Laws in Space


McGill Institute of Air & Space Law to host events on space debris and space governance

On Feb. 10, 2009, an inactive Cosmos-2251 satellite and an active commercial Iridium-33 satellite collided in low-Earth orbit about 800 kilometres above Siberia, creating a large cloud of space debris that could remain in orbit for decades and continue threatening other active satellites.

On May 7-9, McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL), in collaboration with the Cologne University Institute of Air and Space Law (Germany) and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (The Netherlands) will host an International Interdisciplinary Congress on Space Debris to assess the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines adopted by the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 2007, and subsequently endorsed by the UN General Assembly. The Congress will also examine other international and national space safety and security endeavours, and propose policy and regulatory steps to monitor and reduce space debris risks. The Congress will begin at 9 a.m. on May 7

Although the space age has brought about many benefits for all humankind, these benefits have not come without consequences. Space-faring nations are creating environmental damage that could have long-term effects. The most immediate of these is space debris – the nonfunctional satellites, launch vehicles and related objects that orbit the Earth uncontrolled. The growing awareness of the effect of space debris on the safety of space operations and space-based assets has encouraged some space players to take steps to mitigate the production of new debris through the development and implementation of national and international debris-mitigation measures.

On May 6, the IASL will also host the International & Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Space Governance, a high-level, interdisciplinary discussion on space, its governance and its peaceful use that will precede the main conference. The Roundtable will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Both events will take place at McGill's Faculty of Law, Old Chancellor Day Hall, 3644 Peel St.

On the web (including link to full program)


Contact Information

Pascal Zamprelli
Media Relations Office
pascal.zamprelli [at]
Office Phone: 
514 398-1385