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Event Details

Panel Discussion 6 — Equal access to the benefits of space exploration


Friday, November 4, 2022


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CET (UTC +1)


Xiao-Shan Yap, EAWAG, Switzerland; Utrecht University, the Netherlands


Thiago Dias, Brazilian Air Force University, Brazil
Aaditya Vikram Sharma, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, India
Art Cotterell, University of Adelaide, Australia
Sibsankar Palit, City College, Kolkata, India
Luna Kappler, Luiss Guido Carli University, Italy
Raoul Cardellini, University of Perugia, Italy


The pre-recorded presentations mentioned below will be available ahead of the conference and need to be watched before the panel discussion takes place.

Pre-recorded Presentations
Brazilian Aerospace Capacity at the United Nations: Sustainability and Space Law

Thiago Dias, Brazilian Air Force University, Brazil

Abstract: Brazil has a historic claim to join the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a permanent member, standing out in the foundation of the international successor organization of the League of Nations. In an uncertain discussion of the theme in the Security Council, the role of Brazil in environmental debates (Rio-92 Conference and Rio+20 Conference for Environment and Development), food, agriculture and even its aerospace capacity, represented in the Embraer (third largest civil aircraft producer) and its space industry may be used as an argument for the country to support its claim, either in the history of its foreign policy or in the geographic location that can be used to space exploration. Thus, the relevance of aerospace power and the presence of an aerospace industry in the Southern Hemisphere will be arguments used by Brazil within the United Nations Security Council in an eventual reform of the body, from the G-4 campaign1, Brazil, India, Germany and Japan. However, Brazilian aerospace capacity and its influence on a possible reform of international security mechanisms, with a focus on the United Nations, could be an initial step towards the concerning of the Global South and the space exploration for all? With the participation of India and other developing countries with space programs, does Brazil can be fundamental in the peaceful exploration of Space, within parameters of Space Law discussed at the UN, according to the examples of the Brazilian debates to the Antarctic Treaty and its foreign policy, that’s what this scientific research aims to discuss, at the dawn of a new space era.

A Third World Approach to International Space Law: Relooking at the Outer Space Treaty

Aaditya Vikram Sharma, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, India

Abstract: The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1967 (OST) has guided space exploration for fifty-five years. However, when it was drafted, all space-related activities were funded by national governments. Today, many activities are privately owned and run which has increased space activities exponentially. Governments are promoting private participation. For instance, the Government of India has established the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre to encourage the involvement of private corporations. . Further, activities and conditions which were not possible or foreseen in 1967 have now become a reality. This paper analyses whether the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) can help in this regard. The broad idea of TWAIL is that it perceives international law as an instrument of ‘western imperialism.’ Many treaties were either made before the end of colonialism or when the developing countries and the least developed countries lacked expertise in international law. These factors led to the ‘oppression of the third world by the west.’ In a similar vein, the OST was broadly drafted by the two superpowers of the time. Now, new developments such as the entry of private actors, space debris, etc., need to be addressed through binding treaties and other mechanisms. The article will build on how international space law could give an opportunity to the Global South to develop a new brand of international law, especially the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, in cooperation with the North in compliance with international directives such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Such ‘Contemporary Space Law’ would include treaties that are equally applicable to all nation-states and made with the participation of all relevant States.

The Privatization of Space Technology: a Retreat from the Patent System and the Future Loss of Technology Transfer

Art Cotterell, University of Adelaide, Australia

Abstract: With space companies such as SpaceX eschewing the intellectual property’s (IP) patent system in favour of trade secrets, this paper will discuss how this crucial shift in legal protection contracts the scope for public benefit from space exploration, as space technology may never be publicly disclosed. On the fiftieth anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, then NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, reflected on how the space agency’s extensive patent portfolio from that era led to the development of spin-off technologies with direct terrestrial application, ranging from water purification systems to foil blankets to regulate body temperatures to nutrient-dense freeze-dried food. Underpinning NASA’s Technology Transfer Program, which facilitates these spin-offs by making scientific know-how and IP accessible, is a commitment to ensuring inventions for space exploration are publicly available for humanity’s benefit. Alongside this, NASA has increasingly adopted approaches to IP that have accelerated the privatization of space. During the Apollo era, NASA owned the IP over space inventions. A marked shift took place from the 1980s as NASA faced budget constraints and sought to incentivize cheaper commercial alternatives for transportation to the International Space Station by allowing space companies to retain ownership over inventions. While space companies have benefited from NASA’s technology transfer policies and pro-business IP clauses, they do not have a responsibility to use the patent system. This loss of public disclosure of space technology to spur future innovation is often overlooked but is an important consideration when facilitating access to the outcomes of space exploration.

