Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law '98
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This memoranda's purpose is to give a general outline as to what
the international legal implications are relating to the development, implementation
and maintenance of space-based solar power satellites (SPS). Since this
document will be read by people who have either never heard of the concept,
its technicalities or the body of legal parameters already established
in which SPS will have to operate under, this memoranda will be split up
into four sections.
The first section will serve as a cursory explanation of what SPS is and what it hopes to accomplish. The second section will be a primer on international space law, what it is and what are its core concepts and concerns. This section will include discussions on the major international space law agreements, such as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the Rescue Agreement of 1968, the Liability Convention of 1972, the Registration Convention of 1976 and the Moon Treaty of 1979.
The third section will deal with some immediate legal issues that are created by SPS. The fourth section will deal with an attempt by the author to outline an international legal agreement for SPS to work under, be in conformity with all major bodies of space law and provide for issues created by SPS. This document will try to provide to all those involved with the creation, development and implementation of SPS a "flavor" for what legal guidelines exist and will help ensure that everyone's work will not be conducted in a vacuum.
PART I - THE CONCEPT OF SPS
For brevity's sake, the author will mostly rely on Alan M. Ladwig's
"Developing the Case for Solar Power Satellites." It is the most
concise and understandable "breakdown" of what SPS is and what it
hopes to accomplish. Ladwig is Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans
at NASA and presented the aforementioned paper in Montreal, last
SPS is a concept that has been around since the late 1960's. It was not given any serious thought in the United States until the oil crisis of the 1970's. NASA, the Department of Energy, as well as some private interests looked into the feasibility of developing SPS as a viable alternative to foreign oil.
In its most simplistic form, SPS is a number of satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO), collecting solar energy from the sun, twenty-four hours a day and then beaming it back to earth in the form of microwaves to collector sites, known as rectennas. The rectennas would convert the microwaves into conventional electricity and feed that electricity into the local power grid.
The NASA effort in the 1970's culminated in a report that outlined what America needed to do to make SPS a real and viable program. America would have to launch sixty (60) massive satellites. Each satellite would have to be five-kilometers by ten-kilometers in size. In order to put such mammoth hardware in orbit, NASA would have to develop an enormous, fully-reusable, two-stage heavy lift vehicle. Legions of astronauts would have to log hundreds of hours in space constructing the satellites. The twenty (20) year mission was forecast to cost more than $250 billion dollars (1996 dollars).
In July of 1995, NASA commenced an eighteen month study to review SPS. Now known as the "Fresh Look," this study looked at the old report from the 1970's and sought to revamp it with newer techniques and technology that would make SPS much more practical from a business, scientific, and political point of view. As part of NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin's "faster - better - cheaper" philosophy, the Fresh Look produced a report that was without prohibitively huge satellites or the need for new, massive launch vehicles to be constructed. It was a much more palatable version of SPS.
Advances in technology and changes in the global electric power market have made SPS a much more viable concept since the 1970's. The newer concept is to have smaller satellites, with solar panels composed of lunar regolith. A small lunar base/mine would be established to recover lunar regolith. In the end, it would be cheaper to bring material from the moon into earth orbit than to launch every material needed from earth. This is because the moon’s gravitational pull is much weaker than the earth’s. The moon base could also have many other benefits, such as contributing to astronomical observation and space tourism, besides aiding in the establishment and maintaining a global SPS.
There are still many technological, scientific, logistical and political challenges that are potentially precluding factors to the development and establishment of a viable, practical and profitable global SPS. The world has never seen such an enormous undertaking, if it were to be attempted. It is a feat that would be better carried out by a number of nations contributing to the effort. This would help defray costs, encourage international cooperation and help proliferate technology and "know how" to some of the lesser advanced countries that are trying to better themselves. Also, like most other huge undertakings in human history, unknown, valuable benefits are sure to present themselves that no one has thought of yet. Spin-off technology and applications are sure to emerge from this undertaking.
