2021 year Reviews

Space Law Essentials, Volume 1: Textbook, Second Edition

Alexander Soucek,

NWV, 2020, 136 pp,

ISBN: 978-3-7083-1337-5

Space Law Essentials is an excellent academic and pedagogical work, which, in two volumes, constitutes an ideal introduction to the universe of space law.

It is important to stress that the authors have made every effort to ensure that their work is fully functional, with a clear educational character: The extensive use of italic and bold type obviously works in this direction, in order to provide the desired emphasis, while the sections of both volumes are methodically structured - with their subject matter on the side of the text - so that the reader, particularly the uninitiated student, can have access to exactly what they are looking for.

The first volume: Textbook, in just 136 pages, introduces the reader, in a unique and innovative way, not only to the fundamentals of space law (the UN space treaties, the resolutions of the General Assembly or the principles of space law) but also to more specific issues, such as the elements of space mission or the various aspects of international cooperation on space activities, with emphasis on the European dimension of this cooperation (European Union, European Space Agency), the UNIDROIT Space Assets Protocol, the settlement of space disputes, along with the thorny issue of military activities in outer space and the related action of the UN Conference on Disarmament.

If the purpose of the first volume is understanding and knowledge, the second (Casebook) aims to train the reader in the application of space law: It includes nine fictional cases, which deal with highly interesting aspects of space activities: appropriation of celestial bodies, space exploration and exploitation, planetary defence, search and rescue of astronauts, national activities in outer space, the space debris issue, and satellite collision. The respective scenarios are clear and very well structured, while the reader is guided precisely in diagnosing the legal issues of each case, so that the subsumption of the facts under the legal rule not only is carried out with precision but also produces the maximum possible benefit.

What are the merits of Space Law Essentials? Everything that, over time, defines the ideal educational process and, when met, marks out outstanding efforts: Simplification, clarity, conciseness, but also completeness. Through its pages, the beginner will find and absorb a wealth of knowledge. However, even the initiated will truly enjoy the analysis, revisit, and issues neglected over time which these masterfully written textbooks highlight in a unique way.

George D Kyriakopoulos, Assistant Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

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