Routledge Handbook of Commercial Space Law  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Commercial Space Law

  • Available for pre-order on June 20, 2023. Item will ship after July 11, 2023
ISBN 9781032100746
July 11, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
536 Pages 3 Color & 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Commercial Space Law provides a definitive survey of of the transitions and adjustments across the stakeholder community contributing to outer space activities. The interaction between NewSpace, traditional aerospace industrials and non-traditional space-related technologies is driving market changes which will affect state practice in what has until now been a government dominated market. Greater private commercial participation will lead to new economic approaches to risk-sharing models driven by a space services- dominated market. This handbook is a detailed reference source of original articles which analyze and critically evaluate the scope of the current paradigm change, and explaining why space contracts and risk apportionment as currently known will change in tune with ongoing market transitions. Reference is made to the scope of best practices across various leading states involved in space activities. With contributions from a selection of highly regarded and leading scholars and practitioners in Commercial Space Law field, and the inclusion of salient documents, regulatory and contractual documents, the Routledge Handbook of Commercial Space Law is an essential resource for students, scholars and practitioners who are interested in the field of Commercial Space Law.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents






A. Changing institutional roles in space policy

    1. Towards a new legal ecosystem for the exploitation of space (Philippe Clerc)
    2. The EU Regulation for the Space Programme - a new framework for EU Space Activities (Kamlesh Brocard).
    3. Commercial Space Activities in the U.S.: An overview of current policy and regulatory framework (Catrina Melograna and Christopher D. Johnson)

B. Fostering NewSpace: finance models and favourable jurisdictions

    1. NewSpace companies: incorporating and financing operations (Catherine Doldirina and Susan Wintermuth)
    2. The Space Protocol of the Cape Town Convention – A tool to promote greater commercialisation and private financing in the space sector (Hamza Hameed and Anna Veneziano)

C. The international legal framework for licensing space activities – innovative examples

    1. Canada: Past, current, and future space law and policy perspectives (Maria Rhimbassen)
    2. Japan: National space law and licensing of commercial space activities (Souichirou Kozuka)
    3. Australia and New Zealand: National space law and licensing of commercial space activities (Joel Dennerley and Maria Pozza)
    4. Practical experiences with Finland’s national space legislation and lessons learned (Jenni Tapio)
    5. Russia: Framework and licensing requirements for commercial space activities (Olga Volynskaya)
    6. China: How China incorporates commercial space activities within its national space law instruments (Yun Zhao)
    7. India: Developments in the regulation of the commercial space sector (Ranjana Kaul)

D. Fostering innovation through competition and public procurement

    1. The EU and ESA rules on public procurement (Oliver Heinrich and Jan Helge Mey)
    2. Procurement by ESA in times of pandemic crises (Stefano Fiorilli)
    3. NewSpace Growth Through NASA’s Contractual and Other Transaction Authorities (Julie Jiru and Allison Genco)
    4. Public-private partnership for R&D in space activities in Japan – Issues on the procurement and contract approaches to promote new entrants (Mizuki Tani)


A. Commercial space solutions for earth observation data and space applications

1. Selling space-based products and services to the U.S. government (Kevin Pomfret)

2. Regulation of commercial Earth observation systems and data (Ingo Baumann and Erik Pellander)

B. Large constellations – frequencies, registration, and interference

    1. Licensing and market barriers for global satellite constellations – a satellite operator's practical experiences (Ruth Pritchard-Kelly)
    2. Registration requirements for satellites and the reality of large constellations (Bernhard Schmidt-Tedd)

C. New launchers, small launchers, space ports, and space tourism

    1. How the insurance market can provide new and effective solutions for NewSpace technologies and services (Cecile Gaubert)
    2. Legislating for spaceports, commercial space markets, and space tourism (Lesley Jane Smith, Ruairidh J. M. Leishman, Alan Thompson)

D. Space Mining

    1. National and international norms towards the governance of commercial space resource activity (Tanja Masson-Zwaan and Mark J. Sundahl)

E. Specific aspects of smart contracts and blockchain technology

    1. Blockchain and Smart Contracts in Space Operations (PJ Blount and Giulia de Rossi)
    2. Agile Contracts for Space Projects (Gerhard Deiters)



A. International standards and export control

    1. Export control and NewSpace: reciprocal challenges (Matthias Creydt, Lisa Gräfin von der Schulenburg)

B. Active debris removal, on-orbit servicing, and space traffic management

    1. Towards Space Traffic Management (Holger Krag and Lesley Jane Smith)
    2. Future regulatory and licensing trends for active debris removal and on-orbit servicing in the UK and US (Jason Forshaw and Laura Cummins)
    3. Legal Aspects of Ground-Based Infrastructure for Space Situational Awareness (Olga Batura and Regina Peldszus)

