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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 third ring: national space legislation

Frans G. von der Dunk


The role of national space legislation in addressing private sector space activities links back to the structural provisions of the Outer Space Treaty as discussed before,436 with Article VI providing for State responsibility for private sector activities in outer space as well as requiring their authorization and continuing supervision, and Article VII providing for State liability for damage caused by private sector activities, attributed through the launch of the space object causing the damage.

From that angle, there would currently be 28 countries which have national space legislation in place that provides for a system of authorization and continuing supervision437 of private sector entities, thus fulfilling most comprehensively the relevant requirement of Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty while also, by and large, taking care of State responsibility and State liability.

The most fundamental distinction to be made is that between countries which (in line with the inner core of the corpus iuris spatialis internationalis) have essentially addressed the comprehensive space sector, and those that have only by and large taken care (in line with the Northern part of the first ring) of one or the other space sector.

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