Programme
Raising Awareness Stage 1 Regional Chile Hybrid Spanish/
English
6-8 April 2022 Government of Chile Programme in PDF
Technical Advisory Mission Stage 3 Regional Asia and the Pacific Online English 24-26 January 2022 Government of Japan Programme in PDF
Technical Advisory Mission Stage 3 National Rwanda Online English 19-20 January 2022 Government of Luxembourg Programme in PDF
Technical Advisory Mission Stage 3 National Chile Online Spanish 20-21 October 2021 Government of Chile Programme in PDF
Series of 16 Lectures    Global   Online  English October 2021 -
March 2022
Kyutech Programme in PDF
Raising Awareness Stage 1 Regional African Countries Online English 7 December 2020 Government of Luxembourg Programme in PDF
Technical Advisory Mission Stage 3 National Chile Online Spanish 13-16 October 2020 Government of Chile Programme in PDF

 

Sponsors

The Space Law for New Space Actors project is a multi-donor project funded by voluntary contributions.

This project is made possible through the generous support of the following stakeholders:

  • The Government of Luxembourg - please see UNOOSA/Luxembourg  press release and  video for further details.
  • The Government of Japan- please see UNOOSA/Japan  press release for further details.
  • The Government of Chile.
  • The Government of Belgium.
  • The Government of France.
  • Secure World Foundation.
  • Kyushu Institute of Technology.
  • Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization.

 

Call for Donors

The project aims to allow UNOOSA to collaborate with member States and to respond to the requests for legal advisory services in a structured and sustainable manner. In this regard, since the launch of the project, the Office has received over 45 such requests from emerging-space faring nations. Thus, to establish this new approach and to make our work possible, UNOOSA is calling on interest parties to consider supporting such efforts through voluntary contributions.

Contact Us

Please address all email inquiries on the project to:   unoosa-spacelaw@un.org

Additional Resources

National Space Law Collection
Click   here to learn more about UNOOSA's work in the field of space law, including the National Space Law Collection

Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Click   here to learn more about how space is contributing to SDG 16

 

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