Vol. 14, No. 2, October 2011

Space Law

[Updated 7/09/12]


International Institute of Space Law

The International Institute of Space Law (IISL) was founded in 1960 to work with international organizations and national institutions to develop further the field of Space Law. Currently IISL has individual and institutional members, elected from over 40 countries, that are distinguished for their contributions to or have a proven interest in the field of Space Law development. The Institute holds annual colloquia on Space Law. Law students interested in Space Law are invited to compete in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, held annually since 1992.

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) began in 1958 as a small unit of experts assisting the ad hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Today UNOOSA promotes intergovernmental discussions about space in various U.N. Committees and assists developing countries in using space technology. The office prepares legal studies on various aspects of Space Law to help member States implement International Space Law agreements. The U.N. Space Law website contains an abundance of resources on Space law from U.N. Treaties and Principles on Space Law to a list of international agreements and other available legal documents relevant to space law. UNOOSA’s webpage also has a very helpful list of Space Law Links.

U.S. Code Title 51 

Title 51 of the U.S. Code entitled “National and Commercial Space Programs,” compiles the general laws of the United States regarding space programs. There has been a substantial amount of legislation on space programs over the last 50 years appearing in various titles of the U.S. Code, but Title 51 is the first title to exist in the U.S. code solely for space programs. It does not provide for new space programs, nor modify or repeal any existing space programs, but rather restates existing law while improving its organizational structure. For a volume of the Journal of Space Law (mentioned below) dedicated to the enactment of Title 51, click here.

Journal of Space Law 

Though the state of Mississippi may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of outer space, the University of Mississippi organized and hosted the first International Space Law conference in the summer of 1969. Since then, the University has had a rich history with its Space Law program. The Journal of Space Law has been in print since 1973, published first by the University of Mississippi and since 2001 by the University’s National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law. The Center, founded in 1999, researches and disseminates legal research materials on Space Law and related fields. The Journal’s website offers links to both current and back issues (except for the most recent back issues) so that interested law students can educate themselves on Space Law.

NASA Office of the General Counsel

The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice on all aspects of National Aeronautics and Space Administration activities and ensures that NASA comports with statutory and regulatory requirements. The Office of the General Counsel is organized into several legal practice groups: Acquisitions Integrity; Commercial & Intellectual Property; Contracts & Procurement; General Law; and International Law. On the right hand side of the webpage for the Office of the General Counsel of NASA you can find such great Space Law resources as The National Aeronautics and Space Act and the NASA Policy Directive 1050.1I, “Authority to Enter into Space Act Agreements.

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