International cooperation cannot take place in a vacuum, with decisions being made ad hoc. Since the SPS effort would surely be an international one, it should be made known to the parties participating that there is already a body of international space law in existence that would have some bearing on the SPS development. There should also be a set of guidelines established, specifically tailored for SPS.
II - THE MAJOR WORKS OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE LAW
It should be first mentioned that the notion of international space law and its core principles were based on a concept called "the common heritage of mankind." That idea is based on analogy to what scholars and world leaders have applied to the great, open oceans on earth. It all started in 1609 with a work called MARE LIBERUM, written by a Dutch scholar named Hugo Grotius. He came up with a concept that translated to mean "Free Seas." It meant that the oceans should be open to all nations. The seas cannot be appropriated by one sovereign, or even by a number of them. The ocean is the province for all mankind. It should be noted that MARE LIBERUM was incorporated by Grotius into his well-known work, DE JURE BELLE AC PACIS. Grotius eventually became known as "the father of international law."
A. THE 1967 OUTER SPACE TREATY
The "Prime Directive", if you will, of international space law is the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. It is better known as the Outer Space Treaty. This work sets forth the basic concepts that are to be used and relied on in future international space law documents and agreements. It covers all space exploration and utilization.
The Outer Space Treaty set forth concepts very similar to Grotius' ideas. Outer space is a frontier open to all peoples of the earth. No one sovereign can appropriate the moon or any other planet or body for its own utilization whether or not to the exclusion of others. The treaty tries to set forth a broad code of conduct for activities in space and on other celestial bodies. A balance was attempted to be struck between exploration/exploitation and preservation.
Intended to be very comprehensive when constructed, it lacks extreme definition on many specific issues. It remains true to general concepts and ideas, thereby staying open to very broad interpretation. The authors knew that other agreements would be drafted in the future, speaking to narrow issues, and decided to let those documents be more specific and detailed.
B. THE RESCUE AGREEMENT OF 1968
Fully titled as, The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, the next major international space law treaty shows how international space law evolved and kept its "feet" firmly planted in Grotius.
If you recall, international space law drafters started out with a concept, "the common heritage of mankind." Next, was the establishment of a general work which would state the prevailing principles on which all space exploration and utilization would be based. As the drafters of the Outer Space Treaty foresaw, specific space law issues should be dealt with in the future with narrowly drafted, specific documents when the need arose, as opposed to one, all-encompassing document.
A good analogy for the reader is the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution is based on principles of life, liberty and pursuit of property/happiness. The Constitution was the first document to set forth such ideas in writing and applied them to a working governmental structure.
With that in mind, nowhere in the Constitution is there one clause about setting speed limits, yet the Constitution is considered the "law of the land" and we have speed limits all over America. Although the Constitution does not provide explicitly for speed limits, it does delegate powers and authorities to Congress, the states and the courts to set up laws when the need arises. From there, speed limits were able to be enacted and be "in step" with the Constitution.
The same thing, you will see, occurred with the evolution of international space law. Drafters took a concept (common heritage of mankind) that was never applied to a new frontier (outer space), wrote a broad document (Outer Space Treaty) to be used as a "springboard" for future laws, open to interpretation and then let other documents be created as needed. That is, as long as the documents were in step with the original treaty's concepts.
The Rescue Agreement is an example of that planned evolution. The Rescue Agreement sets forth guidelines for the safe and prompt return of astronauts and objects launched into space when they land outside of the launching state's ability to retrieve them and/or are simply in distress and need immediate assistance. Astronauts are to be considered "envoys of mankind." "This attitude towards astronauts in particular reflects the spirit of international cooperation and mutual assistance governing space activities." It is clear that this concept is an outgrowth of the common heritage of mankind concept.
C. THE LIABILITY CONVENTION OF 1972
With respect to legal issues and SPS, this agreement is very important. It was essential that an agreement such as The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects be created. To be put succinctly, a launching state must bear international legal responsibility for damage/injury caused by an object launched. It does not matter whether or not a governmental entity or non-governmental entity launched the object. For example, if Microsoft launched an object into space and it damaged a Russian satellite or crashed in Italy and hit The Leaning Tower of Pisa, those countries, under this convention would seek redress from the United States. Keep in mind, that the United States could then turn around and seek indemnification from Microsoft. Indemnification is a legal concept that means that Microsoft would have to pay back the United States everything the United States paid out while it was standing in the shoes of Microsoft in the case with Italy or Russia.
