Can we actually do that? The future of Space Law - Orbit 11.38


While Space Law may not sound super fun on the surface, it is one of those things that will directly impact our ability to explore the cosmos. Who is allowed to own what parts of space? What happens if someone is injured by your space debris? Space Law Advisor to the Secure World Foundation Chris Johnson joins us this week to talk over some of the things that the aerospace industry needs changed and maybe a few things you have never even thought of before!

Orbital Launches:

  • Ariane5’s 100th launch
  • Kuaizhou 1A rocket

Space News:

  • Differential rotation speeds observed in other stars
  • More Vulcan stuff… but this time it’s a rocket
  • Martian moons’ origin stories EXPOSED (kinda)


Something that Chris Johnson said reminded me of something you (the hosts) occasionally bring up regarding the running tally of who launched how often. Now and then, you mention that you are not sure who to assign certain launches - particularly Soyuz launches from Kourou - and you’d be interested in feedback and ideas regarding that.

Well, here is something! Chris Johnson talked about how to define “launching states”, and that in space law, it is primarily important who is shouldering responsibility in case something goes wrong.

And for launches from Kourou, that would be ESA primarily, France and/or the European Union secondary. Russia does provide the launch vehicle, and would have to be troubleshooting it for issues in case it failed, but strictly speaking Russia is an equipment supplier here, and not a “launching state” as defined by space law.

So that would be an argument in favor of Souyz launches from Kourou being counted towards Europe.

What do you think?


I dunno. Space law almost makes me laugh an evil, cynical laugh like Dr. Evil. The whole point of space is that we will have absolute freedom from the constraints of Earth law, and there is plenty of room and resources for everyone. It is going to be like the Old West, or other places throughout history, except that it is without limit. Sure, space law will affect a few things close to Earth, but once we truly get out into the 'verse it will be more like Firefly methinks. I think space law as a topic has more relevance in terms of, for example, on Earth we have Firefly Aerospace trying to open an R&D facility in my city of Dnipro, Ukraine. The legal hurdles from ITARS to Ukrainian Soviet-Era law are many. I say leave space law on Earth, and leave it to the Earth lawyers.