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Commercial Human Spaceflights: Legal Challenges for International Regulation

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Commercial Human Spaceflight – a new addition to the commercial activities in outer space – is attracting the ultra-rich section of the society. It has enormous potential to accelerate the economic aspect of commercial spaceflight since with the development of reusable technologies it is expected to become cheaper. At the same time, it poses a severe threat in various ways to the status quo of the existing regime of space regulation. Taking humans to outer space as a passenger affects the current social, psychological, political, and legal setup. The paper highlights the legal issues that are arising from commercial human spaceflights. Therefore, in section one, the article discusses applicable international law to this emerging activities. Part two details specifically on the international space law that is relevant to regulate these activities. After analyzing the existing international law on space activities in sections one and two, which are essential for the commercial human spaceflights, part three identifies several legal challenges that are not sufficiently addressed by the existing laws. Section four examines the role played by the regulatory organization to develop the space law, and the role of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has been discussed in detail. As the ICAO holds good experience in handling air transportation, many believe that the ICAO is naturally well placed to regulate commercial space transportation. This aspect has been elaborated in detail in this part. In the fifth, i.e. the last section, the authors conclude by arguing to develop a new international convention to regulate it.

About the Authors

V. Kumar
REVA University

Vijay Kumar – Assistant Professor

Bangalore, Karnatka, 560064

K. D. Raju
Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology

K. D. Raju – Professor

Kharagpur, West Bengal, 721302

S. R. Subramanian
Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology

Subramanian Ramamurthy Subramanian – Assistant Professor

Kharagpur, West Bengal, 721302


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For citations:

Kumar V., Raju K.D., Subramanian S.R. Commercial Human Spaceflights: Legal Challenges for International Regulation. BRICS Law Journal. 2021;8(3):172-223.

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