The Impact of Liability Rules on the Development of Private Commercial Human Spaceflight
Proceedings of the 54th Colloquium on the law of outer space, Young Scholars Session (2012), Forthcoming
11 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2012
Date Written: September 23, 2011
Private commercial human spaceflight, currently mainly in the form of space tourism, is one of the newest and most promising forms of human spaceflight. The liability rules that govern such flights play a decisive role, because, depending on their nature and structure, they can either promote or hamper the development of private human spaceflights. This paper focuses on the impact of the rules governing liability of spaceflight entities (SFEs), i.e. private entities involved in private commercial human spaceflight, towards spaceflight participants (SFPs), i.e. passengers of space vehicles. The analysis is made from the view of a regulatory policy, without reference to the international instruments of air and space law currently in force. First, it is examined how liability affects the development of private commercial human spaceflight. Subsequently, it is analyzed how liability rules can be structured to promote the development of private commercial human spaceflight. It is concluded that liability rules are part of the cost of private commercial spaceflight for SFEs, which influences the activity in various forms. They can contribute to the development of this activity, if there are concrete, special rules in force, which take into account its particularities and have been developed on the basis of clear policies. Such rules can be the exclusion of liability for ordinary negligence, the duty to inform SFPs on the risks of spaceflights and the establishment of core, performance - based safety standards.
Keywords: spaceflight, regulation, economic analysis of law
JEL Classification: K29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation