The Preparatory Meeting for a series of High Level Fora on the topic ‘Space as a Driver for Socioeconomic Sustainable Development’ was organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on 19 November 2015 at the Vienna International Centre. It brought together decision-makers from governments and space agencies as well as other high-ranking officials.
The series of High Level Fora will be organised from 2016 to 2018 for the preparation of the UNISPACE+50 event. This event will take place in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first UNISPACE conference, which was held in Vienna in 1968. The fora will offer the opportunity to address the economic, environmental, social, policy and regulatory dimensions of space for global sustainable development.
The Preparatory Meeting was centred upon the four pillars of Space Economy, Space Society, Space Accessibility and Space Diplomacy. These pillars will also guide the series of High Level Fora and the preparations for the UNISPACE +50 event.
More information can be found on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
During the 54th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which took place from 13-24 April 2015 in Vienna, member States agreed to put the topics of space traffic management and small satellites on the agenda of the next session of the Subcommittee.
Space traffic management is a set of technical and regulatory provisions ensuring safe access into, operations in and return from outer space to Earth. Due to the rising number of actors in outer space and the continuous increase in outer space activities this topic is currently attracting more and more attention. The increase in space actors and activities leads to a deterioration of safety in outer space and threatens the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Therefore, comprehensive regulations, including effective implementation and control mechanisms, are needed to enhance the safety and security of space activities on the long term.
Similarly, the increase in small satellite activities also makes an examination of associated regulations necessary. Small satellites have become more and more popular in recent years, as technological development has made it possible to build, launch and operate satellites at rather low cost, thus opening new opportunities for developing countries, research institutions and small business start-ups to engage in space activities. However, in order to ensure the safe and responsible use of outer space, it is necessary to be aware of the need to include small satellite missions appropriately in the scope of application of national and international regulatory frameworks.
In this context, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have recently elaborated an information hand-out on topics such as registration, authorization, debris mitigation and frequency management of small satellites.
With the decision to address the legal issues relating to space traffic management and small satellites in the Legal Subcommittee, COPUOS member States can work towards enhancing the safety of space operations for the benefit of all.
In 2014, for the second time, an Austrian team participated at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court. The European Rounds were held from 14 to 17 May 2014 at Wroclaw University in Wroclaw, Poland. The two students – Isolde Klinger und Tom Svedberg – were chosen in October 2013 out of several applications to represent the University of Vienna. The case dealt with the legal responsibility for interferences in frequencies that are used for the positioning and communication of satellites. The Austrian team was able to qualify for the semi-finals in the European Rounds and was only beaten by the winners of the finals, the team of the University of Paris XI.
Resolution with Recommendations on national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space adopted in 4th Committee of General Assembly
On 1 November 2013, the 4th Committee of the General Assembly adopted the Resolution “Recommendations on national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space” (A/C.4/68/L.2). The Recommendations had been elaborated in the Working Group on National Space Legislation within the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOUPUOS) under the chairmanship of Irmgard Marboe (Austria).
The Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of UNCOPUOS had introduced a new agenda item under a workplan entitled ‘General exchange of information on national legislation relevant for the peaceful exploration and use of outer space’ in 2007. After five years, the Working Group concluded its final report on the work conducted under its multi-year workplan in March 2012. In June 2013 the final text of the Recommendations was adopted by the Main Committee of UNCOPUOS which recommended to adopt it as a separate resolution to the General Assembly.
The final text contains ‘elements for consideration’ for States when enacting regulatory frameworks for national space activities. There are eight ‘elements’ that States could consider when enacting regulatory frameworks for national space activities:
