International Space Law

International space law is usually regarded as a branch of general public international law. It mainly consists of five multilateral treaties which were developed between 1967 and 1979 in the framework of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS).

They set forth the fundamental principles that govern human activities in outer space. The treaties have been supplemented by UN General Assembly resolutions which were also developed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and further define areas included in the treaties.

In addition, regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as well as a number of non-binding instruments containing in particular technical, safety and environmental standards are relevant for the conduct of space activities.

Austrian National Space Legislation

Austria has ratified all five United Nations space treaties. In order to implement the obligations contained in these treaties, Austria has enacted the Austrian Outer Space Act in 2011, which was complemented by the Outer Space Regulation in 2015. The legislation comprehensively regulates legal aspects related to national space activities, such as authorization, supervision and termination of space activities, registration and transfer of space objects, recourse of the government against the operator as well as implementation of the law and sanctions for its infringement. Furthermore, the Austrian Outer Space Act established the Austrian Registry for Space Objects.