Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy

Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy

Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy

Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy

Synopsis

This second edition takes account of the important changes that have swept the field since the end of the Cold War, including the rapid growth and change in commercial space-launch services, increasingly important issues of international trade in space-related goods and services, the expansion of space-based communications services, and the move to rethink- and perhaps rewrite- the Moon Treaty. Charting the legal and political outlines of the last frontier, the volume offers extensive excerpts from major works in the field of space law to provide a sense of the many different interests and schools of thought that are shaping space policy.

Excerpt

Almost eight years have passed since the first edition of this book went to the publisher. In writing it, we attempted to produce a work that would be useful in the sometimes contradictory roles of classroom text and self-teaching tool for interested lawyers, academics, and laypersons. Judging from the many gratifying reviews that the first edition received, we were generally successful. However, the passage of time changes many things, and we considered it important to keep this book up to date. Although some aspects of space law remain largely unaltered, others--particularly in the fast-growing field of commercial space activity (both in terms of its regulation, and of the international trade friction that it creates) and the contentious area of control over space resources--have changed a great deal. Our updating efforts have thus been greatest in those departments. We have also given additional attention to the burgeoning topic of space environmental issues. When the first edition of this book appeared, that subject had received little attention, and some thought our brief treatment somewhat daring for its mere existence. That has changed now, with topics like orbital debris and planetary protection receiving considerable attention in the literature, an expansion that has been matched in our treatment as well. And, naturally, the entire book has been brought up to date with reference to changes in the literature, the statutory background, and the general climate.

Of course, the greatest change that has occurred since the publication of the first edition is the apparent end of the Cold War, along with the breakup of the former Soviet Union into its various constituent states. Formally, this is of relatively little importance to the field of space law, as those constituent states, particularly the Russian Federation, remain adherents to all of the important international agreements. Realistically, however, the shift from a bipolar Cold War world to a multipolar post-Cold War world is of enormous importance for outer space policy, as the field is itself virtually a creation of the Cold War. The exact consequences of this change continue to be played out, and we do not pretend to be able to predict them all. However, we have done our best to anticipate and point out those features of space law that are most dependent on Cold War assumptions or politics, and suggest how those might change in the post-Cold War era. The rest, as the old mathematics textbooks used to say, is left as an exercise for the reader.

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