Suggested Searches

Space Law Bibliography

It is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.
– “National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958; Public Law 85-568

Space law is based upon a series of international treaties, agreements, and UN resolutions governing the use and exploration of outer space. The treaties work to prevent the militarization of space; prohibit claims of sovereignty over celestial objects, and outline the liabilities of space-faring entities for damages to the surface of the Earth as well as to other objects in outer space. Another international treaty obligates spacefarers to provide assistance to astronauts who are in distress, and to register with the U.N. objects launched into outer space.  A frequent theme underlying most of the treaties is the concept of space as Province of All Mankind. Certain aspects of these agreements mirror similar concepts from maritime law and treaties.  

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1960 UN speech formally launched efforts that eventually led to the Space Treaty of 1967 (officially titled, Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies”) and brought into focus the need to establish legal principles within international law to forestall potential conflicts. A small arena of law up until the time of Eisenhower’s speech, space law had been a topic of research papers since 1910. In his speech, President Eisenhower conceptually tied the proposed treaty to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which largely focused on banning militarization of the uninhabited continent and specifically to avoid a nuclear war in space.

Today, with scores of countries operating space agencies (including 14 capable of launching payloads) and private companies rapidly entering the market for space services, the interest in the legal regime of space explorations is driving one of the fastest growing fields of law. In May 2020, NASA released the “Artemis Accords”, specifying 10 principles intended to guide commercial exploration of space and its resources. The Accords seek to fill in many of the gaps and details missing in established treaties.

In addition to limits internationally, American companies or launches from the U.S. must also comply with U.S. regulations. Domestically, NASA currently serves as a non-regulatory agency providing technical and scientific advice to regulatory agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, which governs launches from the U.S.; the Commerce Department, which governs space commercialization and the licensing of remote sensing satellites; and, the Federal Communications Commission, which governs satellite communications.

Please note: the NASA HQ librarians are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice or research. The selected materials held by the HQ Library support agency management and policy development and are not intended to be comprehensive nor exhaustive. This bibliography does not represent official statements of policy or position by NASA,  by the library staff, nor by their employer.


Abeyratne, R.I.R. Frontiers of Aerospace Law. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002.
KZD1145 .A23 2002 BOOKSTACKS

Andrews, William Lee. The Taxation of Space Commerce. Boston : Kluwer Law International, 2001.
K4487 .S62 A87 2001 BOOKSTACKS

Bruenner , Christian and Alexander Soucek (eds.) Outer Space in Society, Politics and Law. New York: Springer, 2011.
KZD1145 .O96 2011 BOOKSTACKS

Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space. Proceedings of the Forty-Eighth Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space, 17-21 October 2005, Fukuoka, Japan. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2006.
KZD 1024 .I48 2005 BOOKSTACKS
The library holds the 1958-2005 colloquiums.

Diederiks-Verschoor, I. H. Philepina. An Introduction to Space Law (2nd rev. ed.) The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.
KZD1145 .D54 1999 BOOKSTACKS

Dietrich, George B. Extending the Principle of the Common Heritage of Mankind to Outer Space. Thesis (LL.M.)–Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, 2002.
KZD1390 .D54 2002 BOOKSTACKS

Doyle, Stephen E. The Origins of Space Law and the International Institute of Space Law of the International Astronautical Federation. San Diego, CA: Univelt, 2002.
KZD1024 .D69 2002 BOOKSTACKS

Dunk, Frans G. von der (ed.) Handbook of Space Law. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar Publishing, [2015]
KZD1145 .H36 2015 BOOKSTACKS

Gabrynowicz, Joanne Irene (ed.) The UN Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Space: A Legislative History: Interviews of Members of the United States Delegation. [Oxford, Miss.]: National Remote Sensing and Space Law Center, 2002.
K3479 .Z9 U5 2002 BOOKSTACKS

Haanappel, P.P.C. The Law and Policy of Air Space and Outer Space: A Comparative Approach. The Hague, The Netherlands; New York, NY: Kluwer Law International, 2003.
KZD1145 .H33 2003 BOOKSTACKS

Gallagher, Nancy W. and John D. Steinbruner. Reconsidering the Rules for Space Security. Cambridge, MA: Committee on International Security Studies, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2008.
TL788.4 .G35 2008 BOOKSTACKS

Haanappel, Peter P.C. The Law and Policy of Air Space and Outer Space: A  Comparative Approach. New York : Kluwer Law International, 2003.
KZD1145 .H33 2003 BOOKSTACKS

International Astronautical Federation. Highlights in Space 2011: Progress in Space Science, Technology and Applications, International Cooperation and Space Law. New York, NY: United Nations, 2011.
QB500.26 .H638 2011 BOOKSTACKS
The library holds copies of previous annuals.

