Home > Journals > LAWREVIEW > Vol. 96 > No. 1 (2022)
Vulnerability as a Launching State: Why the United States Should Adopt Explicit Indemnification Procedures in Response to the Growth of the Commercial Space Industry
This Note argues that the current United States launch license requirements should be amended to include explicit indemnification procedures, should the United States be held liable for damages as a Launching State under the Liability Convention. Part I of this Note examines the evolution of the space industry from a field marked by Cold War tensions to one that is dominated by private industry, and the risks that are associated with the rapid growth of the commercial space industry. Part II will explain the current legal regime by (1) setting a framework of liability generally, (2) examining the Liability Convention of 1972, and (3) examining the current United States regulations regarding launch licensing requirements. Part III of this Note will analyze the shortcomings of the current United States regulations, namely the lack of specific indemnification procedures. Lastly, Part IV will compare the regulations of the United States with those of other nations which have sophisticated commercial launch providers, namely Australia and France, to examine how explicit indemnification procedures may be implemented.