The words you are searching are inside this book. To get more targeted content, please make full-text search by clicking here.
Discover the best professional documents and content resources in AnyFlip Document Base.
Published by Enhelion, 2019-11-22 08:26:52

Module 6

Module 6


6.1. Introduction

The new age domain that mankind is looking to own, control and recreate is the realm of
space. Millions of dollars are being invested by many developed nations and developing
nations in research missions to outer space. The inception in space law can be seen with
the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite in 1957, called Sputnik 1 by the Soviet
Union. Soon after, nations started deliberations on how to regulate peaceful use of the
outer space1. The bilateral discussions between the USSR and USA presented the UN
with issues to contemplate upon2. In the year 1959, the Committee on the Peaceful Use of
Outer Space (COPOUS) was created by the United Nations with two sub-committees,

v The Scientific and Technical Committee
v The Legal Committee

Initially, the outer space activities were carried out by State agencies alone, but with the
growing commercial benefits and technology, the activities are now carried out by the
private sector as well. The huge amount of profit available from commercial activities in
outer space not only draws in multiple private players. The existing international treaties
are a result of this expansion in the field of space law and it extends the state
responsibility and liability to the actions of its private entities.

6.2 Need for National Space Legislation

National legislation on any growing sector is a vital requirement for not merely
international relations but also the smooth and strict adherence to a code of conduct that
needs to be followed by individuals and state parties uniformly. Space law being a nubile
law is still in its adolescence and is in need for development in tandem with the pace of

1 ; Archived 2008-03-18 at the Wayback Machine, Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and
International Law.
2 Nagendra Singh; Edward MacWhinney (1989), Nuclear Weapons and Contemporary International Law,
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 289.

research. The major concern of United Nations at the outset was to maintain peace, and
fill- up the legal vacuum in outer space. United Nations by passing resolutions solved the
legal and political challenges.

The Outer Space Treaty, which is the most ratified treaty of Space Law by member
nations of the United Nations provides for a basic framework and guidelines upon which
national legislations are expected to be formed. The existing international treaties on
outer space state that the responsibility or liability for damage caused in space activity
must be shouldered by the States concerned3.

The need for National space legislation is multi-fold, but can be said to stem out of the
well-established principle that a breach of international obligation must result in
redressal. Space laws ought to be legislated in order to create clear and transparent
regulatory guidelines for domestic industry in order to accelerate investment and to
ensure growth and development in this capital intensive-high return sector.4

The international treaties that form the basis of the law of outer space were drafted from a
State-oriented perspective. The rights and liabilities on the state for national space
activities were approached from an international law perspective on the states. Though
space activities have exponentially grown, the national space legislations have not come
up in the same rate. States are required to authorize and continually supervise national
activities in outer space undertaken by non-governmental entities, as specified by the
terms of Article VI of the ‘Magna Carta’ of Space law, The Treaty on Principles
Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including
Moon and other Celestial Bodies [Outer Space Treaty]5 . The principles of this treaty
bind the State parties and non- parties similar to customary international law.

6.3 Commerce oriented approach - US & Australian models

3 The Outer Space Treaty, Articles VI and VII, the Liability Convention, Articles II,III, IV and V, and the
Moon Agreement, Article 14.
4 Ranjana Kaul, Does India Need National Space Laws?, National Space Legislation: A Blueprint for India,
Regional Space Conference on Bringing Space Benefits to the Asia-Pacific Region, Bangalore 27–29 June,
2005 (on file with the author).
5 Open for signature 27 January 1967, in force 10 October 1967, 610 U.N.T.S. 205.

