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Advanced Introduction to Space Law

Frans G. von der Dunk

Frans von der Dunk, a leading authority on space law, presents a nuanced introduction to the topic, explaining the legal rules, rights and obligations applicable to activities in outer space and activities that precede operations in space. He analyzes the interaction of these elements as well as how international organizations relate to the core tenets of space legislation.
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The inner core: space law stricto sensu

Frans G. von der Dunk


In particular these structural principles would determine the applicability of any other regime of international space law largo sensu. The global commons character of outer space and the basic freedom of its exploration and use as per Articles I and III means that any other regime would have to provide either explicit or implicit-but-incontrovertible prohibitions or limitations of a certain kind before these can be found to be applicable as intended: in the absence of such clear-cut prohibitions or conditions, the baseline freedom of activity continues to apply without further ado. The responsibility and liability of States for private activities in outer space as per Articles VI and VII also applies if such activities are (partially) also ruled by regimes in the first or second rings, at least as a default (and of course, as long as the activities are really activities in outer space; downstream trade-in-services or access-to-remote-sensing-database regimes might indeed apply a different approach to private involvement in those activities). Finally, the jurisdictional tool of registration offered by Article VIII can be used for applying all sorts of originally non-space-focused regimes on board relevant spacecraft.

In addition, the Outer Space Treaty also spells out a number of broad and general substantive rules which limit the aforementioned baseline freedom in a substantive sense and thus might give rise to State responsibility, or as the case may be State liability, and the need to exercise State jurisdictional powers for ensuring compliance.

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