Law, College of


Date of this Version



National Space Legislation in Europe: Issues of Authorisation of Private Space Activities in the Light of Developments in European Space Cooperation, Frans G. von der Dunk, editor. Studies in Space Law, vol. 6. Leiden: Nijhoff, 2011. Chapter 8, pp. 225–262.


Copyright 2011, Nijhoff. Used by permission.


First three paragraphs:

The inherent dual-use character of most, if not all space activities cannot fail to exercise a considerable impact also on the involvement of private actors in space. Much technology used for and/or developed by private space activities may potentially be put at the use of those wishing to change a particular political status quo, and likewise the material results of some private space activities may, consciously or inadvertently, come to be used against the national security interests of one state or another. Hence, issues of national security will likely also have an effect on the issue of authorisation of such actors on the national level. In some cases, that has led to quite general comprehensive regimes being developed for all international trade and trade-related activities concerning sensitive dual-use items, alternatively very specific regimes dealing with the security-related aspects of high-resolution remote-sensing operations involving private actors.1

In addition, however, the increasing implementation of a general approach to the licensing of private space operators with a view to (amongst others) safety and liability-related aspects also raises the issue as to what extent implementation measures address, more or less specifically, the national security– and defence-related aspects of the licensed operations concerned.

Thus, the present contribution will provide a survey of existing national space legislation—defined for the purpose as national statutes addressing in a general and comprehensive fashion private space activities falling within the jurisdiction of the state concerned—as to how reference has been made to such concerns. “Europe” being defined for the moment as the member states of the European Union and/or the European Space Agency (ESA),2 this would mean addressing on the one hand the European states Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, and—in order to provide some larger comparative perspective—on the other hand the United States, the Russian Federation, South Africa, the Ukraine, Australia, Brazil, South Korea and Canada.3