It should be noted that this international space law convention is victim-oriented. A victim has full access to international dispute resolving mechanisms and processes. The victim is also entitled to full and total pecuniary restoration. This is understandable because of the possibility of incredibly severe damage a victim could suffer and "the numerous evidentiary difficulties for a victim in proving fault."
A tortfeasor (the one who committed the harmful act) shall be held entirely and absolutely liable for any damage to another space object(s), surface of the earth "or to aircraft in flight." This author thought that was important to highlight because in my research, this author has seen a depiction of SPS working perfectly, beaming down energy to a massive rectenna and an airplane flying right through the beam and directly over the rectenna site. This author knows after reading Darel Preble's material, that such concerns about microwaves being dangerous are misguided, but in the future, when a plane crash occurs near a rectenna site, it can be guaranteed that the injured parties will try to bring an action under the Liability Convention on a theory that SPS caused the crash. This is an extremely plausible fact pattern and SPS should be prepared to show to any court in the world that SPS could have in no way contributed to any plane crash.
"The victim must show that the harm flowed directly or immediately from and as the probable or natural result of the malfunctioning space object." A victim can be compensated for lost time and value of property damaged or destroyed. A victim can even claim "moral damages" such as for national humiliation.
Liability is unlimited. That means, theoretically, there is no cap on the amount of compensation a victim can recover. Because of this lack of a cap, there is no need for punitive damages. Punitive damages are special damages that can be awarded to punish the tortfeasor for acting with extreme recklessness or even direct intent.
The only bar, or way for a possible tortfeasor to avoid liability, is an act (accidental or intentional) by the victim that helped lead to the incident that caused the harm complained about. This has to be proved by the launching state complained about and also the launching state must show that its activities complied with international law. In American civil law, when a victim has complained of an injury to them caused by another, the accused can use as a defense the fact that the victim helped cause their own injury. This is called contributory negligence. It used to be that contributory negligence was an absolute bar to recovery, just as it is being used in the Liability Convention. In recent years, however, different jurisdictions have adopted a "kindler, gentler" approach called comparative negligence. The difference between the two is that under contributory negligence, the accused only has to show that the victim acted in some way that led to the injury. Once this is proven, no matter how grave the accused's actions might be, the victim's claim is barred. Under comparative negligence, even if the victim acted in some way that might have contributed to the harm complained of, the responsibility of each party's actions are weighed and the "blame" is distributed among the disputants (i.e.. 50%/50%; 30%/70% etc. etc.). Once space mishaps become a little more common, perhaps the strictness of the contributory negligence standard could eventually be relaxed in favor of a policy more akin to comparative negligence.
The state which has sustained damage can represent and present claims for any persons injured. The compensation will be decided in accordance with the goals of equity and to put the injured party in the place they were prior to the incident.
The Liability Convention covers all outer space activities. In addition to civilian activities, any military uses are to be covered by the Convention. It should also be noted that the conduct of private persons will be scrutinized when it comes to assessing liability for an incident. From our perspective, it is important to note that when two or more launching states, including intergovernmental organizations, are involved in an incident, they shall be held jointly and severally liable. That means that each tortfeasor could be held separately liable, or together with the other tortfeasors. It should also be noted that a victim has one year from the date of the incident or when the victim has knowledge of the harm to bring an action.
D. THE REGISTRATION CONVENTION OF 1976
In 1976, the Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space was established. It set forth guidelines for launching states to give information on all objects they send into outer space and to file such information in a central registry at the UN. In some ways, like its predecessor the Outer Space Treaty, some points were left vague. For example, as to what kind of information was to be filed, specific details are not required.
The treaty also calls for national registries. It has been held that registries serve three noble purposes. First, traffic management; second, enforcement of safety standards and thirdly, imputation of liability for damage.
