Law, College of


Date of this Version



Published (as Chapter 4) in Humans in Outer Space — Interdisciplinary Odysseys, ed. Luca Codignola, Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, and Nicolas Peter (Springer Vienna, 2009), pp. 148-161; doi: 10.1007/978-3-211-87465-3 (Volume 1 of Studies in Space Policy series). Used by permission.


This article focuses on the special context where humans from various nations work and live together in one orbiting laboratory, the International Space Station (ISS), and the legal rules pertinent to those activities. This essentially concerns the application of an existing body of international treaties on space and space activities to the ISS, as well as the special legal framework that has been established to deal with the various ramifications of this very international operating environment. Within that context moreover, the specific European parameters stemming from the fact that the European Space Agency (ESA) serves as the vehicle for the participation of 11 European states in the ISS deserve special attention. The totality of this set of rules, though in several instances not yet elaborated as extensively as might be desired, does provide for a dedicated comprehensive legal framework that may serve as an interesting example of international space law also with a view to future developments.