Questions tagged [law]

Relating to treaties, laws, ownership and disputes during the exploration of space. For non-space exploration related law questions, see our sister site Law Stack Exchange.

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What happens if Ariane V actually fails while launching JWST?

Obviously, I don't expect this. But I was thinking about it, and the importance, uniqueness, and irreplaceability of this payload is almost (?) unprecedented, especially for a transnational project. I ...
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Would it be legal for a company to build a base on Luna?

Are there any laws governing the legality of construction on Luna? If there are, who's responsible for enforcing them? At least vaguely related: moon structure ownership
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Testing our knowledge of Space Law. Which state would be liable if a Oneweb satellite collides with another satellite?

On June 27th, Oneweb launched another batch of 36 LEO satellites from Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia. The satellites separated from Soyuz at the altitude of ~400 km. Using their electric propulsion ...
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Do space transportation firms such as SpaceX receive a financial compensation if a launch is cancelled because of an airplane entering the launch zone

I read on https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/06/spacex-to-launch-second-rideshare-pressuring-small-launch-industry/ (mirror 1, mirror 2): The countdown clock got to T-11 seconds on Tuesday ...
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Does NASA need to get permission or pay royalties for music used in space?

Astronauts have often brought their own music to entertain themselves, or had music played to them to wake them up. Some of this music is audible on publicly-available mission recordings. In ...
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Who is the State of Registry for ALL the SpaceBEE satellites?

SpaceBEEs are tiny satellites engineered and exploited by the company Swarm Technologies. In 2018, it made headlines by sending 4 experimental satellites on a ride-share of the Indian rocket PSLV, ...
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Which Launching State HASN'T breached its obligations under the 1976 Registration Convention?

(the wording of my question above is voluntarily provocative, but the actual question below may be even more) The context: The 1976 Registration Convention is part of a set of Treaties that ...
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Does Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty apply to a Launching State?

The following question was asked and answered 3 years ago: might ISRO’s launch of Swarm’s satellites in 2018 be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty? Recall that the launch in ...
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If Country A's rocket hits an incorrectly declared satellite of Country B, which institution can arbitrate the dispute? Under which international law?

The related recent question Which institution regulates rocket launches of all countries? was closed as it is considered as already answered 7 years ago. I would like to submit the following scenario ...
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Does NEPA currently categorically exempt satellite systems? Is there any legal basis to Viasat's request for the FCC to consider light pollution?

Space News' Viasat asks FCC to halt Starlink launches while it seeks court ruling says: Viasat formally asked the Federal Communications Commission to stay an April 27 license modification that ...
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Who owns space junk?

Who owns space junk? There are several old satellites and rocket (second stage?) that get pushed to an orbit where they won't bother anything. Are these technically still owned by anyone (company or ...
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Regulations for cubesats designed to survive reentry and be retrieved?

I'm currently thinking about the potential of manufacturing certain items (ZBLAN, Semiconductors, Organs, Drugs, etc.) in LEO and I want to know whether it would be possible/legal to design a cubesat ...
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Are there any space capable countries without ITAR laws?

In the US, the draconian ITAR laws prevent an open source space program from being founded, and make it incredibly difficult to found any aerospace company in general. Are there any countries that ...
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Chance of ceramic board surviving re-entry on 3U CubeSat?

We're building a 3U CubeSat and have concerns about a ceramic PCB used in one of our experiments. Since ceramics have such a high melting temperature, we're not sure if the heat transfer during re-...
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Portable Starlink antennas

Starlink is slowly starting to spread their wings globally, with a recent beta launched in Canada after their initial launch in the US. Let's assume I buy the antennae/dish and their service in Canada....
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(U.S.) What paperwork do civilians need to send items into orbit or beyond?

Are civilians allowed to send objects into orbit, or even leave orbit, like send something to the moon or deep-space? If they can what kind of paperwork/waivers/licenses etc. need to be obtained ...
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Laws and Treaties for Activities in Outer Space

What are the laws and treaties that govern activities in outer space?
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What crimes have been committed or attempted in space?

What crimes have been committed or attempted in space? What are the procedures that the various space agencies have for dealing with on-orbit crime, either on the ISS or on another spacecraft? Would ...
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Legality of nuclear debris field on the Moon?

A while ago, I asked about what happens to a nuclear engine that gets smashed into the Moon. While not conclusively answered, it's likely that the contaminated area would be of significant size. But ...
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Technical considerations aside, could I legally purchase three CCBs from ULA and build my own Atlas V Heavy?

We all know and mourn that the Atlas V will never fly in a three-core configuration. What, if anything, prevents me from legally purchasing three CCBs and launching my own Atlas V Heavy, provided I ...
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Let's say I build an orbit-capable launch vehicle, what tests/certifications would the LV have to acquire to be allowed to launch payloads into orbit?

For the purpose of the question, let's assume said launch vehicle is 100% identical to Electron. What sort of tests/certifications would I have to send the rocket through in order to make it legal to ...
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5 votes
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space piracy, has it ever happened?

Recently i was watching the movie "The martian" where and that got me wondering, has something like that ever happened in real life, where someone (a person or organization) has became a ...
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How can I view the Voyager golden record images?

As a human, I'm mildly interested in seeing for myself what message we have sent to some hypothetical aliens. This NASA page displays 48 of them: https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/galleries/images-on-the-...
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Is it allowed to interact with research satelites / rovers using the radio?

Let's say I have a SDR (software defined radio) like the HackRF One at home, access to a huge amplifier circuit and a giant antenna (at my university). Is there a law that prohibits receiving / ...
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If Elon Musk wanted to bring back some Martian soil, would US permission be required?

