to: 28 Oct 2020




Please join us for a roundtable discussion of the increasing role of the private sector in shaping international space law.

The 20th Century “Space Race” was primarily defined by the actions of States trying to achieve spacefaring milestones. However, the last few decades have seen a growing role for private actors in defining new ambitions and carrying out activities in space. Private actors have, for example, provided launch services to governments and commercial entities, including the development of “smallsat” constellations on a scale orders of magnitude higher than before. Private actors have also taken the lead in developing technology for space mining.

International space law places the responsibility for regulating space with States, a reflection of its origins and the nature of international law itself. The proliferating activities and ambitions of private actors layer imperfectly onto the current regulatory regime. Panellists will discuss the questions and challenges raised and the role of the private sector in shaping international space law in the coming decades. Topics will include regulating resource extraction and access to spectrum, assigning liability for collisions, and dealing with increasing orbital debris. The panel will also discuss how the legal regime for space can draw on the international community’s past experience and terrestrial legal regimes.