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Crossing a Rubycon? The International Legal Framework for ISOs – Before and After Privatisation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses the activities of international satellite organisations (ISOs), former ISOs and private satellite operators from the perspective of the four principal international space law treaties, consisting of the Outer Space Treaty, the Rescue and Return Agreement, the Liability Convention and the Registration Convention. It considers a United Nations Resolution dealing specifically with Direct Broadcasting by Satellite. The chapter focuses on the privatisation of a handful of organisations which in their original versions: International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (INTELSAT), the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (INMARSAT) and the European Telecommunication Satellite Organisation (EUTELSAT). The privatisation process did not result in the complete elimination of intergovernmental organisations (IGO) structures. The chapter concludes that even under the four space treaties, the apparent recognition of IGOs as a special type of entity, upon closer analysis, did not provide them much of a legal status and role as independent from their member states.

Keywords: European Telecommunication Satellite Organisation (EUTELSAT); intergovernmental organisations (IGO); International Mobile Satellite Organisation (INMARSAT); International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (INTELSAT); Liability Convention; Outer Space Treaty; privatisation process; Registration Convention



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