6.3.1 The US Model

Under the Presidency of Eisenhower, the elite minds of The United States of America
urged that the country needed to enter into dialectic of sciences with the USSR to ensure
the participation of The US in the space race6 after the launch of the Sputnik. Within a
few years, The Apollo Missions added a sense of nationalism among the Americans and
also helped in the negotiations and development of the legal framework for the moon and
other celestial bodies. One of the hallmarks of the United States National space law
policy is that it tends to follow the development of space technology and geopolitical
event which can be testified by the growth of national space legislation soon after the
USSR launched the Sputnik 1. The first National space legislation was The National
Aeronautics and Space Act (NAS Act) of 19587. It was an evident response to the launch
of the Sputnik and the legislation had a clear cut idea to go about their space activities.
The Act established the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) to
provide an institutional framework for the legislation. The first project was to develop the
technology to successfully land man on moon which was completed shortly after. Then
came the introduction of the second piece of legislation in the United States, The
Commercial Communication Satellite Act (Comsat Act)8. It was a tool during the Cold
War to introduce the act under the pretext of humanitarian motives. It was a lucrative act
which authorized US participation in the formation of the international communications
satellite organization and system9. Being an active participant in the organization helped
the development of technology in space rapidly for the US especially in the
communication field with the booming increase in communication requirements. US
further implemented legislations like:

v Commercial Space Launch Act
v Land Remote Sensing Policy Act, 1992
v Communications Act of 1934

6 Wayne J. Urban, More Than Science And Sputnik: The National Defense Education Act Of 1958 80–81
7 5 National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Pub. L. No. 85-568, 72 Stat. 426 (codified
as amended at 42 U.S.C. §§ 2451–84 (2006)).
8 Communications Satellite Act of 1962, Pub. L. No. 87-624, 76 Stat. 419 (codified as
amended at 47 U.S.C. §§ 701–69 (Supp. II 2008)).
9 1 See Communications Satellite Act of 1962 § 102(a), 76 Stat. at 419.

v National Aeronautics and Space Act

The real influence of commerce on US space law can be seen from the 1980’s. All the
initial space missions Mercury, Apollo etc heavily relied on the private sector of US for
goods and services on a contractual basis. The Regan administration at the time believed
that the space activities could be handed over to the private sector as well as the private
sector handled many government activities more reliably than the public sector. In
furtherance of the same the Congress amended the Policy of the NAS Act and recognized
commercial use along with civil and military use of space. Furthermore, the congress
passed the 1984 Commercial Space Launch Act (Launch Act)10 and the Land Remote-
Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984 (Commercialization Act)11. It was not long,
however, before both laws were amended to reflect changes driven by intertwined
politics, economics, and technology. With the introduction of these policies the Congress
aimed to encourage, promote and facilitate the private sector to be involved in
commercial space launches and also to develop licensing requirements in consultation
with the government. The Launch Act touched upon three substantive areas:

v licensing and regulation;
v liability insurance requirements; and
v Access to government launch facilities by private launch companies.

The first decade of the 2000s has been a time of regulatory refinement across all areas of
U.S. national space law. To be sure, regulations have existed from space law’s inception.
However, private space activities and the United States’ participation in some
international activities have resulted in more detailed and revised regulations in the 2000s
due to agencies’ growing experience and the lengthy, politically charged regulatory
process. A major feature of recent legislative changes has been the articulation of the
relationship between the public and private sectors as it relates to the risks inherent in
launch activities. The most recent major change in the law occurred in 2004 with the
passage of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 which reflects a

10 Commercial Space Launch Act, Pub. L. No. 98-575, 98 Stat. 3055 (1984) (codified as amended at 49
S.C. § 70101 (Supp. II 2008)).
11 Land Remote-Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984, Pub. L. No. 98-365, 98 Stat.451 (codified at 15
U.S.C. § 4201 (repealed 1992)) (regulating the satellite observation of land masses).

belief in the possibility of space tourism for commercial purposes. The 2004 Act
authorizes private and commercial passengers to engage in space travel and also forms
the licensing of the private sector spacecraft to bring paying passengers on suborbital
flights. The Commercialization Act on the other hand had a few difficulties in being
implemented as questions regarding to the devolution of data to the public was a sensitive
issue. The Act state weather imaging for both public and private sectors alike as it was
need, but with regard to land mapping, privacy concerns caused the inclusion of private
parties at a reasonable disadvantage.

The US government also provides for prizes for the for breakthrough researches and
discoveries in space technology. The close interplay between the private and public
sector is the main reason for the smooth and steady functioning of the space activities in
the United States of America. The smoothening of the relationship is being successfully
achieved by implementing policies and legislations that will aid dependence of both the
sectors on each other thereby meeting the demands of the space activities.

