The urge to go where no man has gone before has led to great leaps in space technology that only seemed real in cinema. As more private companies, such as private asteroid mining companies in China, attempt to take this leap, it has become clear that there are significant gaps in international space law regarding liability with private parties. Within Article VII of the Outer Space Treaty, there is a laid-out structure on how states can be held liable for damages caused by celestial bodies. However, the Outer Space Treaty ignores what happens if a private company causes injuries in another country or to another space craft. While there has yet to be an example of a private company causing damages from negligence under space law, we know what may happen through Maritime Law. With multiple similarities between maritime and space law, already established maritime regulations can easily be used as a supplementation for space law. In part I of this article, there will be a discussion of the history of space law and modern-day technology done by private Chinese companies. Part II will then examine maritime law concepts and outer space collisions. Part III, IV, and V will move to an in-depth analysis on limitations of liability, vessel insurance, and employees’ insurance. Part VI will finalize, discussing how limitations of liability, vessel insurance, and employee’s insurance create a stable supplement for Article VII of the Outer Space Treaty.
Recommended CitationMcKenzie Franck, Falling Stars and Sinking Ships: How Article VII of the Outer Space Treaty Needs Maritime Law, 35 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 159 (2023)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pilr/vol35/iss2/1