Sundahl Speaks on Space Tourism at International Astronautical Congress

Pounding on the podium and inviting dissenting opinions, Associate Dean Mark Sundahl delivered the lead paper on the human spaceflight panel at the space law colloquium at the International Astronautical Congress last week in Toronto.  The regulation of commercial suborbital (and orbital) human spaceflight is one of the most controversial issues in the law of outer space at the moment.  In his paper, Sundahl evaluated the current efforts to shape this law and focused on several initiatives to compile best practices and safety guidelines that may eventually ripen into regulations.  Virgin Galactic and XCOR will be flying their first paying passengers into space likely within the next year and so regulators are looking closely at the need to ensure the safety of crew, passengers, and third parties on the ground.  Although the FAA has taken a “hands off” approach so far in the regulation of this new industry, this may change in the coming years.
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