6.3.2 The Australian Model

Australia is a country that gained technological supremacy in space activities as early as
1949. It was the same year that the Woomera launch facility development was complete.
Woomera, at its peak was the second busiest launch facility at the time. In 1958,
Australia was one of the foundation members of the UNCOPOUS and later went on to
ratify the five space treaties enacted by the UN. The growth of the Australian space
projects were closely related to many factors that Australia provided, namely:

v Geographical location
v Technical expertise
v Well-developed Infrastructure, transport and communication facilities
v Stable political environment
v Large areas of low density population
v Close strategic (military) alliances

Australia, early on it got into bilateral agreements with the United States of America in
1961 regarding the country’s satellite program, through the Exchange of Notes

Constituting an Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of
the United States of America for Cooperation in Transit Navigational Satellite12. The
further association with the America led to the establishment of various space tracking
stations in Australia. Subsequently, the Government of Australia entered into several
launch arrangements with the United States13, arrangements with Canada14 and so on and
so forth. Until the late 1990’s, the Australian Government did not act upon the realization
that the potential for establishment of a significant commercial space launch industry in
the country, but in 1998 enacted through the Federal Parliament, the Government
introduced the Space Activities Act which came into force on 21st December, 1998.

Multiple private consortia sought to explore the possibilities of undertaking commercial
satellite launch projects from Australia, predominantly using Russian technology. In
response to this largely private sector interest in the development of a launch site industry
in Australia, the Parliament decided to enact the Space Activities Act. Australia is merely
the sixth country to introduce specific domestic legislation for the regulation of space
activities15. The introduction of such an act by the legislature was primarily to reflect in
Australian law, the obligations that as a signatory to the key United Nations space
treaties, Australia had. An ancillary objective included in providing a legally certain and
predictable environment for the development and operation of Australia’s space launch

The primary objectives of the legislation were as follows:17

v to establish a regulation regime for commercial space activities carried out either
from Australia or by Australian nationals outside Australia;

12 5 June 1961, [1961] ATS 10.
13 Exchange of Notes constituting an Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government
of the United States of America on the Launching of Sounding Rockets 1 September 1987, [1987] ATS 13.
14 Exchange of Notes constituting an Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government
of Canada relating to the Launching of a Canadian Scientific Rocket from Woomera 26-27 August 1976,
[1976] ATS 22.
15 The previous countries were the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and
South Africa: Frans G von der Dunk ‘Launching from “Down Under”: The New Australian Space
Activities Act of 1998’ [2000] Proceedings of the Forty-Third Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space 132
at 139
16 Australian Ministry for Industry, Science and Resources, Explanatory Memorandum to the Space
Activities Bill 1998 December 1998 at page 4
17 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) section 3.

v to provide for the payment of adequate compensation for damage caused to
persons or property as a result of space activities regulated by [the legislation];

v to implement certain of Australia’s obligations under the UN Space Treaties; and
v to implement certain of Australia’s obligations under specified space cooperation


Under the legislation, the Government also established the Space Licensing and Safety
Office (SALSO). While studying the success of the primary objectives of the legislation
we can come across that the regulation of regime for commercial space activities was
really only concerned with civil space launch and return activities under the more general
rubric of commercial space activities. With respect to implementing the obligations of
Australia under UN Space treaties and providing compensation for damage caused18, was
a success on the other hand. Implementation of Australia’s obligation under specified
space cooperation agreements was subsequently added to the legislation under the Space
Activities Amendment (Bilateral Agreement) Act 2001 to take into account the
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Russian
Federation on Cooperation in the Field of the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for
Peaceful Purposes19.

