As more nations and private companies compete to make their mark in space technology, the field of space law is silently booming. Space exploration is growing at a high pace, with more than three countries having sent missions to Mars, Artemis program by NASA preparing for astroboots on the moon, and Elon Musk's SpaceX prepping to colonise Mars.
Space business is booming
Space business is an enormous sector, given that a plethora of security companies such as electric grids and banks largely depend on space. These companies require experts to guide them on crucial issues such as drafting contracts and satellite licensing. Also, with the evolution of technology, public and private firms require legal experts to formulate new laws as well as update the old ones.
Major players in space exploration
Space exploration is no longer the sole responsibility for government agencies. Private entities have entered the race, and are propelling the industry more vigorously than if it was left to government agencies alone. The top three companies that have taken space exploration to the next level are SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. What these companies have in common is that their goals are to decrease the costs required to access space, and making space reachable to people that are not astronauts.
Elon Musk's SpaceX
SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with an aim of revolutionising space technology, and enabling humans to live on other planets. The company has specialised in designing, manufacturing and launching rockets. It was the first company to dock their spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS) in 2012. SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission aims at sending people to orbit before the end of 2021.
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos – the entrepreneur behind Amazon – also aims to send humans to space. However, his objective is different from SpaceX's because Blue Origin is targeting the space tourism sector. The company has created New Shepard, a vertical launch vehicle that goes to space and back. Blue Origin faces stiff competition from Virgin Galactic.
Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic claims to be the first commercial spaceline in the world. It is different from the other two in that it launches from a jet airplane, and not from the ground. It plans to ferry up to six passengers to space into sub-orbital space and back.
Where to study an LLM in Space Law
Space law is a fascinating field of study, and with the recent expansion of space exploration and technology, the need for students that have a background in space law is growing tremendously. Some of the institutions that provide space law courses include:
- University of Luxembourg – Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (Luxembourg)
- Leiden University – Leiden Law School (Netherlands)
- University of Mississippi - School of Law (USA)
Modules studied on an LLM in Space Law
Space law is a wide and critical area, some of the modules that would be studied in an LLM in Space Law include:
- Space, cyber and telecoms on a global context
- Comparative criminal justice
- Artificial intelligence and robotics laws
- Intellectual property
- Air and space law
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