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The George Washington University Publishes Inaugural Guide to Space Law Terms

January 29, 2013

 MEDIA CONTACT: Taylor Tibbetts
 202-994-1462; [email protected]
WASHINGTON – The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs’ Space Policy Institute (SPI), in conjunction with the Secure World Foundation (SWF), published the first guide to space law terms in December 2012. Edited by Henry R. Hertzfeld, research professor of space policy and international affairs, the guide is an important initial step to clarifying more than 80 space law words, terms and phrases.

“The project evolved naturally from students’ concerns about the breadth and complexity of these terms," said Professor Hertzfeld. "Foreign and non-law students especially experienced difficulties navigating space law phrases and words, many of which have no standard definition and can vary widely across contexts. It was our goal to create an accurate, user-friendly guide that addresses the space law vernacular in a variety of settings.”

The guide outlines seven categories of definitions so that the reader can understand usage in different situations. For example, a variety of approaches to definitions are provided for space law terms and phrases such as: international liability, space object and space flight participants, among others.

SPI and SWF view the publication of this first guide as launching the process to forming an authoritative and comprehensive continuously updated and thoroughly cited guide to space law terminology. This process, as encouraged by Professor Hertzfeld, will be open to all readers and students who wish to provide revisions or commentary.

The book is available for downloading in PDF format at the following URLs:

About the Space Policy Institute
GW established the Space Policy Institute in 1987. The Institute conducts research on space policy issues, organizes seminars, symposia, and conferences on various topics, and offers graduate courses on space policy. It operates as a research and policy program of the Center for International Science and Technology Policy of GW's Elliott School of International Affairs, but draws on all University resources that can contribute to its work.

The Space Policy Institute focuses its activities on policy issues related to the space efforts of the United States and cooperative and competitive interactions in space between the United States and other countries. The Institute provides a setting in which scholars, policy analysts, practitioners, and students can work together to examine and evaluate options for the future in space. It is an affiliate of the International Space University and The Aerospace Corporation.

About the Secure World Foundation
Secure World Foundation works with governments, industry, international organizations and civil society to develop and promote ideas and actions for international collaboration that achieve the secure, sustainable, and peaceful uses of outer space.

With the end of the Cold War and rapid spread of access to information, more of humanity is seeking to obtain the security and socioeconomic benefits that space systems can provide. This trend, in turn, is promoting rapid growth in the number of space actors. The growth in stakeholders benefitting from space systems has exposed the limitations of existing global legal, policy, technical, and operational regimes to preserve the space environment.

At this point, just one half century into the Space Age, the Foundation believes it has a unique opportunity to play a role in establishing the secure and sustainable use of the space domain.  Central to this opportunity are: increasing the knowledge about the space environment and the need to maintain it, promoting international cooperation and dialog, and helping all space actors realize the benefits that space can provide.

About GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs is one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs and the largest school of international affairs in the United States. Located in the heart of Washington D.C., its mission is to educate the next generation of international leaders, conduct research that advances understanding of important global issues, and engage the policy community in the United States and around the world. In the January/February 2012 issue of Foreign Policy, the Elliott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs ranked among the top ten in the United States for international affairs by the Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) survey.