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The Space Law Games

A joint venture by Academia and Industry to address legal uncertainty in the Space Environment


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Meet the SLG team

Christopher Newman

Professor of Space Law


Christopher J. Newman, BA(Hons), PhD is Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University at Newcastle in the United Kingdom. He is active in the teaching and research of space law and has published extensively on the legal and ethical underpinnings of space governance. Christopher is regularly invited to lecture in universities and at specialist conferences on space law and policy across the UK and internationally.

Christopher has also acted as a consultant on space law matters to commercial law firms and has been lead academic on a successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). He is keen to collaborate across traditional academic disciplinary boundaries having worked with closely with members of the military, ethicists, astrophysicists and space technologists.



Ralph ‘Dinz’ Dinsley

Executive Director of NORSS


Ralph “Dinz” Dinsley is a retired RAF Officer with more than 32 years of service.  A “Air Defender” by choice and “Space Surveillance and Tracking Practitioner” by chance.  His distinguished military career culminated in leading the UK MOD contribution to global Space Situational Awareness (SSA) in 2 significant programmes; the Combined Space Operations Initiative and the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking Framework. His unique military space experience was underpinned as a Chief of the Air Staff Fellow, with an MA in Peace and Development from Leeds Beckett University. His dissertation titled “Critical Perspectives on UK Space Security” explored the vulnerabilities and threats of space operations against past, present and future UK aspirations.

Dinz is the Founder and Executive Director of Northern Space & Security Ltd (NORSS) a rapidly expanding SSA company based in Northumberland, England providing support to governments. He is an associate and founding member of the think tank Reflecting Space, an observer to the Hague Space Resource Governance Working Group and is currently exploring, in partnership with Northumbria University, the influence of Law on developments for Space Traffic Management through the concept of the Space Law Games.   

Mert Evirgen

ERDF PhD Researcher, Space Law


Mert Evirgen is a Law graduate from Northumbria University. In his final year he began to study Space Law through an elective module. As a result he changed his dissertation project, which became published, to discuss the potential use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Outer Space. Mert has started a Space Law PhD where he will work alongside Christopher and Dinz to create ‘The Space Law Games’.

The partners of the SLG

Space law is evolving at the frontiers of legal research, and staff at Northumbria are among the UK’s foremost authorities on the subject. As nations grapple with the enormity of the task of regulating infinite space, legal professionals in the sector require vision, advanced skills in policy negotiations and applied scientific understanding. Northumbria Law School is one of the largest in the UK, and houses academics with an international reputation for research in Space Law

NORSS – Northern Space and Security, empowers business and academic use of outer space and helps governments to manage it. We champion the sustainable use of space. NORSS offers satellite tracking and space situational awareness, consultancy to plan and deliver effective operational use of space and a range of training for satellite operators and controllers. As well as supporting space security, safety, and the development of industry standards, whilst campaigning for an effective regulatory framework.

What are The Space Law Games?

The Space Law Games will use the principle of military war-gaming and Moot Court procedure to address the lack of legal capability and protection when a collision event occurs in Space.

The Space Law Games seeks to address the difficulties faced by all users of the Space environment when trying to determine the legal contours of fault for on-orbit operations. There has not been any litigation regarding on-orbit collisions and there is considerable uncertainty about how the law would react to a significant collision event in orbit.


Utilisation

Utilising wargame methodology to ‘simulate’ two collision events, one in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) and one in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Subsequently, the use of mooting to ‘simulate’ legal proceedings.

Simulation

Through these methodologies an event will be simulated, whereby one satellite collides with another satellite. Understanding what can be done to avoid collisions more effectively.

Identification

This will enable and identification of roles and responsibilities in order to avoid a collision. Specifically, which evidence must be gathered to properly assign fault? What issues will arise if that evidence is used in a legal proceedings?

Result

Ultimately, The Space Law Games will help determine the responsibilities to all parties for continued risk arising from the collision event and aim to prepare legal tool kits for a variety of scenarios.


Global Space Traffic Management Workshop

Attendees of the Global Space Traffic Management workshop. Held at the Higgs Centre for Innovation 27 – 30 August 2019.

The Event

The fourth Global Space Traffic Management workshop took place in Edinburgh on August 26-29, 2019.


4th Annual Workshop

This was the fourth in what has become an annual series of events that bring together invited groups of international participants with expertise in the range of topics that relate to the development of a global system for Space Traffic Management (STM).


Start of the Space Law Games

This fourth workshop extended the regulatory theme by story-boarding a GEO debris collision scenario that will form the basis for a series of “Space Law Games“. These are intended to provide the legal analogue to the operations scenario from the 2017 workshop, by walking through the legal processes that would follow a debris collision event. 


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