E. THE 1979 MOON TREATY
For the record, the United States has not ratified the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. The author does not see that to be a serious precluding factor to the development and maintaining of a viable SPS. "As with the preceding conventions, the Treaty is a further elaboration of certain principles provided in the Outer Space Treaty."
As stated, there was a balance sought between the necessity to maintain the lunar environment and yet not handicap exploitation of lunar resources. All throughout the process that gave birth to the treaty, the drafters realized they had to keep the treaty in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty and the common heritage of mankind principles.
The three main points of the Moon Treaty will not give rise to any roadblocks to the implementation of SPS. These points in fact, go hand-in-hand with SPS and its goals. These points are; (1) that any and all actions on the moon are to be for the benefit of all mankind and for the interests of all nations; (2) scientific investigation shall be free and without discrimination; (3) the moon and its resources are the common heritage of all mankind. Cooperation is to be the guiding factor among nations. The reader can clearly see that SPS is an endeavor with all these goals already in mind.
As mentioned, there can be no sovereign appropriation of the moon. There can be no spatial appropriation of the moon, however, it has been commented that the lunar resources can be harvested and be reduced to possession. This means that an entity can claim rights to the material it gathers. No one should object to the limited harvesting of lunar regolith by the SPS lunar base when the regolith will be under the control of an international entity that will abide by all international space law. The noble goals and the limited means of achieving those goals should make SPS immune to any criticism about disregarding international law.
III. LEGAL ISSUES THAT WILL CONFRONT SPS AND SOME IMMEDIATE ANSWERS
With all that has been stated supra about international space
law, SPS will have some issues it must address before being implemented
and successful. There are some "knee jerk” issues that can and will be
answered in this section. There are much more in-depth issues that will
be more fully addressed in the next section when a basic outline for a
SPS agreement will be set forth.
It has been mentioned that possible locations for rectennas could be in the waters off the coast of a country. It has been customary that nations keep three miles as the extension of their jurisdiction into the ocean. Nations that are candidates for rectenna locations that are off their coast line must be aware of how big the rectennas will be and if their boundaries stretch far enough to cover the proposed rectenna. If not, the rectenna could stretch over into international waters. On its face, that causes no immediate and dangerous harm to SPS, but it would just add one more headache to logistical planners, diplomats and of course the lawyers involved.
Another issue relating to each candidate country will be zoning. Zoning is a legal "creature" that has developed in the more advanced, industrialized countries. Zoning requirements will differ from nation to nation. In the United States, it can differ from state to state, county to county. A list of candidate countries must be set forth and their zoning requirements must be analyzed. This will help in establishing rectenna design and also eliminate nations in which housing rectennas would not be beneficial to the overall success of SPS. Of course, it should be noted that even if a candidate nation has prohibitive zoning as far as a rectenna site is concerned, that nation may see fit to change its zoning requirements or make an exception for SPS if it views the benefits outweighing any possible negative effect, if there is any.
As mentioned earlier, the more advanced countries have zoning requirements, as opposed to the lesser developed countries. SPS could avoid the entire zoning issue by putting rectennas in these lesser developed nations. These nations’ economies would surely benefit from such an influx. The risk is that these lesser developed countries are, more often than not, less stable. A rectenna could be at risk for damage or worse if placed in such an area. This is a balancing test that SPS members will have to conduct when it comes time to make a decision on where to place the rectennas.
It has been stated that there should be a defense system established that would protect the SPS from meteorite damage. The United States is by far the nation with the greatest ability to establish a system to repel such a threat. It goes without saying that this raises serious national security concerns on the United States' part. The Pentagon would not want to relinquish control of such a system to the UN. The most plausible and feasible way to allay everyone's concerns and still acquire protection for SPS would be to allow the United States to develop its own defense system, which it has been doing, and for part of that system to be able to respond to any threat to SPS. The SPS company or intergovernmental body controlling SPS would reimburse the United States for any extra costs involved with making the system flexible enough to deal with any threats to SPS. The defense system should remain under complete and total United States control.
