UN/Austria Symposium “Access to Space: Holistic Capacity Building for the 21st Century”

From 3 to 7 September 2017, the NPOC Space Law Austria organized together with UNOOSA and the Technical University Graz the Symposium “Access to Space: Holistic Capacity Building for the 21st Century“ in preparation of the anniversary celebrations of UNISPACE+50.

In eight panel discussions as well as several workshops, the topic capacity building was examined from different perspectives, whereby the focus was not only on capacity building in the area of space technology but, for the first time in the long-standing history of the UN/Austria Symposium, also in the area of space law.

More information on the Symposium can be found under:
http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/psa/schedule/2017/un-austria-symposium-access-to-space_-holistic-capacity-building-for-the-21st-century.html  

NPOC Evening Event “Planetary Defence: Technical, Legal and Economic Aspects” 2 February 2017

The NPOC Space Law Austria organised an evening event on the topic Planetary Defence: Technical, Legal and Economic Aspects on 2 February 2017 at the Natural History Museum Vienna.

Every day approximately 100 tons of cosmic material reaches the Earth. Most of it in the form of dust or small rocks, which burn up as meteors in the atmosphere. Sometimes, however, larger objects, asteroids or comets, enter the Earth’s atmosphere, which can cause considerable damage. The asteroid that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013 had a diameter of only 17–20 meters, yet it produced a blast wave that damaged more than 7000 buildings and injured over 1600 persons. The impact of a larger object could thus potentially cause a serious catastrophe on Earth.

Therefore, scientists are continuously searching for so called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), asteroids and comets, which could come dangerously close to Earth and pose a risk of causing severe damage. Moreover, scientists are working on various concepts for deflecting these objects. During the event, three international experts discussed the technical, legal and economic aspects of planetary defence.

Dr Line Drube from the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) gave an introduction to the NEO impact threat, deflection concepts, and the work done by the United Nations Space Mission Planning Advisory Group in this regard.

Prof Dr Frans von der Dunk, Professor of Space Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law, presented an overview of the legal aspects of planetary defence. He discussed such major issues as a responsibility to protect, liability for damage caused by planetary defence activities, institutional issues involved in global responses to NEO threats, the use of kinetic force including, as a last resort, nuclear force, and the possible involvement of the private sector in discovery and deflection activities.

Egon Döberl, CEO of the Austrian company ASA Astrosysteme, spoke about the economic aspects of planetary defence. Today fully robotic telescope systems can be used for the search and observation of NEOs. Mr Döberl presented the history, future and economic aspects of such telescope systems from the point of view of an entrepreneur.

Further information on the event can be found here.

ECSL Events 2017

The following events will be organised by the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) for students and young professionals in 2017:

Practitioners’ Forum on “Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Mega-Constellations” (17 March 2017): http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ECSL_European_Centre_for_Space_Law/Practitioners_Forum

Young Lawyers’ Symposium (18 March 2017): http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ECSL_European_Centre_for_Space_Law/Young_Lawyers_Symposium

Student Insight Day (23 March 2017, deadline to register 17 March): http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ECSL_European_Centre_for_Space_Law/Space_Insight_Day (Flyer)

Information on other ECSL events such as student get-togethers, colloquia and national industry events, will be posted on the ECSL website when information is available: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ECSL_European_Centre_for_Space_Law

Publication: “Small Satellites – Regulatory Challenges and Chances”

The publication “Small Satellites – Regulatory Challenges and Chances” edited by Professor Irmgard Marboe addresses the booming phenomenon of small satellites. The rapid innovation of technology has made it possible to develop, launch and operate small satellites at rather low cost. Universities, start-ups and also governments see the chance to access outer space more easily and inexpensively. Yet, the importance to comply with existing rules and regulations that are in place to ensure that outer space is used and explored in a safe and responsible manner is sometimes overlooked. The book addresses this challenge and shows how it can be met. The contributors are renowned academics and practitioners from many different countries that share their experiences and insights and suggest practical Solutions.

Title:                     Small Satellites – Regulatory Challenges and Chances
Editor:                 Professor Irmgard Marboe
Publisher:          Brill/Martinus Nijhoff
Series:                  Studies in Space Law 11
Series Editor:   Frans G. von der Dunk
ISBN:                    9789004312227
Publication:       March 2016

For more information see http://www.brill.com/products/book/small-satellites