Due to the high commercial activity in the Australian soil with regard to launching, there
are extensive terms of licensing in relation to launch activities. This system is generally
regarded as the most complex domestic launching regime in the world so far. Multiple
numbers of licenses to deal with specific space activities, like:

v Space Licence – required to operate a launch facility in Australia, or do anything
directly connected with operating a launch facility in Australia, using a particular
kind of launch vehicle20;

v Launch Permit – required to launch a particular space object or a particular series
of launches of space objects that having regard to the nature of any payloads to

18 Part 4 of the Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth). Ricky J Lee & Associates The Australian Legal &
Regulatory Framework for Space Launches: Guide for the Space Industry 2004 Profusion, Australia at
pages 51-63.
19 23 May 2001, [2004] ATS 17.
20 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) section 15.

be carried, may appropriately be authorised by a single launch permit from a
launch facility located in Australia21. The permit may also authorise particular
space objects to be returned, in connection with the launch or launches, to a
specified place or area in Australia22;
v Overseas Launch Certificate – required for an Australian national to launch a
space object from a launch facility located outside Australia23;
v Authorization of Return – required for the return to a place anywhere in Australia
of a space object that was not launched from a launch facility located within

The Space Activities Act was amended in 2002 by the Space Activities Amendment Act
2002 which sought to address the territorial demarcation of space. To address the issue
for the purposes of space activities, the legislation incorporates into the definitions of a
‘launch’, a ‘launch vehicle’, a ‘return’ and a ‘space object’ a reference to the distance of
100 kilometres above mean sea level25. This law can also be seen as a pioneer of its time
in demarcating territory in reference to space related activities26. This was also done in
order to regulate commercial sub-orbital space tourism activities which appear to be a
realistic possibility in the near future with successful flights by SpaceShipOne27.

The commercial boom by the apparently enthusiastic private sector interest in Australia
as a commercial launch site enabled the country to enter into a bilateral Cooperation
Agreement with Russia in May, 2001 which replaced a more general agreement between

21 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) sections 11 and 26(1).
22 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) section 26(2).
23 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) section 12(a).
24 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) sections 14(a) and (b).
25 Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth) section 8.
26 North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (Germany v Denmark; Germany v The Netherlands) [1969] ICJ
Reports 3. Vladlen S Vereshchetin and Gennady M Danilenko ‘Custom as a Source of International Law of
Outer Space’ [1985] 13:1 Journal of Space Law 22. Bin Cheng ‘International Responsibility and Liability
for Launch Activities’ [1995] 20:6 Air & Space Law 297, I.H.Ph Diederiks-Verschoor An Introduction to
Space Law (2nd ed) 1999 Kluwer Law International, The Hague at 1-21 and Virgiliu Pop ‘A Celestial
Body is a Celestial Body is a Celestial Body’ [2001] Proceedings of the Forty-Fourth Colloquium on the
Law of Outer Space 100.
27 John Schwartz ‘Private Rocket Ship Earns $10 Million in New Space Race’ The New York Times 5
October 2004.

the two in 198728. The bilateral agreement was specifically related to the development of
joint space launching activities, it specified areas of cooperation between the states
involving the launching of space apparatus29 and the conduct of commercial operations
and outer space launches30 with a specific long term goal being the creation on the
territory of Australia of an international cosmodrome for the launch of payloads into
outer space using Russia Launch Vehicles31. The agreements main aim was to pave the
way for progress in the space launch facility project at Christmas Island; the agreement
also contained a cross- waiver provision for liability and details with issues of intellectual
property32. During this phase, the Government announced the possibility of raising
revenue in the next ten years as the demand for satellite launches were high33.
Unfortunately, the development and revenue did not happen as planned and conclusion of
the bilateral agreement with Russia has not translated into any significant progress. This
changed the approach of the Government and a more pragmatic approach is reflected in
both the Government’s policy paper – Australian Government Space Engagement: Policy
Framework and Overview34 and its recent decisions in relation to the application of its
space technology towards missile defence.

