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LIABILITY RELATED TO SPACE TOURISM ACTIVITIES. WHAT IS SPACE TOURISM - Orbital v . Sub - Orbital WHICH LAW APPLIES: AIR LAW OR SPACE LAW - 5 Approaches THE LIABILITY CONVENTION - State Liability and Damages NATIONAL SPACE LEGISLATION - A Model PRIVATE CLAIMS UNDER NATIONAL LAW

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liability related to space tourism activities
LIABILITY RELATED TO SPACE TOURISM ACTIVITIES

WHAT IS SPACE TOURISM - Orbital v.Sub-Orbital

WHICH LAW APPLIES: AIR LAW OR SPACE LAW - 5 Approaches

THE LIABILITY CONVENTION - State Liability and Damages

NATIONAL SPACE LEGISLATION - A Model

PRIVATE CLAIMS UNDER NATIONAL LAW

  • International Air Law Conventions
    • Rome Convention – third-party liability
    • Montreal Conventions – passenger liability
  • National Law
    • Products Liability
    • Tort Causes of Action
      • On the ground
      • In the air
      • In outer space
what is space tourism
WHAT IS SPACE TOURISM?

ORBITAL SPACE TOURISM

  • Example: Dennis Tito aboard the ISS for $20 million

SUB-ORBITAL SPACE TOURISM

  • Example: SpaceShipOne, winner ofAnsariX-Prize in 2004
which law applies air law or space law
WHICH LAW APPLIES: AIR LAW OR SPACE LAW

1. Spacialist Approach- determine a fixed boundary between air and space

  • Aerodynamic Lift
  • Lowest Perigee Demarcation
  • Orbital

2. Functional Activities Approach –nature or purpose of the activity.

  • Air law applies to vehicles doing airplane things
  • Space law should apply to space objects
  • Assumes preference for a uniform legal regime

3. Function Status of the Vehicle Approach

  • Design of aircraft versus spacecraft determines if air or space activity

4. Staggered demarcation - synthesizes the other theories

  • Uses a buffer zone

5. No Demarcation Needed

  • No legal or practical problems to address
the liability convention
THE LIABILITY CONVENTION

A. State Liability

States bear international responsibility for their activities in outer space

Who has to pay?

  • Launching state that launches or procures the launching of a space object
  • State from whose territory or facility a space object is launched.

B. Damages Covered Under the Liability Convention's Regime

Only third party liability caused by the space object

  • Absolute liability for damage on the ground or to aircraft in flight
  • Negligence if the damage occurs in space

Problems:

  • Dispute resolution
  • Action only by a state

Absolute liability motivates nations to limit their liability. How?

national space legislation us
NATIONAL SPACE LEGISLATION: US

Indemnification

  • First $500 million insurance
  • Government indemnifies against excess liability for another $1.5 billion
  • Over $2 billion is the responsibility of the launch provider

Reciprocal Waivers

  • Launch providers and operators must execute reciprocal waivers
  • Participants and crew give up the right to sue the U.S. government for damages

Informed consent

  • Tourists give informed consent, in writing
  • Receipt of a vast amount of technical data and safety details

may effectively nullify the "informed" nature of the consent

private claims under national law
PRIVATE CLAIMS UNDER NATIONAL LAW
  • International Air Law Conventions
    • Rome Convention – third-party liability
    • Montreal Conventions – passenger liability
      • Applies to “international carriage”
  • National Law
    • Statute/National Space Legislation, if any
    • Products Liability
      • Liability of manufacturer of the vehicle and component parts
      • Difficulty - reasonable alternative designs
    • Tort Causes of Action
      • Negligence = ordinary standard of care
      • Strict Liability = does not depend on fault or intent to harm,
      • Res ipsaloquitur – "the thing speaks for itself”
tort liability generally
TORT LIABILITY -- GENERALLY

a. On the ground – Argument for Strict Liability

  • Analogize to aviation in its early developmental stages

b. In the air – Strict Liability v. Negligence

  • Strict liability - abnormally dangerous activity
  • Negligence - aircraft assume some risk

c. In outer space

  • Strict liability (or res ipsaloquitur) may be appropriate standard
  • Negligence may be more fair
  • Standard applied under liability convention?
  • Hybrid: Use vehicle function dichotomy
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Thank You!

Questions?