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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Space Law and Policy (LAWS11494)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will explore the five main UN treaties relating to space (Outer Space 1967, Rescue Agreement 1968, Liability Convention 1972, Registration Agreement 1975 and Moon Agreement 1979) and their continuing relevance to recent developments in the field of space exploration and use. In addition, specific developments or challenges in regulating space such as the ownership of space resources, space debris and traffic management, human space flight, remote sensing and the weaponisation of space.
Course description 1. Sources of Space law and the Outer Space Treaty: where does space begin?
2. The Registration Convention
3. The Liability Convention: the challenge of commercial space flight
4. The Moon and Rescue Agreements: from the dawn of human space flight to the International Space Station
5. Peaceful uses of outer spaces and military activity
6. Commercial exploitation of space: space mining
7. Sustainability and space debris
8. Space Traffic Management
9. Remote Sensing: military and civil applications
10. National and regional perspectives
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the international law relating to space, the main sources of space law, and key actors at international, regional and national level engaged in its regulation.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the inter-relationship between international and national law in the field; the impact of technological developments; and how private as well as public activity in the field is now being regulated.
Reading List
At present two core texts are Introduction to Space Law by Masson-Zwaan and Hofmann (Wolters Kluwer, 2019) and the Handbook of Space Law by Von der Dunk and Tronchetti (Elgar, 2015). Space law is also covered in a number of specialised law journals held by the library.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Students will be able to identify relevant legal resources and develop a critical awareness of how ethical and technological challenges are being addressed in the context of finite resources and activities that can both enhance human wellbeing and threaten it.
2. Students will develop their knowledge through research and active online discussion. They will be encouraged to carry out independent research in developing their blog and final essay and to test out and critically assess the existing law and policy with reference to that research.
3. Students will explore key concepts and theories and, in particular, the role of international law in this area on the course discussion forum. The blog and final essay will require students to engage with different writing styles and to be precise and focused.
4. Students will be required to explain and evaluate key principles, the effectiveness of existing law and regulation and ongoing challenges on the basis of assigned reading. Clarity, focus and precision will in particular be an important component of the ongoing forum discussion. Students will take responsibility for the effectiveness of this component of the course.
5. Students will gain experience collaborating with other students on the forum and making this a valuable interactive experience.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Rachael Craufurd-Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 2061
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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