After conducting a review, the Government revised the policy once in 2003 and then
again in 2004 and came to the conclusion that there is no pressing necessity and
consequently no support for a centrally funded space office or a dedicated space program
in Australia35. Instead the focus was shifted to areas of space activities where Australia
had competitive advantages, which mainly revolved around the provision of
technological expertise and ground station tracking services etc. The Australian
government opined that self sufficiency is not necessarily a goal with respect to space

28 Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics on Co-operation in Space Research and the Use of Space for Peaceful Purposes 1 December
1987, [1987] ATS 27.
29 Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Russian Federation on
Cooperation in the Field of the Exploration and Use Of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes 23 May 2001,
[2004] ATS 17, Article 1(a)
30 Ibid Article 5(1).
31 Ibid Article 4(j).
32 Ibid Article 10.
33 ‘Australia Signs Space Launch Agreement With Russia’, Space Daily, 23 May 2001
34 on 22 August 2004
35 Australian Government Space Engagement: Policy Framework and Overview at 3.

activities36, the previously stated aim to become a significant participant in the
commercial space launch industry also did not prevail. The Government determined that
the space industry is to develop on its merits and without preferential treatment and was
equated to high technology areas like aerospace, electronics etc which would have to
compete for government support through generic funding programs37.

Overall, the approach taken by the Government showed no real urgency to promote
Australia as an attractive and appropriate place for non-governmental entities to engage
in launch activities. Through experience the Australian government had matured to
realise that a developing industry needs the constant support and sustenance of the
government which can be very taxing in a practical level.

The Satellite Utilisation Policy38 came in 2013 and the recognition of integral functions
of the space activities with respect to satellite technology was for national security,
forecasting natural disasters and for large coastlines. The main focus had switched from
space exploration to satellite utilisation for – navigation, timing, satellite communication,
earth observation etc.; the policy preferred partnerships and bilateral agreements rather
than stressing on indigenous capability. The space policy has not developed much since
the earliest legislation which is enacted. In the recent past, the political situation in
Australia has been tender and has been going through ups and downs. This adds to the
inability to develop laws in order to promote space activities. Australia is one of the few
remaining members to the Outer Space Treaty without a Space Agency.

6.4 Other approaches - Russian & UK models

6.4.1 The Russian Model

The first development of outer space activities can be traced back to Russia in the days of
the USSR. The growth and development of space activities saw an impending need for
national laws in the country in order to regulate the space activities. The Russian house of

36 Australian Government Space Engagement: Policy Framework and Overview at 2.
37 Australian Government Space Engagement: Policy Framework and Overview at 11.

soviets, in a decree passed the law of the Russian Federation about space activities. The
decree consists of 7 sections with a total of 30 Articles included in it.

The decree explains the various activities that fall under the purview of “space activities”
in Article 2 which includes activities closely connected with the operations to explore and
use the moon and other celestial bodies39. The activities include-

v Space researches;
v Remote sensing of Earth from outer space including environmental monitoring

and meteorology;
v Use of navigation, topographical and geodesic satellite systems;
v Piloted space missions;
v Manufacturing of materials and other products in outer space;
v Other kinds of activity performed with the aid of space technology.

Space activity also includes creating, using and transferring of space technology, space
techniques, other products and services necessary for carrying out space activities.

Section 1 consists of the general provisions of Russian Space law which include the
scope, aim and principles which are the fundamentals upon which the Russian
Federations law has developed. The goal of indulging in space activity is to promote the
well-being and security of the Federation of Russia as well as solving the issues of
mankind. The main tasks that are undertaken in the jurisdiction are-

v providing access to outer space;
v studying of the Earth and outer space;
v developing science, techniques and technologies, enhancing economic efficiency;
v Ensuring defence capabilities of Russian Federation and control over the

implementation of international treaties concerning armaments and armed

40 Ibid.

The general principles adopted by Russia with regard to space law are in tandem and
congruence with the international treaties it is a part of. The principles include equality of
organizations and individuals in taking part in space activities; restriction to test and
deploy weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons; international responsibility of
state for space activities in its jurisdiction; ensuring strategic and ecological security;
disseminating information regarding launching of space vehicles or objects, allocation of
budgets without any restrictions; so on and so forth.

