Space Law: Development and Scope

Space Law: Development and Scope

Space Law: Development and Scope

Space Law: Development and Scope

Synopsis

This volume presents an analysis of the historical background, current status, and future development of space law by noted legal scholars. It focuses on a distinct and growing field of international law that incorporates both public and private law. Specific areas covered are scientific and technical aspects of space and space law; the United Nations and other institutional arrangements; national regulatory aspects; satellite applications; commercialization; dispute settlement; and case law.

Excerpt

Manfred Lachs

The wealth of issues dealt with by the distinguished writers in this volume indicates the far-reaching effects of humanity's venture into outer space. It is a timely work because it reminds us of the many activities which have already been undertaken in outer space, of those which are about to begin, and of the relationships between space activities and our life on this Earth. Yet it is only 35 years ago that the first spacecraft was put into orbit, 31 years since the first human being orbited the Earth, and 23 years since the first astronaut visited the Moon and brought pieces of it back to Earth. There have been many other great achievements since then, reaching beyond the Moon to other planets, and even into interstellar space. Within this short spell of time, much has changed due to technological development and what may be called the "chemistry of time."

The undertaking of this new human venture was welcomed by many, but it was also criticized and condemned by some. Archibald MacLeish, that great poet, welcomed the voyage to the Moon and recalled how humans had thought and dreamed of it "before the first of time, before the first man tasted time." Arthur Koestler, however, had some bitter words on the subject: "Coincident with the cosmic euphoria, the world is in the grip of a cosmic anxiety. Both derive from the same source: the awareness of unprecedented power operating in an unprecedented spiritual vacuum. Prometheus is reaching out for the stars with an empty grin on his face." Such questions about the space venture were certainly in part the result of the political atmosphere in which the journey into space began. It was a time of rivalries between great powers, of armed conflicts breaking out at various points around the world, of dangers of a serious confrontation that could threaten humanity's existence. The possibility inevitably arose of outer space being used as a battleground, as a distant Armageddon. Fortunately those days are past, and we now look upon outer space as an area not of hostile competition but of cooperation and use in the interests of humanity as a whole.

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