Astronauts and Personnel of a Spacecraft

Added on -2020-02-18

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Running head: INTERNATIONAL LAWInternational LawName of the StudentName of the UniversityAuthor Note
1INTERNATIONAL LAWThe international law relating to the outer space denotes space travel by ‘astronauts’ and‘personnel of a spacecraft’. According to the Outer Space Treaty, no precise definition for theastronauts has been provided but the astronauts are known as ‘envoys of mankind’. In the MoonAgreement, the provisions stipulate that the state parties shall consider any person on the moonas astronaut1. Ordinary meaning The legal status accorded to astronauts by the Outer Space Treaty does not specifywhether commercial space tourists shall fall within the scope of the definition provided forastronauts. Since the development of the space law, there were no issues relating to the status ofthe spacecraft passengers as the only participants of space flights were the cosmonauts and theastronauts. However, the growing issue in the contemporary era is related to the legal status,rights and obligations that the state parties owe to the commercial passengers. This principalreason that led to the issue is the lack of precise definition of the term ‘astronaut’ who areidentified as ‘envoy of mankind’ and the uncertainty about the fact whether the term ‘spacetourists’ shall fall within the category of astronauts. Context The inclusion of the term ‘space tourists’ within the scope of the above terms is intricatedue to the fact that the treatise have been defining these terms in different ways which results indifferent connotation2. While interpreting the international law, it relies on both the intention ofthe drafters of the provisions and the ordinary meaning of the words used in the provision.1Danilenko, Gennady M. "International law-making for outer space."Space Policy37 (2016): 179-183.2Mani, Tanvi. "The Applicability of the Norms of Emergency Rescue of Astronauts to Space Tourists."King's Student L. Rev.7 (2016): 28.
2INTERNATIONAL LAWSeveral authors and professionals have attempted to remove the ambiguity of the term‘astronaut’ and many have suggested that the term ‘astronaut’ implies a scientific meaningwhereas ‘personnel of a spacecraft’ advocates a functional meaning. As per the principles andrules of the international law, the astronauts refers to people who perform professional activitiesthat involves use and exploration of outer space and the celestial bodies. The Outer SpaceTreaty or the OST has accorded the astronauts with the status of a symbolic value by referringthem as ‘envoys of mankind’ in the outer space. The statutory protection and the special statusaccorded to the astronauts are justified in relation to the mission they perform and the risks theyincur while carrying out their professional activities. The terms and the legal status accorded to the astronauts does not seem to include spacetourists, the sole reason being, that the former carry out their professional activities for thebenefit of the public unlike the latter who venture into space for personal pleasure. Therefore, ifthe variations prevailing within the original meanings of the terms are brought together, it can beasserted that the present privatization and commercialization of the space activities was not takeninto consideration when the agreement was drafted3. This is because at the time of drafting theagreement, the drafters did not foresee that the private entities might take part in the spacerelated activities. Object Since there is no precise, legal definition provided for the term ‘space tourist’, it is important toassess whether the clients of space tourist fall within the ambit of the definition provided for the3Dodge, Michael. "The US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015: Moving US Space Activities Forward."The Air and Space Lawyer29.3 (2016): 4.

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