Another possible impediment to international cooperation and development of SPS, though not really a legal issue, will be the Arab reaction. The development of SPS could be viewed as an undoing and weakening of the Arabs' only bargaining chip on the world stage - oil. Like other interests adverse to SPS, it will be in everyone's best interest to enfranchise these elements. It must be made clear to these interests that SPS is only meant to supplement the world's energy supply and that other fuels are still vital and necessary to provide energy and innumerable applications that SPS cannot even hope to compete with. For example, the manufacturing of petroleum products into plastics.
It is now clear that the common heritage of mankind principles are guiding throughout all international space law and that resources are not to be squandered, but to be used with forethought and a consciousness towards benefiting all the peoples of the world. The main resource that SPS will use from space will be sunlight. If one recalls the Outer Space Treaty, all space resources are to be preserved. This poses an initial problem for SPS. It is held that solar energy is res communis, that is something common to all. An example of everyday res communis is water. Because of this classification and since, for all intents and purposes, sunlight is unlimited res communis, there really should not be any problems for SPS with this utilization of a space resource.
Where SPS might have some trouble is with the utilization of microwaves. SPS will use microwaves to communicate with the satellites and the moon base. Microwaves also will be the form in which the solar energy is beamed down to earth. This could give the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) some jurisdiction over how SPS is implemented. Microwave frequencies are controlled by the ITU. These frequencies are considered a limited natural resource and are to be preserved. The ITU will be under pressure by opponents of SPS to use scarcity of frequencies as a reason not to allocate SPS a frequency. The ITU must be made aware of SPS's importance and how essential it is to alleviate some of the planet's energy problems. The more "ITU-friendly" SPS requirements are, the greater chance SPS has of averting those problems. It has been suggested that SPS utilize a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz
It was discussed earlier about liability for injury/damage caused by space activities. Another area of possible legal problems for SPS could be any interference caused by microwave transmissions. SPS will have to be very careful to insure, as much as possible, that there will be no such harmful interference caused by SPS. SPS planners and managers can be assured that in the future, opponents of SPS will use this as a reason to prevent SPS development or the outright cancellation after implementation of SPS.
One of the essential elements of a viable SPS is the utilization of geostationary orbit "plots." It is well known that these "plots" are some of the most valuable real estate in the solar system. SPS will be jockeying for positions in these slots. Once again, opponents of SPS will use this as another reason to foreclose on SPS. In competing for these slots, proponents of SPS will have to sell hard all the benefits the world will reap if allocated this precious real estate, especially compared to what other interests want to use those slots for. SPS will also have to diffuse any arguments against giving SPS those slots. This author has seen some passing references to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) with respect to SPS, if this area could be utilized instead of geostationary, SPS will avoid the costly and time consuming battle of trying to obtain geostationary slots. Utilizing LEO will also contribute to reduced end costs to consumers because it is much cheaper to launch hardware into LEO than in GEO. Also, it should be noted that a space shuttle cannot reach GEO. This means that if SPS would be stationed in LEO, it would make it easier for repair and maintenance missions to be conducted.
IV. THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE ENERGY COMMISSION (INTERSEC)
In the law, the easiest thing to do when one is faced with a new
issue or concern, is to look to the closest analogy to the situation at
hand and make a bridge between them. To do that makes it easier for all
involved. With making an analogy, it is easier to resolve a new situation
because one can simply look back at what was done in the past. It saves
time and energy. Rather than focus on coming up with entirely new and novel
approaches, one can appropriate the original concept and apply it to the
new situation. The best example of this is the bridge that was created
between Grotius’ concept of the oceans and that application to outer space.
Entirely new ideas and novel approaches definitely have their time and
place, but should only be tried and used when one absolutely has to utilize
That is what this author has tried to do when dealing with the complexities of how to set up a structure in which SPS can operate and also deal with the more intricate legal questions. After reviewing all types of bi-lateral and multi-lateral international space agreements, this author felt the easiest and most effective way to deal with these challenges was to use as foundations; the INTELSAT agreement for devising SPS's working framework; and the International Space Station agreements for a framework to deal with the legal issues involved with the establishment of the moon base/mine. Instead of going through a tedious list of innumerable issues, the author has decided to construct a general outline of what the INTERSEC agreement would have in it and deal with the issues in that fashion.