The Federal Space Agency, formerly known as the Roscosmos State Corporation for
Space Activity, commonly known as ROSCOSMOS is one of the forerunners in the world
of its kind, responsible for the space flight and cosmonautic programs for the Russian
Federation. The organizational structure of the Agency is predominantly controlled by the
President of the Russian Federation. Under the extensive powers granted to the President
of the Russian Federation, the main tasks entrusted are in the development of national
legislation; ensuring proper regulation of space activities; ratification of international
treaties on behalf of the Russian Federation in relation to activities undertaken in space;
issuing edits and executive orders necessary for carrying out space activity. In 2015, the
President dissolved the Federal Space Agency and reintroduced it from an independent
state enterprise to a national mega corporation41. The United Rocket and Space
Corporation merged with the state corporation of ROSCOSMOS, becoming the sole
agency responsible for managing the research, development and use of outer space.
Along with the President, there is appointment of a council of ministers to look after the
space activity.

The Russian Space Agency was established to act as a body of federal executive power
responsible for carrying out space activity in scientific and national economy purposes
under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation in accordance to the Russian space
policy. The duties of the Russian Space Agency is to primarily draft the Federal Space
Program of Russia in accordance with the Ministry of Defence, The Russian Academy of
Sciences and other state customers of works in creation and use of space technology. The


Agency places a state order for works in creation and use of space technology for
scientific and national economy purposes, including the works under international space
projects. The Ministry of Defence and The Agency participate in coordination in placing
the state order for works in creation and use of space technology for defence and security
purposes of the Russian Federation. The Space Agency is also responsible for issuing
licenses for the types of space activity, organize certification for space technology,
provide space activity with necessary normative technical documentation, ensure safety
of space activity and enter into appropriate international agreements.

The document on the basis of which the state order for the creation and use of space
technology for scientific and national- economy purposes is the Federal Space Program
of Russia. The Federal Space Program shall be drafted taking into account various
aspects including:

v interests of the subject of Russian Federation;
v established goals, tasks and principles of space activity;
v economic situation in the country;
v condition of space science and industry;
v need for a comprehensive development of the space and the ground segments of

space infrastructure;
v interests of users and producers of space technologies;
v situation and trends in the development of cosmonautics;
v conditions in the world space market;
v international obligations of Russian Federation and the task to expand

international cooperation

The funding of the Space Activities in the federation of Russia is liberal and also
provides sufficient money for performing the space activities. The funding of the space
activities for scientific and national- economy purposes shall be taken from the executive
republican budget of the Russian Federation in accordance to the Federal Space Program
and is mentioned in the budget as a separate item. The funding for the defence and

security purposes is allotted in the defence expenditure of the republican budget. Funds
are provided by the state customers in some cases and there is scope for foreign
investment in space activities but share percentage not exceeding 49%42. Funds received
as profit by organizations and citizens at the expense of tax exemption granted in
connection with space activity is another allocation of funds. Insurance payments made
by various organizations and citizens involved with space activity in the form of
obligatory or voluntary insurance and voluntary contributions by Russians and foreign
organizations and citizens are the modes through which fund is channelled for space

The allocation of budget and the scope of investment in space activities can be seen as a
very liberal and positivistic approach for increasing development in the field of space.
The commercial capabilities coupled with the steady growth in the development in space
activities aides Russia in being one of the forerunners in the space industry.

6.4.2 The UK Model

The British space program took its inception in 1952. From the very beginning, the space
activities that Britain took part in were limited to scientific developments and did not
venture into manned space missions. It was not part of the government policy to create
British astronaut corps43. The Britishers primary interest in space activities post World
War II was primarily military. The British gained rocket knowledge like most nations
from the Germans who were captured and forced to work for the British. In 1959, the
Ariel program developed various satellite programs. There were satellite programs for
military and intelligence that were initiated in the early years. UK developed various
space rockets and space planes and the launcher programs were administered in
succession by the Ministry of Supply, the Ministry of Aviation, the Ministry of
Technology and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The British launch system was
capable of carrying a nuclear device since 1950 and several rockets were also tested and

43 "UK vision to stay at the forefront of space sector published". Archived from the original on 2 June
2009.; Ian (14 February 2008). "UK carves out its place in space, but hopes for Britons on moon dashed".
The Guardian.

