Space Conference 11 April 2018

On 11 April 2018, the Space Conference took place in the Map Gallery of the University of Salzburg from 11:00 am. Under the title “21st Century Challenges in Space”, four experts from politics, practice and science presented selected chapters of space law. Prof. Dr Kirsten Schmalenbach opened the conference on behalf of the Institute of International Law. In her welcoming remarks, she paid special attention to the historical maps from the 16th century, which, as a symbol of the human urge to explore and discover, provided an extremely fitting backdrop for the Space Conference.
Space Conference Programm The first speaker, Margit Mischkulnig (Ministerialrätin in the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology), presented the cornerstones of Austrian space policy. In particular, the subject matter of the discussion was funding and research programmes in which the Republic of Austria participates with financial and technical means. Ms Mischkulnig also focused on the official authorisation of space activities under the Austrian Space Act (Federal Law Gazette I No. 132/2011) and the conditions for this – also in comparison with the legal situation in other states.
Afterwards, Dr. Marco Ferrazzani (Legal Counsel and Head of the Legal Department of the European Space Agency ESA) gave interesting insights into the structures and (legal) practice of ESA. In his presentation as well as in the audience discussion, he not only presented various synergy models to enable joint space travel (cooperation, integration), but also ventured a look into the future of European space research and industry, including ESA. In his presentation, Mr. Alexander Soucek (ESA’s legal department) covered a wide range of legal issues that accompany a space programme from its initiation to the end of the mission. He succeeded in drawing particular attention to the legal complexity of the environment in which ESA and its Member States operate. After Mr. Soucek himself had studied law at the University of Salzburg, the organisers of the conference were particularly pleased to have him as a speaker. The conference programme was rounded off with a scientific presentation by Prof. Dr. Irmgard Marboe (University of Vienna, member of the Austrian delegation to the UN Space Committee) on a very topical issue: the exploitation of resources in space. In the lecture and the discussion, legal limits or uncertainties in the handling of space resources by state and private actors were discussed. To illustrate the problem, Ms Marboe drew particular attention to diverging lines of development in national space laws. The team of the Institute of International Law at the University of Salzburg would like to thank all speakers for their willingness to share their expertise during the Space Conference and to respond to questions from the audience.