Reflecting the Montreal Declaration, it was agreed the Global Space Governance Study, should, inter alia:
- examine the changing global economic, political and social conditions and space infrastructure dependence;
- identify and assess all known space threats and risks;
- examine space opportunities and the need for the sustainable and peaceful use of outer space, and the exploration and exploitation of space for the benefit of all humankind;
- identify safety, technical and operational gaps to be filled; and
- recommend appropriate space governance agreements, arrangements, regulations, standards, and appropriate institutional mechanisms, innovations and practices relevant to current and emerging space activities.
The Study has taken over two years to prepare, and draws heavily on the expertise of over one hundred legal, technical, governmental, and commercial space professionals from around the world. The clear objective of the Study is to take an international, interdisciplinary and neutral look at the “Big Picture” of global space activities and global space governance. Following a bottom-up approach, the Study addresses the following specific question:
In order to achieve, effectively and in practice, the goal of the sustainable use of space for peaceful purposes and for the benefit of all humankind, what should be the format and substance of global space governance in the next 20-30 years?
The Global Space Governance Study aims to achieve provide a synoptic overview of all space governance-related topics and issues. A project of such scope and ambition has never been attempted to date. As space is an internationally shared domain, to adequately identify and address the potential opportunities and challenges surrounding its use and exploitation requires input from all over the world. In short, the Study seeks to identify and assess all known implications and risks related to space activities that cannot be effectively governed at a national level. For this reason, many of the recommendations focus on proposals and the input of respected international agencies such as the International Academy of Astronautics, the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, the International Space University, or other internationally respected universities with relevant space studies and engineering programs.
The premise of the Study is that the stakeholders and experts in space policy and law, space engineering, and space business need to work together more effectively to create a variety of mechanisms that will be reflective of the future global governance of outer space. These people will decide the future and development of human endeavours in outer space. Engineers, businesspeople, policy deciders and lawyers need to better understand the challenges and problems that each of them face. Only that way can an intricate and well-thought out framework of international agreements, coordination mechanisms, policies, regulations, standards, and laws be developed to take into account the wide spectrum of needs and anticipate future trends.
Based on an outline drafted by the Editors and a Board of Reviewers composed of recognised experts in the domain, leading drafters were invited to author specific chapters of the book. Further input was sought from academics and knowledgeable professionals in the public and private sectors, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations from all the regions of the world. The book is thus the collective work of all the contributors, and is drafted and finalized without attribution of any chapter, sub-chapter or idea to any specific individual or institution. This approach has been adopted in order to include frank and unbiased ideas and perspectives expressed without the inhibitions of political, national and occupational pressures or implications.
Structure of the Global Space Governance Study
The twenty-two chapters that of the Global Space Governance Study seek to respond to the unique charge that came from the Montreal Declaration. These chapters are organized as follows:
Part I sets the stage and lays down the general context and importance of the discussion on the global governance of outer space. In this section of the Study, the focus is on an overview of the existing mechanisms of global space governance, as developed from global, regional and national perspectives. This part explores the extent to which existing and emerging “customary law” and "soft law” (e.g., transparency and confidence-building measures) regimes influence the global governance of space. In addition, it examines whether or not alternative mechanisms (“soft law”) or model national laws and/or standards can aid in the development of an internationally acceptable form of global governance in outer space. This part also explores the influence global space governance has over national regimes and vice versa, as well as the challenges of possible fragmentation and conflicting governance regimes and the need for their harmonization.
Part II covers several space applications (uses) which have been exponentially expanding in recent decades. These applications demonstrate the practical current and future benefits to people in their daily lives. The chapters in this part contain descriptions and analyses of key issues of global governance that relate to satellite telecommunications (including broadcasting and other communication services); remote sensing and earth observation (including weather forecasting, global climate change, disaster management, search and rescue, etc.); global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) & services (including space situational awareness); and space-based solar power which is evolving from a mere concept to future implementation.
Part III of the Study covers those emerging issues that relate to global space safety and security, which to a large extent have direct negative implications for peaceful uses of outer space by all nations. These chapters deal with human space flight (including commercial and tourism); global space security; space traffic management and coordinated controls for near space. Space security is becoming extremely important as more military and dual-use activities are expanding with increasing possibilities of occurrence of conflicts in space.
Part IV covers those space operations which are commonly known as “NewSpace” activities. They include on-orbit robotics and active debris removal, small satellites, large constellations particularly in low earth orbit (including registration procedures), and mining and utilization of space natural resources.
Part V addresses those new and general challenges that have emerged due to significant changes in the scope and nature of global space activities since the 1970s, as well as those wide-ranging issues that are necessary to address in order to maintain sustainable use of space for the benefit of current and future generations of humankind. The issues addressed include space migration and colonization; global space environmental issues (including space debris, sustainability of access to space, pollution, planetary protection, etc.); potentially hazardous asteroids and comets and severe space weather; extending the benefits and uses of space to all humankind; and education and capacity-building in global space governance.
Finally, the Study concludes with Part VI, which contains conclusions, consolidated findings and recommendations for an appropriate future system for the global governance of outer space.