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Models for Codifying International Rules for Jurisdiction, Liability, Safety and Accident Investigation for Commercial Passenger Spaceflight

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The prospect of commercial passenger spaceflight presents an unique opportunity to the space community, comprised not only of the scientists, engineers, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, but also diplomats, governments, policy makers and legislators, to formulate an internationally acceptable set of requirements, standards and procedures that would give international consistency to operators of commercial passenger spaceflight, both for space tourism and for terrestrial transportation. It is important that the international community avail itself of this opportunity before various countries decide to become “flags of convenience” or to impose more stringent standards than overseas operators can comply with so as to protect a budding industry of their own. This article will explore, from parallels in maritime law and civil aviation law, and drawing from existing domestic examples of regulation, what lessons may be learnt from such existing bodies of law and regulation that may provide some guidance for the future formulation of regulations for on range safety, flight safety or accident investigation relating to commercial passenger spaceflight.

Affiliations: 1: Special Counsel, Schweizer Kobras, Australia,; 2: Fellow, Lecturer and Director of Studies in Law, Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


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