Jakhu, Ram S. Space Mining and Its Regulation. Chichester, U.K. : Praxis Publishing, 2017.
KZD3491.5 .J35 2017 BOOKSTACKS

Jakhu, Ram S.; Tommaso Sgobba, and Paul Stephen Dempsey (eds.) The Need for an Integrated Regulatory Regime for Aviation and Space. Wien; New York: Springer, 2011.
KZD1445 .N44 2011 BOOKSTACKS

Kayser, Valéry. Launching Space Objects: Issues of Liability and Future Prospects. Boston : Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.
KZD4030 .K39 2001 BOOKSTACKS

Kleiman, Matthew J.; Jenifer Lamie, Maria-Vittoria Carminati Weil, and American Bar Association, Section of Science & Technology Law. The Laws of Spaceflight: A Guidebook for New Space Lawyers. Chicago: American Bar Association, Section of Science & Technology Law, 2012.
KZD1146 .U6 K58 2012 BOOKSTACKS

Lafferranderie, Gabriel, and Sergio Marchisio (eds,). The Astronauts and Rescue Agreement: Lessons Learned. The Netherlands: European Centre for Space Law, 2011.
KZD4130 .A78 2011 BOOKSTACKS

Malinowska, Katarzyna. Space Insurance: International Legal Aspects. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International B.V., [2017]
KZD4055 .M35 2017 BOOKSTACKS

Moltz, James Clay. Crowded Orbits: Conflict and Cooperation in Space. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.
QB500.25 .M67 2014 BOOKSTACKS

National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law. Final Report: March 2010-March 2011. Oxford, MS: University of Mississippi School of Law, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law, 2011.
KZD1340 .N334 R737 2011 BOOKSTACKS

PCA International Law Seminar. Arbitration in Air, Space, and Telecommunications Law: Enforcing Regulatory Measures. The Hague, The Netherlands; Boston, MA: Kluwer Law International, 2002. ISBN: 9041117733
KZD1141 .P38 2001 BOOKSTACKS

Sadeh, Eligar (ed.) Space Politics and Policy: An Evolutionary Perspective. Dordrecht, The Netherlands; Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 1402008791
TL789.8 .U5 S592 2002 BOOKSTACKS

Schmidt, Nikola, editor. Planetary Defense: Global Collaboration for Defending Earth from Asteroids and Comets. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, 2018.
QB651 .P536 2019 BOOKSTACKS

Taylor, Michael W. Orbital Debris: Technical and Legal Issues and Solutions. Montreal, Que.: Institute of Air and Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, 2006.
TL1499 .T1395 2006 BOOKSTACKS

United Nations. Office for Outer Space Affairs. United Nations Treaties and Principles on Outer Space: Text of Treaties and Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space and Related Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly. New York, NY: United Nations, 2008.
KZD1120 .U558X 2008 BOOKSTACKS

Valinotti, Inés Martínez. Derecho Espacial: Su Desarrollo Progresivo. Asunción, Paraguay: Colecciõn de Estudios Internacionales, 2017.

Vedda, James A. Study Of The Liability Risk Sharing Regime In The United States For Commercial Space Transportation. El Segundo, CA: Space Launch Operations, 2006.
KZD4030 .V433 L533 2006 BOOKSTACKS

Wouters, Jan; Philip de Man; and, Rik Hansen (eds.) Commercial Uses of Space and Space Tourism: Legal and Policy Aspects. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.
KZD4050 .C66 2017 BOOKSTACKS

Workshop on International Legal Regimes Governing Space Activities. Final Report: American Astronautical Society International Programs Committee Workshop on International Legal Regimes Governing Space Activities. Springfield, VA: American Astronautical Society, 2001.
KZD1141 .W67 2001 BOOKSTACKS

Online Reports & E-books

Johnson, Christopher J. (ed.) Handbooks for New Actors in Space. Washington, DC: Secure World Foundation, 2017. 

United Nations. Office of Outer Space Affairs. International Space Law: United Nations Instruments. Vienna; United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, 2017. 

United Nations. Office for Outer Space Affairs. Education Curriculum on Space Law. Vienna, Austria : United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, 2014.

United States. Department of Commerce, Office of Space Commercialization. Introduction to U.S. Export Controls for the Commercial Space Industry (2nd ed.) Washington, D.C.: Office of Space Commerce, 2017.
HD9711.75 .U62 F33 E976 2017 BOOKSTACKS

United States. Department of Transportation. Liability Risk-Sharing Regime for U.S. Commercial Space Transportation: Study and Analysis. Washington, DC: Department of Transportation, 2002.


Journal of Space Law. Available in print in the HQ Library. Back issues 1973 – 2011 available online for free:


Garber, Stephen. Key Documents in the History of Space Policy. Washington, DC NASA History Office, June 19, 2018.

Osbourn, Christopher (ed.). International Law Resources. Washington, DC: NASA Office of General Counsel, update August 3, 2017.

American Resources

Cleveland State University; Global Space Law Program Research Guide.

George Washington University. Space Policy Institute.

The StarLaw Blog: A Disruptive Blog on the Law of Outer Space.

International Resources

European Space Agency. European Centre for Space Law.

International Institute of Space Law, 2020.

International Law Association. Space Law Committee, 2017.

McGill University. Institute of Air and Space Law, 2020.

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, 2020.