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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter applies the transnational law approach to the space field. It introduces the space-Earth relationship in society and law from ancient times and how this altered with revolutions in thought, science, and technology. It then describes how German wartime and postwar strategic developments culminated in the turning point Sputnik represented for geopolitics, science, and space norms formation. A transnational space science community arose, while a process of superpower Cold War diplomacy at the United Nations and outside it arrived at understandings amplified in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. This and the other UN space treaties, along with subsequent UN consensus principles, are reviewed, with discussion also of why the 1979 Moon Agreement failed to gain critical mass. The chapter identifies transnational regimes, forms of space cooperation, the centrality of space policy, and the status of national space lawmaking. Space debris and congestion as well as the potential for unilateralism are among current challenges as the “New Space” era opens. Such challenges engage us all, space activities being the province of all humankind.

Keywords: space law, space-Earth relationship, Sputnik, New Space, Outer Space Treaty, space organizations, space cooperation, space policy, space debris, space traffic management

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