Since SPS will be a true international effort involving governmental and private entities, an intergovernmental entity should be established to run the whole operation with an eye for cooperation and for observing international space law. It is thought that this entity, since it is international, doing work that will benefit all people and will not result in the negative exploitation of space, it should not encounter any major legal roadblocks relating to international space law.
This author is cognizant of the recent changes in the international telecommunications industry that are going to force INTELSAT to compete in open competition. This author feels that the international telecommunications industry is ripe for such a change. With SPS, however, this author still feels that it should be run from the beginning as an intergovernmental organization. Once SPS has been functioning for a little while, eventually, it too should be forced into competing in the open market and cease to be a protected entity.
The prototype framework SPS could be developed and function under is called the International Space Energy Commission, or INTERSEC. It should be developed with the idea in mind that all peoples of the earth deserve the benefit of the sun's continuous, unending supply of energy coupled with modern technology. The Commission will be in charge of the design, development, construction, maintenance and ownership of a global system of solar collecting satellites and also the lunar facility. INTERSEC shall defer to the ITU when it comes to selecting a frequency and work with the ITU in the resolution of troubles with said frequency. After SPS "goes on line" the ITU will still have standing to step in and assist in any resolution of any future frequency problems.
Like INTELSAT, INTERSEC shall invite all nations to join in the endeavor. Each party (nation) shall designate (public or private) a space energy entity. This entity shall sign and abide by an Operating Agreement. Relations between the party and the space energy entity shall be governed and controlled by the party's domestic law.
The parties may, on their own, decide how the energy it will receive from SPS will be directed and distributed throughout its boundaries. It is recommended that each party awards distribution and utilization rights by letting the domestic market forces and free competition select the company/organization that can provide the best service for the best price to its customers.
Since it is not practical to have rectennas in every country, different nations will probably engage in bi-lateral agreements with countries that have rectennas. These will be very similar to today’s oil pipeline agreements The contracting country will pay a fee to the supplying country for a portion of the electricity it receives from SPS.
INTERSEC shall be a juridical person. It shall be able to conclude agreements with other nations and international organizations, make contracts, acquire and dispose of property and can be a party to legal proceedings.
INTERSEC will have ownership of the space segment. The space segment is all material and equipment used in the entire endeavor, whether on earth or in space. The financial interest in INTERSEC of each party will be equal to its contribution to the capital requirements of INTERSEC. There should be established a minimum contribution requirement. All users of INTERSEC shall receive utilization charges. These charges will be equal for all users.
INTERSEC shall have a decision making triumvirate (Assembly of Parties, Meeting of Signatories and Board of Governors). The three separate entities will work together. The first entity, the Assembly of Parties, shall meet every two years and be in charge of overall policy and long term objectives for INTERSEC.
The next entity, the Meeting of Signatories, will deal with complaints about INTERSEC, monitor and control rates of charges. This organization will be closer to the practicalities of running INTERSEC. It shall meet at least once a year.
The final entity, the Board of Governors, will actually deal with the day-to-day running of INTERSEC. This organization will be responsible for actual design, development, construction, establishment, operation and maintenance of SPS. This organization will also deal with all procurement, distribution and protection of inventions and technical information. This entity will monitor INTERSEC's performance at all stages of development and actual operation. This organization will make recommendations to the Meeting of Signatories and Assembly of Parties.
In addition to these three organizations with membership by all parties/signatories, INTERSEC needs some executive body that can stand as a representative for INTERSEC in front of the ITU or any other intergovernmental organization or country. This office will also act as a liaison, make contracts, be legal representative, be in charge of the management of INTERSEC and be responsible for making reports to all members and the UN.
Procurement of goods and services shall be achieved by award through open bidding. In the event of a tie, the contract shall be awarded with INTERSEC's best interests and the promotion of competition in mind.
