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  • The prospects for the future use of outer space offer tremendous opportunities and challenges for humankind.
  • Space law has not kept pace with a multitude of commercial and geo-political space developments and complexities.
  • The need for a more comprehensive and detailed legal/regulatory framework for outer space represents one of the most politicised and complex challenges ahead for lawyers, governments, scientists and entrepreneurs alike.

I was always destined to have an intense interest in space because I am a ‘Sputnik baby’, born in that most momentous of years for the development of space law, 1957. On 4 October, a Soviet space object, Sputnik I, was launched and subsequently orbited the earth over 1,400 times during the following three-month period. This milestone heralded the dawn of the space age, the space race (initially between the Soviet Union and the United States), and the legal regulation of the use and exploration of outer space. Since then, some fundamental international legal principles have developed that improve the standard of living for all humanity through, for example, the facilitation of public services such as satellite telecommunications, global positioning systems, remote sensing technology for weather forecasting and disaster management, and television broadcast from satellites. The prospects for the future use of outer space offer both tremendous opportunities and challenges for humankind, and law at both the international and national level, will continue to play a crucial role in this regard.

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