Space: An International Approach
By Team Legistify / 2017-06-29
India’s move from dependency to self-sufficiency in terms of its launching adeptness could make it the world’s launch pad. The cost-effective space programmes have attracted other nations and multinational units to enter into formal agreements with India to support them in their respective space projects and carry out satellite launches for them. The advent of commercialisation, thus, calls for revising of domestic laws, such as, the laws of contract, transfer of property, stamp duty, registration, insurance and most importantly, intellectual property rights, to contemplate space related issues.

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The article will primarily focus on the need for a codified set of space laws in India. When thinking about space laws, the first question that comes to our mind is what is space? And from where does it start? This fundamental question has been in discussion in the UN for decades and there is no specific answer to this question. Many countries have their own criteria for determining the starting point of space, but for the purpose of outer space treaties, Kármán line, a line at an altitude of 100 Km (62 miles) above the sea level is considered as outer space.

The relationship of India with space dates to the year 1963, when under the leadership of the visionary Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the country launched its first scientific satellite Aryabhatta. Over the years, India’s efforts have taken a beaming route in the areas of environmental monitoring, predicting disasters, natural resources surveys, broadcasting and communications and oceanography and meteorology through the development of Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) and Geosynchronous Satellite (GSAT).

Following the advancements of the IRS and GSAT satellites, the country developed and introduced Polar Satellite Launch vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch vehicle (GSLV), which empowered India to launch the moon mission in 2008, Chandrayaan and the Mars orbiter mission in 2014 Mangalyaan . The country has created a world record in sending 104 satellites successfully in outer space in a single launch in February 2017.

The country’s progressive and radical attitude towards the space developments is strongly influencing further space-related developments, thus the formation of a national space legislation has become inexorable. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is constantly increasing the scope of privatisation and commercialization of space assets, in order to broaden its horizons in space explorations and increase its capacity in the development of space-related discoveries. The national space legislation shall be transparent and provide for procedural as well as regulatory guidelines, enabling domestic as well as foreign industries to increase investments in this newly formed and emerging sector throughout the world.

The need for a national space legislation

India’s move from dependency to self-sufficiency in terms of its launching adeptness could make it the world’s launch pad. The cost-effective space programmes have attracted other nations and multinational units to enter into formal agreements with India to support them in their respective space projects and carry out satellite launches for them. The advent of commercialisation, thus, calls for revising of domestic laws, such as, the laws of contract, transfer of property, stamp duty, registration, insurance and most importantly, intellectual property rights, to contemplate space related issues.

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