C. Long-term sustainability and the changing nature of space law (cybersecurity)

    1. Space Cybersecurity and US Law (PJ Blount)
    2. New Space and ensuring long-term sustainability of the space environment (Gina Petrovici and Ulrike Bohlmann)
    3. Ensuring space sustainability through national space legislation (Dr. Ingo Baumann & Erik Pellander)

D. Outlook (Adriana Marais)


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Professor Lesley Jane Smith is Professor of International Economic Law, Leuphana University of Lüneburg and partner in Weber-Steinhaus & Smith, Bremen. She a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Director of the International Institute of Space Law and General Counsel of the International Astronautical Federation, Paris.

Dr. Ingo Baumann is a founding partner of BHO Legal, a technology law firm based in Cologne, Germany. He is member of the International Institute of Space Law, the European Centre for Space Law and various space industry associations. He is active in several programs as mentors for start-ups in the space sector.

Susan-Gale Wintermuth, Jur. Dr. is professor in the China-Eu Law School, at China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China. She is a lecturer at the Stockholm School of Economics Riga, where she instructs on international business law. She also contributes on the same subject to the Executive MBA at the Stockholm School of Economics Russia.


  1. *John M. Horack, Ph.D.
    Professor and Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy The Ohio State University
  2. "The challenges within the commercial space market are often perceived as technical.  And while it is indeed a technical challenge, for example, to land and re-use a rocket booster, or to understand how to perform 3D printing and additive manufacturing in space, the more intractable hurdles may well be economic, financial, regulatory, political, and cultural.  In this excellent compilation of writing from experts in the global space sector's legal and regulatory community, Dr. Lesley Jane Smith and co-editors have assembled a 'must-read' for practitioners and scholars alike.  The frameworks of Apollo and other large, monolithic, government-driven space programs have given way to a new, multi-variate, and extremely dynamic private-sector, that is moving faster than many of the legal and policy frameworks can adapt.  Consequently, this timely compendium from the world's best thinkers on where the market is headed, challenges that we all face, and regulatory frameworks that must be navigated, is an essential read for our entire community."

  3. *Prof. Sinead O’Sullivan
  4. Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School

    "The economic growth of emerging ecosystems relies wholly on a legal framework that protects the interests of investors, operators and nation states. Without innovative legal frameworks such as those outlined in this book by thought-leading legal scholars in this space, the private space sector would have no basis for growth. This handbook is essential reading and reference for those executives, policy makers and investors who wish to venture into the growing opportunity of the space sector with clarity on where and how they are best able to contribute to and unlock success in this exciting field."

  5. *Lucy Stojak, Chair, Canadian Space Council Directrice exécutive, Mosaic -
    Pôle créativité et innovation, Montréal(Québec),
  6. "Given the rapid growth of the global space economy with projections of a trillion dollar space economy by the year 2040, The Handbook on Commercial Space Law – Legal Practice(s) for New Space is an extremely timely publication that is certain to become an invaluable reference tool for many years to come to commercial practitioners, policy-makers and academics addressing the market changes brought about by NewSpace.  In a series of well-structured chapters written by a global cross-section of space specialists, Lesley Jane Smith, Ingo Baumann and Susan Wintermuth have collected a strong set of contributions that highlight, in a comparative fashion: the main legal challenges posed by NewSpace, how different countries are adapting their national regulatory frameworks, as well as adopting different approaches to foster innovation and support NewSpace."

  7. *Will Whitehorn, Chancellor of Napier University, Edinburgh,
    Former Virgin Galactic, Chair, Seraphim Venture Capital Trust
  8. "The Space economy is entering the Industrial Revolution phase of its rapid development, with both private and public sector investment and satellite launches going exponential, as are the uses for space tech in putting industries such as data centres in space, sourcing solar power from space and observing the earth in new ways. I also believe firmly that a planet of 10 billion people will never achieve net zero without space industrialisation.

    That is why this book is so timely and useful. As Chair of the worlds first publicly quoted investment trust for space tech I want answers to lots of questions on global commercial space law and here they are. We are in an age of rapid change with consequent instability and in that context the rule of law and its rapid adaptation to technological change is crucial so I intend to keep my copy of The Routledge Handbook on Commercial Space Law close by."

    Will Whitehorn FRAeS FCILT FMS,

    Chair, Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC
    Member, UK Space Agency Space Exploration Advisory Committee 

  9. *Dr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl
    President, International Institute of Space Law (IISL)
  10. Head of strategy, European Space Agency, Paris

    "This Handbook covers all relevant issues and trends in today’s revolutionary transition from traditional space governance to commercial and privatised NewSpace. The impressive team of editors and contributors provides outstanding insight and guidance for navigating in this new universe of space becoming indispensable for our economies and societies on national levels as well as on a global scale."

