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  • 2006 Status of the Space Law Protocol

    Paper ID



    • Paul B. Larsen


    Georgetown University Law Center


    United States




    A. The space Industry Working Group: The draft space protocol to the 2001 Cape Town Convention originates with a space industry working group. The working group has a close relationship with the governments that are negotiating the treaty instrument (the space protocol) in UNIDROIT. The industry working has very active role at the government sessions. Central to these sessions is the protocol drafted by the working group members. They are present to explain the draft protocol and answer questions. Furthermore, the government representatives are able, at the end of their sessions, to charge the industry working group with tasks to be performed before the future meetings of the government representatives. This close relationship is important because it enables the governments to create the kind of treaty that the industry needs. B. Completion of the Aviation Protocol: Several large aerospace companies like Boeing and Lockheed participate in both the aviation industry working group and in the space industry working group. These companies preferred to finish the aviation protocol first in order not to cause diversion of energy from the aviation protocol. Successful completion of the aviation protocol now enables these companies to focus more intently on the space protocol. At this final stage the working group will also benefit from more active participation of the satellite operators. C. Unresolved issues: The UNIDROIT governmental representatives have now met twice. They have identified a number of issues in need of further work by the industry working group before the governmental representatives can proceed towards finalizing the space protocol for a diplomatic conference. Therefore, the space protocol initiative is now with the industry working group to resolve several issues. Following is a list of the kinds of issues that need further work: 1. The Definition of space assets 2. The scope of the guarantee contract 3. Identification of Space assets 4. Workability of the extensive system of opt in / opt out clauses in the space protocol 5. Relationship of the space protocol to the existing space law. 6. Identification of the supervisory authority 7. Identification of the registrar of secured interests. D. Further Meeting Schedule: A joint government and industry forum has tentatively been scheduled to meet in London at the end of April 2006 to discuss further work on the space protocol. Successful completion of this meeting could result in a final diplomatic conference on the space protocol as early as 2007.