The law applicable to the use of space for commercial activitiesThe general principles of space law that have an impact on commercial space activities are discussed. The Outer Space Treaty guaranteed the right of private enterprise in space, with jurisdiction over the participating parties residing in the country of origin. The liability for damages caused to a third party is also assigned to the country of origin. Government consent is necessary in the U.S. before a private firm is permitted to launch an object into space, with the relevant statute sections being part of the Arms Export Control Act; launches are legally treated as exports. FAA regulations define the safe area and flight conditions that must be satisfied for a private launch, although NASA, in the 1958 act which formed the agency, potentialy has the power to regulate space launch activities. The DoD must be notified of any launches in order to notify the U.S.S.R., filings must be made with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and fees must be paid to the IRS. It is presently U.S. government policy to encourage and facilitate private sector development of commercial launch services.
Hosenball, S. N. (NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)