Space law is a relatively new branch of law, roughly starting in 1957 with the launch of the Sputnik I, the first satellite in space. Space law consists of international space law, governing the activities of States and international intergovernmental organizations, and national space law, governing the activities of individual countries and their nationals. Advancing technology and scientific progress extend human activities in space more and more. These developments will require new regulations of business activities, space tourism, the problem of dangerous space debris in combination with space traffic management, rescue missions, contracts for space mining expeditions, property rights on celestial bodies and encounters with alien entities.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research in the field of Space Law. It provides the basic materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject heading (keywords) Space Law is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
Sources of international law
- Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (London, Moscow, Washington D.C., 22 April 1968)
- Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (London, Moscow, Washington, D.C., 29 March 1972)
- Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (New York, 14 January 1975)
- Moon Treaty, Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (New York, 5 December 1979)
- Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (London, Moscow, Washington, D.C., 27 January 1967)
UN Declarations and Resolutions
The resolutions and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council may provide valuable information on outer space activities and space law. Although they cannot themselves constitute international law or serve as conclusive evidence of a rule of customary law, such resolutions do have value in providing evidence of existing or emerging law. This point of view has been acknowledged by the International Law Commission.
As every Member State has been recognized and has a vote in the UN General Assembly, finding General Assembly resolutions that passed unanimously or near-unanimously may serve as an excellent starting point in the legal research process. Pay attention to the language of the resolution. Those with firm obligations versus those that are merely aspirational or advisory in nature are more likely to be considered valuable as evidence of customary international law.
→ Official Document System Search. ODS is the UN's Official Document System. You can search for UN declarations, resolutions and other documents by keywords, then narrow your search.
- Cheng, B., Studies in International Space Law, Oxford, Clarendon Press, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997.
- Dunk, F. von der, and F. Tronchetti, (eds.), Handbook of Space Law, Cheltenham; Northampton, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015.
- Gangale, T., How High the Sky? The Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space and Territorial Airspace in International Law, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2018.
- Hobe, S., Space Law, München, C.H. Beck, 2019.
- Hobe, S. (ed.), Pioneers of Space Law, Leiden; Boston, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013.
- Masson-Zwaan, T. and M. Hofmann, (eds.), Introduction to Space Law, Alphen aan den Rijn, Wolters Kluwer, 2019.
Selected books and articles
- Achilleas, P. and Hobe, S. (eds.), Fifty Years of Space Law, Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations Publication, Académie de droit international de La Haye, Leiden, Boston, Brill, Nijhoff, 2020. [e-book]
- Bergamasco, F. [et al.], Cybersecurity: Key Legal Considerations for the Aviation and Space Sector, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2020.
- Bittencourt Neto, O. de O., Hofmann, M., Masson-Zwaan, T. and Stefoudi, D. (eds.), Building Blocks for the Development of an International Framework for the Governance of Space Resource Activities: a Commentary, The Hague, Eleven International Publishing, 2020.
- Bories, C. et L. Rapp (dirs.)., L'espace extra-atmosphérique et le droit international, Société française pour le droit international. Colloque (54th: 2021: Toulouse, France), Paris, Editions Pedone, 2021.
- Borowitz, M., "Legal Considerations and Future Options for Space Situational Awareness", Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 48 (2020), No. 3, pp. 695-709.
- Byers, M. and A. Boley, Who Owns Outer Space?: International Law, Astrophysics, and the Sustainable Development of Space, Cambridge; New York, Cambridge University Press, 2023.
- Cakir, T., "Le recours aux accords internationaux dans le cadre d'une opération spatiale", Revue allemande de droit aérien et spatial, 69 (2020), No. 3, pp. 485-511.
- Chen, Z., "Theoretical Territoriality Paradox for the Intellectual Property Protection in Outer Space and Its Regulatory Approach for Reconciliation", Journal of East Asia and International Law, 13 (2020), No. 1, pp. 53-74.
- Deplano, R., “Inclusive Space Law: The Concept of Benefit Sharing in the Outer Space Treaty.” International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 72 (2023), No.3, pp. 671–714.
- Deplano, R., "The Artemis Accords: Evolution or Revolution in International Space Law?" International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 70 (2021), No. 3, pp. 799-819.
- Cruzen, C., M. Schmidhuber, Y.H. Lee and B. Kim (eds.), Space Operations: Contributions from the Global Community, Cham, Springer Nature, 2017.
- Di Pippo, S., M. Woltran and M. Stasko, "Preserving Space Environment through Multilateralism: the United Nations and Contemporary Space Challenges", Zeitschrift für Luft- und Weltraumrecht, 69 (2020), No. 2, pp. 288-307.
- Dongar, O., L'évolution de la finalité des activités spatiales: un défi pour le droit de l'espace, Paris, Éditions A. Pedone, 2020.
- Dunk, F.G. von der, Advanced Introduction to Space Law, Cheltenham, Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2020.
