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Environmental Impact Assessment in the Space Sector

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sheds light on the assessment of environmental impacts of space activities. It covers more or less the whole spectrum of the law of outer space as far as the assessment of environmental impacts is concerned. It then outlines the need for and challenges related to environmental impact assessment (EIA) in the space sector. The chapter examines different kinds of environmental assessment provisions of existing instruments that govern the conduct of space activities. As there exist no international treaty obligations necessitating EIAs, the examination focuses on international legally nonbinding norms and national regulation. This is followed by a case study that deals with an on-going space mission of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for which the EIA documentation available is rather extensive. After the case study, the chapter ponders future prospects for environmental assessment in the space sector.

Keywords:environmental impact assessment (EIA); international legally nonbinding norms; national regulation; space activities; space sector; U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration



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