Space Law (2 hrs.)
Outer space is an infrastructure element of developed nations and is gaining similar importance to developing nations. Governments and commercial entities deploy satellites for terrestrial purposes, including mineral exploration, communications, navigation, law enforcement, vehicle and vessel tracking, and weather prediction. Traditional military uses of satellites include surveillance, arms control verification, ballistic missile detection and early warning. Advanced technology experimentation is taking place on the International Space Station. While occasional space tourists have visited the station, numerous individuals are signing up for commercial tours to space and back in a new generation of reusable spacecraft. Robotic space craft continue to explore and send back spectacular images of deep space and distant stars, while preparations are underway in the United States, Japan and China for returning mankind to the moon and in the United States, to Mars using moon resources. Outer space activities are conducted within a broad framework of international law, including a series of outer space treaties, domestic law, and the International Space Station Agreement. We discuss legal and programmatic roles of the United Nations, International Telecommunications Union, NASA, the European Space Agency, the U.S. departments of transportation and commerce and space agencies of other nations. Students gain understandings of rights to explore and exploit outer space resources, liability for damages caused by spacecraft, special status of astronauts, permitted and prohibited military activities, use of nuclear power sources in space, rights of states to data obtained by other states’ remote sensing technology, licensing regimes for launch and reentry of commercial spacecraft, and standards governing space tourism. Students have the option of writing a paper in lieu of a final examination. Mr. Carroll.