Paper Title

A Game of Chicken in Space: Developing Standards for Right-of-Way In Orbit

Location

Jim Henderson Welcome Center, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

Start Date

5-11-2014 3:15 PM

Abstract

The major difference between National Air Space and Outer Space is the difference between sovereign jurisdiction and res communis. While the Chicago Convention recognizes that “every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory”, the Outer Space Treaty explicitly recognizes Outer Space as “the province of all mankind.”

As more countries become launching states, more interactions become possible. And as opposed to sovereign jurisdiction, there is no central authority in Space to direct traffic. Operators are under the authorization and continuing supervision of their separate launching states. Each operator is also presumably guided by their own commercial self-interest.

So in the event that two actively operated space vehicles were to cross paths, there are no clear rules-of-the-road to tell those operators who should move first. They would be motivated to preserve their vehicles, and avoid any need to trigger the need for fault determination of in-space damage under the Liability Convention. But they would also be motivated to preserve the usefulness of their vehicle, and expend as little fuel as possible, and move as little as necessary out of their operating parameters.

This paper will explore current practices between launching states, and between operators, for collision avoidance; and compare state practice in other existing forms of international transportation.

Area of Interest

Space Situational Awareness

STM 2014 Johnson.pptx (39783 kB)
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Nov 5th, 3:15 PM

A Game of Chicken in Space: Developing Standards for Right-of-Way In Orbit

Jim Henderson Welcome Center, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

The major difference between National Air Space and Outer Space is the difference between sovereign jurisdiction and res communis. While the Chicago Convention recognizes that “every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory”, the Outer Space Treaty explicitly recognizes Outer Space as “the province of all mankind.”

As more countries become launching states, more interactions become possible. And as opposed to sovereign jurisdiction, there is no central authority in Space to direct traffic. Operators are under the authorization and continuing supervision of their separate launching states. Each operator is also presumably guided by their own commercial self-interest.

So in the event that two actively operated space vehicles were to cross paths, there are no clear rules-of-the-road to tell those operators who should move first. They would be motivated to preserve their vehicles, and avoid any need to trigger the need for fault determination of in-space damage under the Liability Convention. But they would also be motivated to preserve the usefulness of their vehicle, and expend as little fuel as possible, and move as little as necessary out of their operating parameters.

This paper will explore current practices between launching states, and between operators, for collision avoidance; and compare state practice in other existing forms of international transportation.