The Little Book of Space Law

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ISBN: 9781614388753
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The term "space law" refers to the international and national laws that govern human activities in outer space. Space law was born simultaneously with the Space Age on October 4, 1957, when Earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched into orbit. Following Sputnik, the international community quickly recognized that outer space was a legal vacuum. Spacecraft have since become essential to life on Earth. They perform a wide variety of useful functions, including telecommunications, navigation, exploration, mapping, environmental monitoring, scientific research, and, more recently, space tourism. The prominence of space law has grown in recent years as private companies rapidly expand their spaceflight capabilities and open new markets in outer space.

With this transition, the space industry has many new opportunities and must also confront increased risks. Well thought-out laws that govern spaceflight activities minimize the risk to people and property in outer space and on the ground, while not prematurely stifling innovation. This book examines some of these laws and subsequent court cases.