- Freeland, S., "Applying the Jus in Bello to Military Uses of Outer Space: A Square Peg in a Round Hole?", in P.M. Sterns, L.I. Tennen and E. Fasan (eds.), Private Law, Public Law, Metalaw and Public Policy in Space: a Liber Amicorum in Honor of Ernst Fasan, Cham, Springer, 2016, pp. 109-122.
- Froehlich, A. and V. Seffinga (eds.), National Space Legislation: a Comparative and Evaluative Analysis, Cham, Springer, 2018.
- Froehlich, A. and V. Seffinga (eds.), The United Nations and Space Security: Conflicting Mandates between UNCOPUOS and the CD, Cham, Springer, 2020.
- Frohloff, J., "Per arbitrum ad astra", Journal of international arbitration, 37 (2020), No. 6, pp. 721-729.
- Gale, C.E., "The international legality of military operations in outer space and available methods to respond to space-based aggression", 44 (2022) Houston journal of international law, No. 3, pp.. 515-541.
- Grunert, J., The United States Space Force and the future of American space policy: legal and policy implications, Leiden, Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2022.
- Harrington, A.J., "Preserving Humanity's Heritage in Space: Fifty Years after Apollo 11 and Beyond", Journal of Air Law and Commerce, 84 (2019), No. 3, pp. 299-378.
- Hobe, S., "The Artemis Accords: What they Mean for the Development of International Space Law", Zeitschrift für Luft- und Weltraumrecht = German journal of air and space law, 70 (2021), No. 1, pp. 1-12.
- Jirik, A.-K., Is the use of outer space according to the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967 sustainable? : a legal analysis of the OST in light of the concept of sustainable development de lege lata et ferenda , Köln, Carl Heymanns Verlag, 2021.
- Kurlekar, A., "Space - The Final Frontier: Analysing Challenges of Dispute Resolution Relating to Outer Space", Journal of International Arbitration, 33 (2016), No. 4, pp. 379-416.
- Lai, A.K., The Cold War, the Space Race, and the Law of Outer Space: Space for Peace, Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge, 2021.
- Lee, R.J., Law and Regulation of Commercial Mining of Minerals in Outer Space, Dordrecht, Springer, 2012.
- Mejía-Kaiser, M., The Geostationary Ring: Practice and Law, Leiden, Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2020. [e-book]
- Pislevik, S., "Law Without Gravity: Arbitrating Space Disputes at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Relevance of Adverse Inferences", Journal of Space Law, 43 (2019), No. 2, pp. 280-308.
- Pop, V., Who Owns the Moon?: Extraterrestrial Aspects of Land and Mineral Resources Ownership, Berlin, Springer, 2009.
- Salmeri, A., "The Integration between National and International Regulation of Space Resource Activities under Public International Law", Journal of space law, 43 (2019), No. 1, pp. 60-84.
- Steer, C. and Hersch, M. (eds.), War and Peace in Outer Space: Law, Policy, and Ethics, Oxford, OUP, 2021.
- Weeks, Edythe E., Outer Space Development, International Relations and Space Law: a Method for elucidating Seeds, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012.
- Wouters, J., Ph. De Man and R. Hansen (eds.), Commercial Uses of Space and Space Tourism: Legal and Policy Aspects, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.
- Zannoni, D., "The Liability Regime for Private Activities in Outer Space: is there a Normative Gap?", Archiv des Völkerrechts, 59 (2021), No. 1, pp. 1-26.
Periodicals, serial publications
- Air & Space Law
- Annals of Air and Space Law
- Aviation / Aerospace Law and Policy Series
- Cologne Commentary on Space Law
- Essential Air and Space Law
- Forum for Air and Space Law
- Journal of Air Law and Commerce
- Journal of Space Law
- Proceedings of the … Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space
- Revue française de droit aérien et spatial
- Schriften zum Luft- und Weltraumrecht
- Studies in Space Law
- Utrecht Studies in Air and Space Law
- Yearbook on Space Policy
- Zeitschrift fur Luft- und Weltraumrecht
- Baranes, B., "Bibliography of Space Policy Publications 2014", in C. Al-Ekabi (et al.) (eds.), Yearbook on Space Policy 2014: the Governance of Space, Wien, Springer, 2016, pp. 303-316.
- HeinOnline Air and Space Law Bibliography
- Hogan, J.C., "Space Law Bibliography", Journal of Air Law and Commerce, 23 (1956), No. 3, pp. 317-325.
- Fifty Years of Space Law – Space Law in 50 Years: Selected Bibliography = Cinquante ans de droit de l'espace - le droit de l'espace dans 50 ans: bibliographie sélective, The Hague, Peace Palace Library, 2017. This bibliography has been compiled exclusively from materials available in the Peace Palace Library for the use of the researchers of the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations of The Hague Academy of International Law.
- White, I.L., C.E. Wilson and J.A. Vosburgh, Law and Politics in Outer Space: A Bibliography, Tucson, AZ, University of Arizona Press, 1972.