A headquarters must be established. This author suggests Washington, DC because it will permit easy access to the Pentagon in the event that a situation arises and a defensive measure must be taken to protect SPS. New York would also be an advantageous location because the UN is located in Manhattan. INTERSEC shall be exempt from taxes and customs of members.
The issue that is most important to international cooperation and the possible legal troubles SPS will encounter is how international legal confrontations among members will be resolved. When it comes to the settlement of disputes that are not settled after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed, the matter will go to arbitration. Each arbitration tribunal shall be composed of three people. Their selection will be from an arbitration panel roster. Membership on that roster will be arrived at by each party naming no more than two legal experts as candidates for membership on the tribunal roster. The executive organ shall then prepare a list of candidates from all the nominations. The parties will then vote on eleven people to sit on the arbitration panel roster. Membership on this panel will consist of a term lasting until the next meeting of the Assembly of Parties, that is two years. The eleven will then vote one of their own to be president of the panel.
Each complaint brought before the panel shall state the cause of action, who it is against, the harm suffered, why the panel has jurisdiction to hear the case and why settlement negotiations have not worked. The party complained about will also have the ability to bring forth any counter-claims and/or defenses. Each party to a case will have the ability to name one panel member to hear the case. Then the third member will be selected after each party to a complaint agrees on that third member. If the parties to an action cannot agree on a third panel member, the president of the panel will name a person, other than her/himself.
Disputants shall have access to each others' materials, yet the tribunal will keep all materials confidential. In American civil law, this process is called “discovery.” It is a process to help ensure that each party puts on a good faith case and that there are no surprises that will unfairly prejudice one party.
All proceedings shall be in writing. At any time during the proceedings, if the disputants reach a settlement agreement on their own, then the panel will abide by that and adopt that agreement as the panel's resolution of the matter. All deliberations by a tribunal are secret. Rulings must have at least two out of the three members agreeing. In the event that a disputant has not set forth a case responding to a complaint, the complaining member can motion for the tribunal to issue a ruling in its favor against the party complained of in the action.
Any party, including INTERSEC, that feels it has an interest in the dispute at hand can petition the tribunal to allow itself to become an additional party. All decisions will be binding. Costs of resolving a dispute will be paid by each side.
With respect to running the moon operations, INTERSEC will oversee all of that. The development and implementation of the moon base and its operations will be divvied up by the aforementioned triumvirate. The moon base raises issues with respect to the personnel who will be stationed there.
INTERSEC will be in charge of establishing and maintaining a permanent human presence at the base. A continual rotation of personnel as well as a rotating command structure will be in effect. INTERSEC will determine how long a base member's “tour of duty” shall be as well as the commander's term at the base.
INTERSEC will set forth a charter that will outline a code of conduct for the base personnel. Each party that has one of its nationals on the moon shall exercise criminal jurisdiction over that individual.
The author has tried to give the reader a simple, brief overview of what SPS is and what it hopes to accomplish, what are the major, controlling works of international space law and how SPS could respond to issues it raises in the area of international cooperation. The final part was an attempt to set out a general system for SPS to work under and deal with some of the major issues countries will have to deal with.
Although it is impossible to cover all issues at this point, it was this paper's goal to be a good "starting off point" for international cooperation in developing and maintaining SPS. When these more tedious and ultra-intensive legal issues come up during development and planning, it will be better to deal with them when all facts are clearly known and those analyzing them are much closer to the problem in space and time.
Agreement Relating to the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, Feb. 12, 1973, 23 U.S.T. 3813, T.I.A.S. No. 7532
Carl O. Christol, THE MODERN INTERNATIONAL LAW OF OUTER SPACE 93 (1982).
Joseph J. Kalo ET AL., OCEAN AND COASTAL LAW 260-261(2nd ed.1994).
Alan Ladwig, "Developing the Case for Solar Power Satellites," presented at the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, August 25, 1997.
SPACE ACTIVITIES AND EMERGING INTERNATIONAL LAW 92 (Nicolas M. Matte ed. 1984).
Mark Reiff, National Space Society Capsule “Space Solar Power Hearing,”
October 27, 1997.