1. Scope of application (definition of space activities targeted by national regulatory frameworks);
2. Ascertainment of national jurisdiction over space activities;
3. Authorisation by a competent national authority;
4. Conditions for authorisation;
5. Ways and means of supervision of space activities;
6. Establishment of a national register of objects launched into outer space;
7. Possible recourse mechanisms and insurance requirements;
8. Transfer of ownership or control of a space object in orbit.
Recommendations on national legislation
In the Academic year 2012/2013, an Austrian team participated at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court for the first time. The European Rounds were held from 9 – 11 May 2013 at the University La Sapienza in Rome. The Austrian team members – Sarah Germann, Laura Kiparski und Anja Nakarada Pecujlic – were chosen in October 2012 out of ten interested students. The team was coached by Prof. Irmgard Marboe, MMag. Karin Traunmüller und Mag. Michaela Hinterholzer. Also other members of the department, in particular MMag. Markus Beham, Mag. Jane Hofbauer, Mag. Peter Bachmayer, Andrea Leiter, Michael Moffatt and others gave advide and supported the Moot Court team.
ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Space Policy (Klosterneuburg)
The 22nd ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Space Policy took place between the 1 and 14 September 2013 in Klosterneuburg. It was organised by the European Center for Space Law (ECSL) with the support of the NPOC Space Law Austria. 38 students and 4 tutors from 17 States participated. 22 lecturers from practice and science familiarised the students with various issues of space law and space policy. The thematic focus of this year’s course was the current problem of space debris.
Austria was presented by six students, one tutor as well as a number of lecturers. Prof. Marboe (NPOC Space Law Austria) held two lectures, one on “National Space Legislation“, where the students had also to work in teams on various national space legislation, and on „Military Uses of Outer Space”. Prof. Brünner (University of Graz, Subpoint Graz) addressed a number of current issues in the context of space applications in his two lectures „Outer Space – Quo Vadis“, part 1 & 2.
Apart from the lectures, students had to work in small groups on the project „A European program for space debris mitigation“, the simulation of an international tendering procedure. The students’ task was to elaborate a project to prevent or mitigate space debris and present the relevant legal, financial and technical aspects.
Besides the lectures and team work a cultural program was organised for the participants, including a guided tour at the abbey Klosterneuburg and wine tasting in the abbey cellars as well as a visit of the opera “Frau Luna” at the Wiener Volksoper. Furthermore, the students enjoyed an excursion to the United Nations Vienna, where the team work was presented in front of a jury on the last day.
From April 23, 2013 – April 25, 2013, the European Navigation Conference (ENC) took place at the Austria Center in Vienna. The conference was held under the auspices of the European Group of Institutes of Navigation (EUGIN) and was hosted by the Austrian Institute of Navigation (OVN). The focus of the event was on the present status as well as on future developments in navigation systems, with a special emphasis on Galileo. Researchers, policy makers, manufacturers, users and service providers from around the world participated in the event.
For more information see the webpage of the venue www.enc2013.org/index.php/
From 8 to 19 April 2013, the fifty-second session of the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was held in Vienna.
The text of the set of recommendations on national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space could be agreed upon and was adopted by the Legal Subcommittee. This result could be achieved thanks to the efforts of Prof. Marboe, chair of the Working group on national space legislation between 2008 and 2012, and the chairman of the LSC, Tare Brisibe (Nigeria), as well as UNOOSA acting as the secretariat of the session, most importantly though Niklas Hedman and his team. The text will be considered for adoption by the Main Committee in June 2013 and later by the General Assembly at its session this autumn. Further discussions concerned, inter alia, the agenda items “Status and application of the five United Nations treaties on outer space”, “Information on the activities of international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations relating to space law”, “Capacity-building in space law” and “Review of international mechanisms for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space”. Under this latter item, Prof. Setsuko Aoki (Japan) was elected as the chair of the working group for the workplan 2014 to 2017.
For more information on the work of the session see the Draft Report of the Subcommittee and addenda www.oosa.unvienna.org/oosa/en/COPUOS/Legal/2013/docs.html
Austria’s eyes in Outer Space – The Brite project
On April 22, 2013, the TV channel ALPHA transmitted a documentary about the Austrian mission BRITE and addressed various questions concerning the two satellites „TUGSAT-1“ und „UniBRITE“launched on 25 February 2013, including issues in relation to the Austrian Outer Space Act which had been codified for this purposes.
For more information in German see http://magazine.orf.at/alpha/programm/2013/130422.htm