The money allocation for space related activities in the formative periods of the British
Space Programs were very limited. UK was heavily dependent on the United States of
America for communication interception from space during the Cold War. UK then
initiated the process of building their very own intelligence satellite named Zircon but
was unable to complete it due to lack of funds. Similarly, a major satellite launch vehicle
was also cancelled due to shortage of funding. In 1972, UK government stopped funding
their indigenous missile and rockets and no further government-backed British space
rockets were developed. The official national space programme was revived in 1982. In
1985, the British National Space Centre (BNSC) was formed to coordinate the civil space
activities of UK44.The civil space activities included space science, Earth observation,
satellite telecommunication and global navigation. The BNSC was the third largest
contributor to the general fund of the European Space Agency, contributing specifically
to its Science Program and the robotic exploration initiative. UK contributed to scientific
elements to satellite launches and space projects but did not undertake manned missions.
In 2010, the government established the UK Space Agency and was responsible for the
key budgets for space and formulating government policy and representing UK in all
negotiations of space matters. The UK space agency replaced the BNSC. Budget boosts
and reform were brought into the UK legislations which proposed reform to the 1986
Outer Space Act in several areas in order to enable British players to be at a better footing
while competing with international competitors. The government further announced that
it would build a British commercial spaceport in 2014. 2014 also saw the introduction of
the National Space Security Policy. The main objectives were as follows45:

To make the United To enhance the United To promote a more safe
Kingdom more resilient to and secure space
risks to space services and Kingdom’s national environment.
capabilities, including
from space weather. security interests through


To enable industry and academia to exploit science and grasp commercial opportunities in support of the
national spa c e p o l i c y

44 "BNSC:How we work". Archived from the original on 19 December 2008.

Within a rapidly expanding and competitive global space marketplace, the United
Kingdom’s science and commercial space sector shows great innovation and promise for
further growth. It is open to the world, relying far less on national government support
and contracts than counterparts in any other large economy. British universities, research
bodies and companies are leaders in a range of specialist fields, from small satellites to
space applications. British companies and academic and research institutions therefore
continue to need a good understanding of potential threats and a clear regulatory
framework, to allow them to grasp international opportunities46.

In 2017, the government introduced the Space Industry Bill which was initiated to create
a regulatory framework for the expansion of commercial space activities and the
development of UK space port, covering both orbital and sub- orbital activities47.

The Space Industry Act received Royal Assent on 15 March, 2018. Safety of the
uninvolved general public is at the heart of this Act. The Act’s provisions also ensure that
spaceflight activity taking place from the UK is carried out in compliance with the UN
space The Act sets out a high-level enabling framework for commercial spaceflight
operations. It provides a comprehensive regime for sub-orbital and space activities in one
place. It draws on existing space and aviation regulation. The Act contains a number of
delegated powers to make secondary legislation. Secondary legislation is more flexible
and can be adapted to keep pace with the development of this emerging market. Space
Industry Act is now law. The Outer Space Act 1986 will regulate activities carried out by
UK entities overseas48:

v Launch and procurement of launch of a space object
v Operation of a satellite in orbit

The Space Industry Act 2018 will regulate activities carried out from the UK:

46 Ibid.
47 Hutton, Georgina (2 February 2018). "The Space Industry Bill 2017-2019". House of Commons Library.

v Launch (space or sub-orbital)
v Procurement of a launch (space or sub-orbital)
v Operation of a satellite in orbit
v Operation of a spaceport
v Provision of range control services

As per the provisions of the Act, The Secretary of State is the default regulator under the
Act. The UK Space Agency will continue to licence activities regulated under the Outer
Space Act 1986 and will also licence UK spaceports capable of vertical launch and space
activities carried out in the UK under the Space Industry Act 2018. Section 16 enables the
appointment of non-Government bodies to exercise regulatory functions instead of or
alongside the Secretary of State. This section will be used to appoint the UK’s Civil
Aviation Authority to regulate sub-orbital activities and spaceports capable of horizontal
launch. The regulatory policy still requires a lot of improvement and additions with
respect to the indemnity, insurance cover from damages etc.

The first manned mission to space by a Briton was funded by a private consortium
without any assistance from the UK government. In the recent years the trend can be
noticed as to increased inclination to commercial programmes in order to increase the
investments and funding that can be used for research in space activities including
satellite design and manufacture, developing designs for space planes and catering to the
new market in space tourism.

