Symposium: The regulation of suborbital flights in the European context, Thursday 16 September 2010

The advent of sub-orbital private human spaceflight has created a need to draft specific legislation in the areas of responsibility, liability, safety, insurance, certification and more. The USA has taken the lead in this respect and has set up an extensive body of rules dealing with these issues since 2004, when SpaceShipOne started the new space race, for ‘space tourism’. Although the majority of these activities will take place within the USA, several plans related to sub-orbital space tourism also exist in some EU Member States. The symposium focused on the legal issues arising from this new era of human spaceflight by analyzing the perspectives of various stakeholders. The presentations are available on this website.

The Symposium on the Regulation of Sub-Orbital Flights in the European Context organised by the International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL) on 16 September 2010 in Leiden was a very successful afternoon attracting 120 attendees. Professor Brinkhorst, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the IIASL opened the event noting inter alia the importance of the legal framework in this relatively new area. The IIASL Deputy-Director Mrs. Tanja Masson-Zwaan, initiator of the Symposium, noted the fundamental need for a multidisciplinary approach in sub-orbital flights, as the popular term of "space tourism" does not cover all the aspects involved, whether technical of legal.  The distinguished speakers invited were Mr Farand (Head of Launchers and Exploration Matters Office, Legal Department, European Space Agency, Paris), Ms. Darcy Beamer-Downie (General Counsel, Airclaims Ltd., London), Mr. Steve Mirmina Esq. (NASA Office of the General Counsel, Washington D.C., and alumnus of the IIASL), Mr. Ronald Heister (Chairman, International Space Transport Association, The Netherlands), Dr. Michael Gerhard (Legal Adviser, European Aviation Safety Agency,
Cologne) and Mr. Tommaso Sgobba (Head of ESA Independent Safety Office - President, International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, The Netherlands). Major legal aspects were discussed such as insurance, esponsibility and liability, passenger informed consent, the necessity of dedicated regulations at the international, European and national levels, the involvement of the industry, and safety. The Symposium was one of the key-events celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the IIASL and a celebratory reception followed attended by 155 guests in the Orangerie of the Hortus Botanicus. "The event was made possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors TNOSpace,Dutch Space,HE Space Operations,Ministry of Economic Affairs and M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting.

Please click here for the report of the symposium

Programme and speakers

Chair:                          Ms. Tanja Masson-Zwaan, Deputy Director
                                     International Institute of Air and Space Law
                                     President, International Institute of Space Law

Rapporteur:                 Ms. Axelle Cartier, Senior Lecturer 
                                     International Institute of Air and Space Law


14.00 – 14.05 hrs         Welcome by Prof. Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Chairman,
                                  International Institute of Air and Space Law

14.05 – 14.10 hrs         Introduction by Ms. Tanja Masson-Zwaan

14.10 – 14.30 hrs         The influence of space tourism on space activities in general
                                      Mr. André Farand
                                      Head of Launcher and Exploration Legal Matters Office,
                                      Legal Department, ESA, Paris

14.30 - 14.50 hrs         Sub-orbital space tourism: the legal and insurance perspective

                                      Ms. Darcy Beamer Downie
                                      Legal Counsel, Airclaims Ltd., London

14.50 – 15.10 hrs         Sub-orbital space tourism regulation: 
                                   one perspective from the U.S.

                                     Mr. Steven Mirmina Esq., LL.M. Int'l Law, Leiden, 1993
                                     NASA Office of the General Counsel, Washington DC

15.10 – 15.40 hrs         Tea break

15.40 – 16.00 hrs         Serving commercial space: the stakeholders' perspective

                                     Mr. Ronald Heister, Chairman 
                                     Announcing the International Space Transport Association

16.00 – 16.20 hrs         Sub-orbital space tourism regulation:  EASA’s perspective

                                      Mr. Michael Gerhard
                                      Legal Adviser, EASA, Cologne

16.20 – 16.40 hrs         Sub-orbital space tourism regulation:  the safety perspective

                                      Mr. Tommaso Sgobba
                                      Head of ESA Independent Safety Office, Noordwijk

16.40 - 17.15 hrs          Panel discussion with all speakers, led by the chair

17.30 - 19.00 hrs          Reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of
                                   International Institute of Air and Space Law


Presentations speakers

Presentation Mr. Ronald Heister
Presentation Mr. André Farand
Presentation Ms. Darcy Beamer Downie
Presentation Mr. Steven Mirmina
Presentation Mr. Michael Gerhard
Speech Mr. Tommaso Sgobba

EC Regulation no. 216-2008 consolidated including 1108-2009


The symposium is organised with the generous support of:





Last Modified: 03-12-2010