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  • Space... above the atmosphere, are you above the law?

  • Can you commit a crime in outer space?

  • We'll show you how the law is truly international when you're in orbit.

  • How were the first space laws set up?

  • And as space travel becomes more and more accessible,

  • can the law keep space safe?

  • You might be surprised to learn that they are actually laws in space.

  • It got started in the 1960s.

  • America and Soviet Russia were rivals on Earth.

  • They were also competing in space.

  • To keep things peaceful, theyand the United Kingdom

  • signed the Outer Space Treaty in 1967,

  • the foundation of all international space law.

  • It says, amongst other things, that space belongs to everyone,

  • that space exploration should be for the good of all.

  • It was an attempt to stop war breaking out.

  • It also bans nuclear weapons in space.

  • After that, more agreements followed,

  • saying how to protect the environment here on Earth and in space,

  • how to deal with damage in space and even how to rescue astronauts.

  • But as more countries, and even companies,

  • are trying to get into space,

  • can space law change quickly enough?

  • To tell us how this treaty was formed,

  • here's space lawyer Jessica Noble:

  • We were beginning to... to see the effects that...

  • that things like colonialism and exploitation

  • had on the rest of the world,

  • and so I believe that countries took a look at

  • the Outer Space Treaty and what they wanted

  • for this exploration into a new realm,

  • and wanted this to be an area for peaceful purposes

  • and that would be accessible to all countries,

  • regardless of their level of sophistication,

  • regardless of their...

  • their economic levels.

  • This really was to be a free space for everyone.

  • The Outer Space Treaty reflected

  • the colonial past of some of the countries.

  • It was meant to make space available for all.

  • The Outer Space Treaty came about

  • at a time period in history

  • when countries were trying to avoid

  • any escalation in nuclear activity.

  • The countries of the world wanted to stop short

  • of nuclear testing

  • or placing nuclear weapons in space,

  • and so it was a bit of a miracle

  • that you had these countries come together in 1967

  • to... to collectively say,

  • 'No, we will not continue with nuclear testing in space

  • or placing nuclear weapons in space.'

  • They understood the gravity of... of the situation

  • and came together to say, as... as humanity

  • we don't want this for space exploration.

  • And they carved space out as a...

  • a special place for all countries to explore

  • and to... to use outer space.

  • The Outer Space Treaty was partly designed

  • to stop nuclear weapons in space,

  • because of conflicts when it was written.

  • What happens if someone breaks the treaty?

  • If someone broke the treaty, there are provisions within it to...

  • to be able to allow a country

  • to bring a claim against another country

  • in the International Court of Justice.

  • And in terms of individuals, has anyone broken the law in space?

  • To date, no one has had a criminal case

  • brought against them for having...

  • for breaking the law in spacenot to my knowledge.

  • If a country breaks the law in space,

  •   the International Court of Justice would handle some cases.

  • No one has broken the law in space so far.

  • So, space law was designed to stop nuclear war

  • and make sure that space is truly for all nations.

  • But what about the future?

  • Much of space law only talks about countries.

  • But, as companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic

  • start to grow, what about the future of space travel?

  • Does the law needs to change?

  • The asteroid belt is potentially full of valuable metals,

  • worth trillions and trillions of dollars.

  • What's to stop a company doing what it wants to get that wealth?

  • And what about traffic? The more things that are in orbit,

  • the more likely they'll hit each other.

  • So, how can laws designed for countries affect companies?

  • Here's commercial space lawyer Deepika Jayakodi.

  • The countries where they come from,

  • or the countries where the companies are registered,

  • have a responsibility under international space law

  • to supervise and authorise the activities of their nationals.

  • So, in this way international law is flown down through the country

  • to individuals and private companies.

  • Countries must supervise and authorise

  • the activities of their nationals in space,

  • so they apply international laws to their companies.

  • Would these laws ever just apply to companies directly?

  • The responsibility will always be on a country to...

  • to regulate how their private companies work.

  • Just to give you an example,

  • when you are talking about space tourism

  • sending private people to space

  • the responsibility is on the countries to determine

  • how they will authorise passenger protection,

  • damages and so on.

  • A country is always responsible for making private companies

  • follow the laws of that country,

  • even if that company is in space.

  • Law normally develops from things that have happened before;

  • this is hard in space.

  • How do lawmakers make space laws?

  • So, space lawyers look at the technology

  • what the technology is meant to do,

  • how people benefit from it

  • and they go on to set up the boundaries.

  • So, they don't go into the specifics; they set up the boundaries,

  • within which we can enable this technology,

  • carry on the space activity

  • and get some use from it.

  • Space law is constantly evolving in that manner.

  • Lawmakers look at how technology is developing

  • and what laws are required.

  • There is an increasing amount of space traffic:

  • does that need an increasing number of laws?

  • There is an increasing amount of discussions on the laws,

  • in order to accommodate these...

  • these new activities in space.

  • Lawyers and regulators are thinking about:

  • how should the law change?

  • How do we make sure different interests are balanced?

  • And how do we make sure that these activities can continue

  • over a long period of time?

  • The law is always changing

  • to make sure new activities in space are done fairly,

  • and can go on into the future.

  • We have seen how space law came from a desire

  • to ensure access to space for all.

  • And, as more and more people go into space,

  • international law will always be working

  • to keep those ideals alive.

Space... above the atmosphere, are you above the law?

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World Space Week: Can you commit a crime in space?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/10/04
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