Need for International Space Safety Regulations
On 15 October 2002, a Russian Soyuz launcher exploded some twenty seconds after lift-off from the Russian Plesetsk cosmodrome. The launcher’s payload was an unmanned Foton M-1 research satellite containing 44 experiments belonging to the European Space Agency. One of the four Soyuz boosters malfunctioned after launch and lost power. It fell away from the vehicle as it is designed to do when thrust no longer holds it in place and upon impact with the ground its tanks ruptured causing a large fire that resulted in significant damage to the pad. The launcher then automatically shut down the three other boosters about twenty seconds into the launch and the entire rocket fell back, struck the ground, and exploded in a huge fireball at a location about 1 km away from the launch pad. Apparently, the supply of hydrogen peroxide to the propellant turbo pumps was blocked by a metallic object. The explosion killed a Russian soldier watching the launch from the first floor of the integration building. Fortunately, all forty engineers and scientists from various European countries involved in the preparation of the spacecraft who were also watching the launch from a location closer to the explosion but on lower ground were unharmed in the accident.
KeywordsSpace Activity Outer Space International Standard Organization Space Debris Federal Aviation Administration
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- 7.Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, Rule 6. Available online: http://www.admiraltylawguide.com/conven/collisions1972.html (last accessed: 03 January 2011).
- 8.See, P. Dempsey and M. Mineiro, “ICAO.s Role in Regulating Safety and Navigation in Suborbital Aerospace Transportation”, presented at the 2008 IAASS conference: “...while the term.airspace. and.outer space. are not clearly defined, any activity whether.space. related or.air. related that occurs or affects international civil aviation, in particular when the activity occurs in the medium of.airspace. that is traditionally utilized by civil aviation, requires co-ordination by ICAO”.Google Scholar