Astronauts and Space Tourists: Kindred Entities

Nirma University Law Journal: Volume-1, Issue-2, January-2012

15 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020

Date Written: January 1, 2012


Astronauts, as envoys of mankind, were first referred to in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1962 (XVII). This resolution was unanimously adopted by the member states on December 1963. It is seen that this principle was incorporated later in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Article V of the Outer Space Treaty declares that astronauts shall be regarded as the “envoys of mankind”. To give teeth to this declaration of astronauts as envoys of mankind, the Agreement on the Rescue and the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects was adopted. The concept of Astronauts as Envoys of Mankind has in the present day raised quite a few controversial questions, of which there are no clear answers. The most important being, who is an ‘astronaut’? This question becomes relevant in this era of space tourism, where doubts have been raised as to whether the space tourists would come into the ambit of the term astronauts? There is also question mark as to whether the drafters of the treaty intended to include them within the purview of astronauts and entitle them with the rights and immunities which have been given to the astronauts.

Keywords: astronauts, space tourists, entities

Suggested Citation

Bhattacherjee, Dipayan, Astronauts and Space Tourists: Kindred Entities (January 1, 2012). Nirma University Law Journal: Volume-1, Issue-2, January-2012, Available at SSRN:

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