Team LIFE- To & Beyond: Empowering emerging nations in Astrobiology, Space-Allied Studies, and Applications

Sibsankar Palit, City College, Kolkata, India and Aya Hesham, Ain Shams University, Egypt

Abstract: With ‘Life’, being one of the most dynamic entities known to humanity to date, and ‘Space Studies’ as one of the most multi-disciplinary fields of human endeavor the necessity to understand & appreciate the interdependency between the two becomes more significant. Thus, was initiated a Team named, “LIFE- To & Beyond” a non-profit community of space enthusiasts on the 8th of February, 2022. LIFE- To implies Astrobiology, and LIFE- Beyond implies Space-Allied Studies. We aspire to figure out more about Life and Space. We believe that the beneficial uses of outer space, including strengthening communication infrastructures, disaster management, education, agriculture, environmental protection, and natural resource management, have enormous relevance for human development and empowerment of nations, especially for developing nations. We envision bridging the gap between the emerging communities and the space industry, by facilitating access to space research with our global network of mentors and accessible resources, bringing in more students from STEAM backgrounds to space studies, in addition to increasing the awareness among the public about the importance of space research. With our humble beginnings, from collaboration with International Initiatives to contributing to R&D in terms of publications and presenting our work at national and international meets to sharing information about events and opportunities with regard to our focus areas this work will try to highlight our Team operations, our research projects, upcoming programs and partnerships and its potential impact on the space community, especially on the underrepresented students and developing nations in the space industry.

The Co-City approach and citizen science as a pathway toward an inclusive, just, and self-sustaining Space

Luna Kappler and Christian Iaione, Luiss Guido Carli University, Italy

Abstract: Recurring crises and unpredictable risks are trailblazing an unprecedent Space race in which the private sector is paramount in finding alternatives to an unsustainable life scenario on Earth. Given the benefits of the New Space Economy, the process is bound to involve an increasing number of countries and people, becoming openly muscular. Although government agencies will largely drive space exploration, shifting governance from military to scientific, private companies will be the protagonists of the next phase of space travel, searching for real estate and extraterrestrial resources. Elon Musk describes the objective of making Mars “self-sustaining”, a settlement that zeroes its external dependencies. While this revolution is taking place, there appears to be no room for open access to Space and democracy in an highly regulated, selective, and technocratic system, still moving mainly according to predetermined protocols, or dictated by oligarchic, plutocratic, and individualistic interests.
Therefore, the contribution – nurtured through direct confrontation with the Italian and European Space Agencies (ASI and ESA) – aims at framing this scenario and introducing some bright insights borrowed from the incoming missions such as the Artemis program that already encompasses governance, legal and financial tools such as innovation procurement or public-science-private partnerships. These seeds might be the right path way to turn Space into an inclusive, just, and collaborative environment that embeds citizen science and co-cities paradigm, benefiting from synergies between public, private, science, unorganized and organized communities (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000; Barth, 2011; quintuple helix in Iaione, 2016; Foster and Iaione, 2022).

Province of all of “humankind”, or why making Outer Space more inclusive towards gender and sexual minorities is the key to success

Raoul Cardellini, University of Perugia, Italy

Abstract: With the ever-growing expansion of the space field, what augments is also the need for policies that help in making it more accessible to individuals that have, historically, always been on the fringe of society and progress, such as those that are gender and sexual minorities.
This is specifically relevant as of right now because it is not sufficient to only look at the public sector and the regulations needed to enhance participation by individuals that fall into the category of being gender and sexual minorities: what is furthermore needed is a better regulatory system to ensure that the private sector will guarantee fair and equitable access to Outer Space to this part of the population.
The key issue is that when talking about the “private sector” we cannot focus on the “giants” of the industry, but must look at other, oftentimes much smaller, stakeholders that are involved in space activities. The intrinsic bias against queer individuals needs to be addressed, as the space sector is inherently affected by a patriarchical views and is overall male dominated (the language utilized in it, the techniques etc.).
It is also necessary to look more in this topic due to the specific challenges that they may face, from a practical as well as medical perspective, when approaching the space sector.
Only once these minorities are taken care of and offered the same opportunities as the rest of humankind, space will actually be welcoming of all.