Politics of Space Law in a Post Cold War Era: Understanding Regime Change

353 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2014

Date Written: 2006


A pattern exists whereby U.S. domestic space law has exhibited a tendency of setting commercialization and privatization trends. Over time, commercialization and privatization processes became the norm for satellite telecommunications, remote sensing, space transportation & launch services, space stations and spaceports. This paper provides an overview of space law from its beginning, through its changes, and today’s new increased private-sector participation. The position taken herein is that something akin to legal precedent is in the process of being established with respect to private space tourism, private space trips, space exploration and other related space activities. Considering this legal trend - from the formation and purpose of the COMSAT Corporation to the recent political and legal issues surrounding the U.S. Orbit Act - this paper entertains possible emerging legal trends which have begun to spark. This includes possible legal implications of the New Vision for Space Exploration Policy, and for space tourism, space mining and space settlements as humankind journeys out to develop the final frontier. This dissertation sets forth the argument that a Gramscian analysis provides a more adequate explanatory framework than the mainstream theories of realism or neoliberal institutionalism as applied to the study of the outer space development regime. Neither theory explains why new actors and new actions are distinctly occurring in outer space development in the post cold War era. It also traces how the legitimation of norms is linked to free market ideology and capitalism’s dominance in the Post Cold War era. A pattern of space lawmaking exists wherein laws are created to support new industries. This situation may be contrary to the purpose of international law.

Keywords: international law, politics of international law, international space law, theories of international relations, outer space development, space miningY4

JEL Classification: Y4, F5, F54, F59

Suggested Citation

Weeks, Edythe, Politics of Space Law in a Post Cold War Era: Understanding Regime Change (2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2458127 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2458127

Edythe Weeks (Contact Author)

Northern Arizona University ( email )

PO Box 15066
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
United States

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