Activities in space - appropriation or use?

Abstract: This Thesis is a work of public international law, more specifically of international space law. The Thesis deals with the question of whether different activities in outer space and on celestial bodies are permitted under the rules of freedom of use in the law of outer space or whether some activities amount to appropriation of space, which is banned. This question is of growing importance with the increased intensity of use of outer space. The importance of private actors in outer space provides another factor, which complicates the legal situation. Existing law of outer space, in the form of treaties as well as customary law provides a large number of legal rules for the exploration and use of outer space. Most of these are quite general. It is clear that national appropriation of space is banned, whereas use of space is permitted. The use of space shall be the province of mankind. Existing space law was to a large extent created some time ago, against a different background of space use, with exploration rather than exploitation and with a limited number of actors. Space law needs to be Complemented by more specific rules and by a system to ensure the implementation of these rules. The Thesis examines existing space law and the work of the organisations active in space law. Novel elements of space law, like the agreement on the international space station are examined. Different uses of space are studied to determine what is permitted use and what is banned appropriation. The importance of the provisions on province of mankind and the more elaborate common heritage of mankind to determine the nature of different uses of space are studied. The importance of functional cooperation for space, to achieve a balance between the different interests is evaluated. The Thesis provides an overview over existing space law, highlights the deficiencies and suggests a way forward to achieve a use of space which is feasible, beneficial to mankind and in accordance with the principles of non-appropriation and freedom of use.

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