Saturday, January 31, 2009

Space law documents free on line

A tip of the astronaut helmet to Prof. Joanne Gabrynowicz and company for putting these online:

The National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law is pleased to make available, without charge, Selected Space Law Documents: 2008. It is a compilation of space law documents from the year 2008 that were gathered primarily from postings placed on Res Communis from 1 January through 31 December 2008. The postings are supplemented with materials from other sources that were published in 2008 but which were published too late to be posted as a blog entry in a timely manner. The compilation is a special supplement to the Journal of Space Law, the world's oldest law review dedicated to space law. The Journal of Space Law, beginning with the first volume, is available on line through HeinOnLine.

Space law is sure to get discussed more in the coming years, with the Obama administration's emphasis on international cooperation. The President's proposal to "ban space weapons" needs a lot of fleshing out. How do you decide what is a space weapon? Any satellite with maneuvering or station-keeping ability can be maneuvered to collide with another satellite nearby. Even if you ban only dedicated space weapons, how do you enforce it? The honor system? No nation is going to allow foreign nationals to pre-inspect all its space payloads, and the use of on-orbit inspection is difficult, not just financially, but because the inspection satellites might be classified as - you guessed it - space weapons.

As usual, opinions are strictly those of the author as a private citizen. Said author wishes the President good luck in finding a system that actually works.

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