  11. Dr.Subba Rao Pavuluri, India
    President, Board of Executive Board of SatCom Industries Association-India,
  12. "As the space economy gallops ahead with private sector participation
    extending the earlier generation national space programs, the
    regulatory landscape that was aligned with the earlier sector
    construct, starts getting outdated and the need for the regulations to
    keep pace with the technological and economic developments seems both
    urgent and important.  The value, that this development of private
    sector participation brings, is demonstrated both with respect to
    technology disruption and socio-economic impact.  The players
    themselves are rearing to be on the tracks, however as the space
    activities are unbound by geographical boundaries, the treatment in
    terms of permissions, issues of commerce, patents, liabilities and
    rights, social responsibility etc take on a meaning that is not
    facilitated by the existing national and international construct of

    This book is more of treatise on this subject and carefully highlights
    issues and the attempts by some nations to address these.  Not all of
    these are optimal in a fast developing and expanding sector and each
    new attempt needs to builds on the success and concerns that
    these attempts raise.   Equally important is the fact that the private sector needs to be facilitated by these attempts, and have a significant role in not just the outcomes of these deliberations, but also play a constructive role in these developing regulatory landscape.  In this direction the book, while being a comprehensive asset to the policy makers is also a significant input for the private sector players themselves to understand the developing regulatory ecosystem, under which they need to survive and thrive.

    I thank the various experts for sharing the knowledge that stems from
    their deep engagement in understanding and steering the international
    deliberations, especially Dr. Ranjana Kaul who helps us see the
    situation from the India lens.  I also thank the Lesley Jane Smith,
    Ingo Baumann and Susan Wintermuth for bringing out this compendium of
    thoughts from all the internationals experts.

    Dr. Subba Rao Pavuluri,
    President, Satcom Industry Association (SIA -India) and CMD Ananth
    Technologies Ltd


7. * James CMcG Johnston OBE BSc MIoD FCMI, Director, Transcend Change Limited (commercial and secure government satellite consultant, ex RAF)

"60 years ago President John F Kennedy addressed Rice University (Texas) on the moon-shot programme.  And during that historical speech he determined that "The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds".  The Editor and Authors of this vanguard Routledge Handbook have delivered a timely compendium of lessons learnt, knowledge gained and the critical challenges and opportunities around the future.  And it is genuinely global in perspective yet precise in detail and understanding.  It is entirely relevant.  The documents unquestionable strength is the spectrum of contributors and the intelligent fusing of the value that they each add, building knowledge and addressing ignorance.  Space today, and as it was 60 years ago, is really hard.  But because of the thoughtful, consolidated and extensive approach taken during the compilation of this Handbook, the space practitioner has a comprehensive handrail to the present and the future on which they can confidently rely."


8. * Marco Ferrazzani, Senior Legal Counsel, European Space Agency (ESA)

    "Space today offers one of cutting edge and fast-growing opportunity for taking technology into new business. In comparison to well established business areas, such as IT or transport law, the newcomers' investors in space enterprises might be confused in discovering incomplete legal frameworks depending on where they are based, an apparent maze of regulatory conditions to become applicable, the dispersed availability of proven legal expertise in each jurisdiction. The representatives of the legal community who have undertaken this work are showing how to transition such impressions from complex or frustrating to reassuring and attractive. For both State actors and entrepreneurs, this volume tries to provide a mapping and to illustrate the legal landscape that space investors and operators will find, so to help an understanding of the challenges and opportunities offered by the space business. In this respect this publication is a useful example of how to foster the progressive and beneficial growth of laws and regulations, so to be experienced and leveraged by all kind of space actors and their endeavours. We wish to this collective work a long-term success of followers and so to continue developing our legal practice and business knowledge for using space. "

9. * Milton (‘Skip’) Smith, US Attorney and Partner, Sherman Howard, legal Counsel to the private Dragon Crew

This innovative book belongs on the shelf of any commercial space lawyer and those seeking to enter this exciting field.  This well-researched treatise delves into major new developments in commercial space law such as in-orbit servicing, large constellations, artificial intelligence, big data, private spaceflight, and space resource exploitation.  I believe all commercial space lawyers will benefit from the authors’ insight as we draft and review agreements for the novel space activities before us and on the horizon.   I certainly will be consulting this book as I wrestle with the challenges of first-of-their-kind commercial space agreements and their national and international implications.  

Milton "Skip" Smith, Chair, Aerospace Practice Group, Sherman & Howard, Denver, CO.