6.5 Indian position in the present scenario

The science of the Indian Space Program (ISP) is formulated upon the imagination of CV
Raman that “Science is material and spiritual wealth”49. As the leader of the ISP,
Sarabhai’s vision was to empower India through a space science, and the technology
thereof, through scientific self-sufficiency. Ajay Lele speaks of Sarabhais vision, “that
India’s space programme would be civilian in nature, with a focus on the application of

49 Sir Chandrasekhara Vankata Raman, An Indian Academy of Science, 1 CURRENT SCI. 335, 335
(1933), 001_11_0335_0337_0.pdf.

space technology as a tool for domestic socio-economic development.”50 The Indian
Space Programs strife for self-sufficiency through ingenuinity was carried out by the
chairs of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) post the Sarabhai era. In India,
Articles 51 and 53 of the Constitution attributes responsibility on the State to adhere to
international treaties that India are a part of and exercise executive powers to fulfil treaty
obligations. But till date the lack of amending the provision with an aim to explicitly
involve space law is not done. As of date India does not have a single military satellite in

India formulated the Remote data Sensing Policy in 2001, and the Satellite
Communication Policy with the aim to develop healthy and thriving communication
satellite in India. The norms and procedures elaborated include:

v Use of the INSAT by non-governmental operators
v Establishment and Operation of Indian Satellite System
v Use of foreign satellites for Satellite Communication purposes

The policy was formulated for national security, to acquire and distribute information and
to satisfy the societal needs and development issues. The policy lifted restriction on
supply of satellite data upto 1m resolution, established authority to acquire and
disseminate satellite remote sensing data in India. The Government was also given the
right to impose restrictions on dissemination of data when the issues of national security
or international obligations or foreign policies were in question. Though the policy is
comprehensive, the lack of space policy attributes to the distinction of the Indian space
activities which is not in hand with the growing requirements of the public. The US
commercial satellite Imagery can supply data upto 0.5 resolution which is the current
requirement of the era. In order to develop the technology and coordinate with foreign
satellite data a comprehensive space policy is the need of the hour.

50 Ajey Lele, India and Other Maturing Asian Space Enthusiasts, in YEARBOOK ON SPACE POLICY
2012/2013 271, 273 (Cenan Al-Ekabi et al. eds., 2015).

In 2015, the ISRO initiated a process for formulating a National Space Act for India for
supporting the overall growth of space activities, with enhanced levels of private sector
participation and offering more commercial opportunities.

India emerging as a serious player in the international commercial space market and
important issues of control and safety, authroization, agreements anddispute resolution
mechanisms for space activities needs to be seriously addressed and formulated by a way
of a consolidate legislation for space law. The archaic laws of contract, transfer of
property, stamp duty, registration, copyright and patent among other relevant laws must
be amended to include space related issues in order to successfully imbibe space
activities into domestic laws. The provisions for participation of private satellite systems
though permitted are not regulated properly and there exists no legal regime to protect the
operator and the government when liabilities arise. The remote sensing national policy
and the satellite communications policy are comprehensive, yet there is no rigid national
law that embodies the policy guidelines51.

6.6. Space Activities Bill, 2017

This bill was unveiled as India’s first space law and is expected to allow both public and
private players to participate in India’s space programme. The new bill will allow Indian
players to build satellites, rockets and space vehicles for our own domestic use as well as
global use.

6.6.1. What does this bill propose?

1. The provisions of the bill shall apply to all citizens of India
2. A non-transferable license will be issued by the government to persons who are

carrying space activities
3. Formulation of appropriate mechanism for licensing, eligibility shall be done by

the central government.


4. The government will maintain a register of all space objects (any object
launched or intended to be launched around the earth) and develop more
space activity plans for the country

5. It will provide professional and technical support for commercial space
activity and regulate the procedures for conduct and operation of space

6. It will ensure safety requirements and supervise the conduct of every space
activity of India and investigate any incident or accident in connection with
the operation of a space activity.

7. It will share details about the pricing of products created by space activity
and technology with any person or any agency in a prescribed manner52


Click to View FlipBook Version