The 2017 ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy - Day 1 & 2
Monday the 4th of September marked the start of the 26th ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy. This year the two-week course is co-organised with Sapienza University of Rome, and aims to give participants a full introduction and overview of legal and policy aspects related to space activities. The course is taking place at Sapienza University’s historic campus located in the middle of Rome, but also includes visits to Thales Alenia, ESA ESRIN, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), UNIDROIT and Telespazio. This year 42 participants, including both students and Young Professionals, representing 23 different countries from Europe and beyond are taking part in the course. Over the next two weeks, we will continue to post updates from the course on the website.
Monday 4th September
The course was initiated by the president of Sapienza University, Eugenio Gaudio, who gave an opening speech outlining the history of Sapienza University, which was founded all the way back in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII. Afterwards, Prof. Sergio Marchisio, in his double capacity as both Full Professor of International Law at Sapienza University and Chairman of the ECSL, summarized the history of the Summer Course, its development throughout the years, and made remarks on certain issues relevant to space law. The last word of welcome was given by the Executive Secretary of the ECSL, Mari Eldholm, who gave an overview of the programme and introduced the participants to the concept of Norwegian punctuality (always being five minutes early), which will be expected from the participants throughout the course.
After the warm words of welcome, the morning continued with a panel introducing the wide range of space activities and research that Sapienza University is involved with. As the first speaker, Full Professor of Aerospace Structures and Constructions Paolo Gaudenzi, discussed, among other topics, the emergence of new manufacturing technologies and additive manufacturing, that allows new, optimal shapes to be 3D printed, which significantly shortens the production time of components. Full Professor of Aerospace Propulsion Marcello Onofri, as the second speaker, further elaborated on the evolution of Italian space activities. Explaining that it started through the efforts of a small group of visionary scientists led by Professor Luigi Broglio. This effort resulted in the launch of the first Italian satellite from the base at Malindi, Kenya. Thereafter, Associate Professor of Aerospace Systems Fabio Santoni, discussed the capacity building efforts of Sapienza University and its cooperation with Kenya. Lastly, Associate Professor of Electronic Engineering Augusto Nascetti gave a great overview of, and discussed the importance of, electrical engineering in space applications.
After lunch, the Course shifted its focus on giving the participants an introduction to the UN space treaties and new trends in law-making for space. Emeritus Professor of Public Law Armel Kerrest gave a thorough overview of the past, present and future of international space law. First, outlining the creation of international space law through the tension in the cold war between the USA and the USSR, including the inception of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the decision process thereof. Thereafter, discussing the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty and shining a light on the possible future developments of space law. In his subsequent lecture professor Kerrest discussed the Liability Convention and Rescue and Return Agreement and briefly touched upon the Registration Convention.
The last lecture of the day was given by Emeritus Professor of Public Law Christian Brünner who gave an informative overview of the sources of space law and the differences between hard law and so-called ‘soft law’. After discussing the value and effectiveness of soft law, Prof. Brünner gave an overview of space related soft law instruments, including both the soft law decisions by the UN General Assembly and the Guidelines and Codes of Conducts adopted by various International Organisations.
Tuesday 5th September
Today, the second day of the Summer Course, started with a bus ride to the Thales Alenia Industrial Site in L’Aquila. The participants were given two lectures on the impressive range of activities and sites of Thales Alenia by Giuseppe Matarazzo, Director Italy Institutional Sales and Ulisse Di Marcantonio, Technology Director. Thereafter, Full Professor of International Law Marco Pedrazzi, gave an overview of the last of the five space treaties, the Moon Agreement. Prof. Pedrazzi touched upon the status of the Moon Agreement and the different interpretations of the provisions contained therein.
After a beautiful Italian lunch, the participants got to dress up in white suits and were taken on a guided tour of the Thales Alenia Space Facilities & Laboratories, including the antenna manufacturing site and the clean room. Then, Full Professor of International Law and International Organisations Jan Wouters gave a lecture on EU Space Policy discussing the history of EU Space policy, the relation between ESA and the EU and gave some concluding remarks on the future of EU Space Policy.
Finally, the participants were taken underneath the Thales Alenia Industrial Site by Francesco Amicucci, General Counsel and Head of Legal, Contract, Export Control and Logistics, to be shown the structures which makes the building earthquake proof. The day at Thales Alenia has proven a great compliment to the lessons on space law, providing the participants with a better understanding of the technical and practical dimensions of the very activities that the law seeks to regulate.
So far, it has been two intensive and interesting days, and we still have over a week and a half to go. For now, both lecturers and participants will enjoy their evening in Rome - and all the Italian food and beautiful sites the city has to offer.
This article was written by Vincent Seffinga in his capacity as a tutor for the 2017 ECSL Summer Course. All rights remain with the ECSL. ECSL webpage editor: Mari Eldholm - firstname.lastname@example.org