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Legal Options to Address the Challenges and Opportunities in Small Satellites

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Abstract

The surge in mega-constellations of small satellites is an aspect which is both unprecedented and unexpected. It carries opportunity and challenge in equal measure. Consequently, it would be essential to regulate this area to ensure optimal and judicious exploitation. This chapter analyses the ability of international law to address common challenges arising out of the surge in small satellites and how convergence on these challenges carries with it the potential for sustainable development of space.

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Fig. 4.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    See Brodkin (2018).

  2. 2.

    Grush (2018a).

  3. 3.

    de Selding (2015).

  4. 4.

    Table created by collating data from various sources including Larbi et al. (2017). See also Small Satellite Market and Report, Orange Silicon Valley (August 2016).

  5. 5.

    There exists no commonly accepted standard of small sat size. However, most literature takes the NASA standards into account. See Mabrouk (2015).

  6. 6.

    David (2017).

  7. 7.

    Erik Kulu, “Nanosatellites by Organisation”, Nanosatellite Database online: http://www.nanosats.eu/ (accessed 19 April 2018).

  8. 8.

    Wall (2013).

  9. 9.

    Clark (2013).

  10. 10.

    NASA (2014).

  11. 11.

    AMSAT-UK (2014).

  12. 12.

    Whitman (2017).

  13. 13.

    Jakhu and Pelton (2014).

  14. 14.

    For details, see Grush (2018b).

  15. 15.

    ITU Constitution, supra note 71.

  16. 16.

    For details on allocation and allotment procedures, see Jakhu (2016).

  17. 17.

    Freeland (2015).

  18. 18.

    Erik Kulu, “Nanosats and Cubesats Database” online: https://www.nanosats.eu (accessed 2 June 2018).

  19. 19.

    UN Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), “On Line Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space”, online: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/osoindex/search-ng.jspx?lf_id= (accessed 6 June 2018).

  20. 20.

    “Colombia Launches First Satellite” Space Daily.Com (April 2007) online: https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Colombia_Launches_First_Satellite_999.html (accessed 10 June 2018).

  21. 21.

    Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 27 January 1967, 610 UNTS 205 [OST], Article 1.

  22. 22.

    For details, see Venturini (2017).

  23. 23.

    Cummings (2014).

  24. 24.

    Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, 29 March 1972, 961 UNTS 187 (in force 1 September 1972).

  25. 25.

    Radio Regulations of the Radio Regulations Board, International Telecommunication Union, compiled in Radio Regulations, (Geneva: International Communications Union, 2012) at 1.

  26. 26.

    OST, supra note 24, Article VI.

  27. 27.

    For details, see Masson-Zwaan (2012, 2016), Palkovitz and Zwan (2015).

  28. 28.

    Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, 14 January 1975, 1023 UNTS 15 (in force 15 September 1956) [Reg Conv].

  29. 29.

    Ibid. Preamble.

  30. 30.

    See Sheetz (2018).

  31. 31.

    Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, 29 March 1972, 961 UNTS 187 [LC].

  32. 32.

    Ibid. Article II.

  33. 33.

    Jakhu and Pelton, supra note 14 at 63.

  34. 34.

    OST, supra note 24, Article III.

  35. 35.

    The Trail Smelter Arbitration Case (US vs. Canada) 1938/41 3 RIAA 1905; (1939) 33 AJIL 182; (1941) 35 AJIL 684.

  36. 36.

    UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Doc FCCC/INFORMAL/84;1771 UNTS 165; 1995 UKTS 28, Cm 2833; 1992 31 ILM 851-73 (1992).

  37. 37.

    Declaration of the UN Conference on Human Environment, 11 ILM 1416 (16 July 1972), online: http://www.un-documents.net/unchedec.htm (accessed 24 July 2018).

  38. 38.

    Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict, Advisory Opinion, [1996] ICJ Rep 226 at para 29 (240).

  39. 39.

    Lyall and Larsen (2017), at 249.

  40. 40.

    Tallis (2015), Walker et al. (2001).

  41. 41.

    The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, A/CONF.151/26, (2012), online: http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm (accessed 27 July 2018).

  42. 42.

    Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, UN Doc. A/34/664, New York, 5 December 1979 [Moon Agreement], Article IV.

  43. 43.

    IADC Steering Group (2017a), at 4.

  44. 44.

    For details, see Ohnishi (2018).

  45. 45.

    IADC Steering Group (2017b).

  46. 46.

    Ibid.

  47. 47.

    Ibid.

  48. 48.

    Jakhu et al. (2011), at 27–31. Also, Jakhu and Pelton, supra note 183; and Jakhu et al. (2017).

  49. 49.

    IADC Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines, IADC-02-01 (September 2007) at 5.

  50. 50.

    U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1990).

  51. 51.

    IADC Guidelines, supra, note 52.

  52. 52.

    Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union 22 December 1992, Vol. 1825, 1–31251 (in force 1 July 1994) [ITU Constitution], Article 44.

  53. 53.

    ITU, “WRC-19 Agenda and Relevant Resolutions”, online: https://www.itu.int/oth/R1402000001/.

  54. 54.

    As per ESA, as of January 2017, there are 29,000 objects bigger than 10 cm in size, 750,000 objects from 1 to 10 cm and 166 million objects from 1 mm to 1 cm. Ref ESA “Space Debris by Numbers”, online: https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Debris/Space_debris_by_the_numbers (accessed 11 February 2017).

  55. 55.

    Union of Concerned Scientists, UCS Satellite Database, online: https://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-weapons/space-weapons/satellite-database#.Wx6A4YpKjIV (accessed 29 July 2018).

  56. 56.

    OST, supra note 24, Article IX.

  57. 57.

    Garnett and Parson (2016), Stacey (2016).

  58. 58.

    Consolidated Statement of Continuing ICAO Policies and Associated Practices Related Specifically to Air Navigation, Assembly Res A36-13, Appendix A, ICAO Doc 9902 (2007).

  59. 59.

    Ibid.

  60. 60.

    UNCOPUOS “Debris Mitigation Guidelines”, online: http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/publications/st_space_49E.pdf (accessed 29 July 2018).

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Nair, K.K. (2019). Legal Options to Address the Challenges and Opportunities in Small Satellites. In: Small Satellites and Sustainable Development - Solutions in International Space Law. SpringerBriefs in Law. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-18620-3_4

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