A scenario occurred to me recently where the Chinese space program decided to go all-in on Mars sample return, and their schedule was such that it would happen before the NASA/ESA mission was ...
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Federal Limitations on Model Rocketry in India

I am hoping to find information on the rules regarding model rocket launches in India. How high can I fly? How heavy can a custom rocket be? Can I legally make and fly custom engines/motors?
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Is it legal to steal the American flag from the moon?

I'm not quite sure whether the question is correctly answered here or whether it belongs to Law Stack Exchange. Assuming I can fly into space, more precisely to the moon and back again. What laws ...
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4 votes
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Do SpaceX and other US-based launch companies get "ITAR waivers" for live-broadcasting processed telemetry data?

The 17-Feb-2016 answer to Is the Falcon 9 launch/landing telemetry data available for visualisation purposes? explains that access to telemetry data is controlled by ITAR and/or other regulations, but ...
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Can the Indian government ask SpaceX to pay for bandwidth usage in its airspace?

Any telecom operator who wants to launch their services in India has to pay billions of USD to the Indian government. My query is if I'm using SpaceX Starlink based data, can the Indian government ...
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Has there been identifiable tension against the Outer Space Treaty or other key treaties?

The Outer Space Treaty establishes a standard of international law in space. However, it contains a number of important provisions that seem very idealistic, and which might have been assented to ...
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Is it legal to sail near a Falcon-9 landing at sea?

Is it legal to pilot a sailboat near any of the autonomous spaceport drone ships? For example, is it possible to stay near "Of Course I Still Love You" during the first stage landing?
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Does SpaceX patent its inventions?

Considering that SpaceX is a private, for-profit company that likes to invent its own solutions, has SpaceX patented any of its inventions? Related questions: Do government space agencies capitalise ...
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6 votes
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Can I release rocket plans or software under open-source licensing without running afoul of ITAR?

Related, but focused on export of hardware rather than laws on publishing data: Can I make a completely ITAR-free spaceship? Quite reasonably, a launch vehicle capable of taking a payload to orbit is ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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Can you buy land (while) in space?

The question Can you buy land on the moon? does not ask about being on the Moon and purchasing land on Earth, so I thought I'd ask here instead. Can astronauts in space buy and sell property on Earth ...
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13 votes
3 answers
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Can I make a completely ITAR-free spaceship?

Edit: I need to completely rewrite this question. Is it possible (either theoretically possible, or realistically possible) for a suffciently well-funded USA-based organization to make a complete ...
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Space Situational Awareness: What Key Issues were identified (in an Evolving Landscape)?

The recent House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Hearing: Space Situational Awareness: Key Issues in an Evolving Landscape lasted about 90 minutes, the video is included below and there are ...
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Are the SpaceBEEs still "illegal" or did they eventually receive approval to operate?

This answer to Might ISRO's 2018-004 launch be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty by India? clarifies some of the actions taken against Swarm Technologies for launching some ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Possible interference in RF spectrum due to space-based internet

Multiple Commercial Operators plan to use satellite megaconstellations for providing internet coverage in near future. Is there a possibility of interference between RF spectrum already in use for ...
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Satellite Megaconstellations RF Spectrum usage for free(?)

As per my understanding, for terrestrial usage RF spectrum is auctioned by the governments before telecom operators can avail it for commercial purpose. Seems like a logical way to utilise limited ...
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What protocol is in place if an astronaut kills another astronaut in or around the ISS?

Say one astronaut murders another astronaut in or around the ISS, what would happen? Are there any protocols or instructions about what to do? Calling the space police does not seem like an option.
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Why does NASA publish all the results/data it gets?

I was curious about why NASA publishes all the results/data from its operations. Does the USA have a law that mandates it or is it a voluntary contribution to the world?
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moon structure ownership

Lets say I made a robot with a bunch of tools and landed it on the Moon (Luna). Then using remote control I instructed a robot over video/control channel to extract some resources (metals, oxigen, ...)...
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When is/will be the symposium to revisit the Karman line and consider the "McDowell line"?

In the January 16, 2019 Sixty Symbols video Where is the edge of space? Dr Meghan Gray from the University of Nottingham discusses Jonathan McDowell's paper The edge of space: Revisiting the Karman ...
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Do space agencies (specifically NASA) face legal issues when flying scientific balloons?

I'm doing a project on scientific balloons, and I can't find anything on legal issues that the missions may face. My project consists of a hypothetical mission launching over Antarctica if that helps ...
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2 votes
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Legality of Outer Space Colonization

Is it legal for a private entity to found a space colony? Ex. Build a rotating habitat in orbit around the Earth and let people live there indefinitely
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Roscosmos: Government agency, state-owned corporation, or something else?

Exactly what kind of organization is Roscosmos? An agency of the government, like NASA? We seem to treat it as such in this site. A state-owned corporation, like the old Soviet design bureaus? The ...
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Does the FAA have anything to do with landing on the Moon specifically?

The Motley Fool's Space Investors, Rejoice! There May Be Something Worth Mining on the Moon begins with: It's been four years now since Bigelow Aerospace filed its application with the Federal ...
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How does European jurisdiction in the ISS works?

This answer notes that participant nations have jurisdiction over their modules. So in a US module, you are in US jurisdiction, etc. Which means that in an European module, you are in European ...
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Does America's Birthright Citizenship law apply to the American side of the International Space Station?

In a scenario in which a pregnant Russian woman were to give birth while visiting the International Space Station, and if she were to give birth while on the American side of the ISS, would that baby ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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Who is accountable for damage caused by the debris field of a successful ASAT test

I just saw India just shot down a satellite from the ground. At what altitude range is the resulting debris field? about today's Indian ASAT test... As far as I know an "ASAT Missile" sounds military ...
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