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Space Law (Level 5)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Dr Damian Bielicki
  • Assessment: a 3500-word essay (100%)

Module description

In this module we will look into the legal regime governing outer space and its implications on scientific and technological developments. We also focus on how recent technological developments influence the development of space law and policy.

We start with the analysis of development of space law and fundamental principles applicable to outer space, and then go on to look into the legality of some of the recent developments like the claim of sovereignty and property rights over the outer space and celestial bodies, sale or leasing of orbits and spectrums, human habitation in outer space, militarisation and weaponisation of space, plans to conduct inventions in outer space and increasing private space activities, including space tourism. Apart from the legal developments on the international level, we will also cover the developments of space law at national level by analysing the laws passed by some of the space-faring nations.

Indicative syllabus

  • An introduction to space law (historical background, basic definitions, major treaties, documents and bodies governing space activities, information on career in the space sector - space law jobs)
  • National space legislations and policies and the European Space Program
  • Space colonisation
  • Data applications (satellite telecommunications fundamentals, remote sensing and direct-broadcast satellite television)
  • Contracting for space (typology of contracts in the space sector)
  • Space, industry and society (astrobiology, space tourism, space weddings and hotels, crowdfunding of space activities)
  • Legal aspects of militarisation and weaponisation of space
  • Environmental aspects of space activities (space debris, planetary protection)
  • Science fiction, space and law
  • International collaboration and space activities (case studies, International Space Station, miniaturised satellites, dispute settlement)