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The Study of Space Law

Space law is a rapidly developing field that encompasses a diverse range of legal and interdisciplinary subjects, including physics, international law, and general jurisprudence. This article delves into the study of space law, exploring the academic and professional pathways available to those interested in this exciting and multifaceted field. We examine the skills and knowledge required to succeed in space law, including a firm grasp of the primary legal instruments governing space activities and the underlying legal foundations that govern telecommunications, international law, environmental law, and aviation law. Whether you're a legal professional seeking to specialize in space law or a student interested in this emerging field, this article provides a comprehensive guide to the study of space law and the exciting opportunities it presents.

Deliniating Between Primary, Customrary, and Periphreal Space Law 

Space law is simultaneously an incredibly niche field with relatively little academic development and a field that is so incredibly interdisciplinary that it requires knowledge from physics and other hard sciences to the soft sciences, as well as a firm grasp of history, international law, general jurisprudence, and a plethora of national-level legal frameworks.

With that said, when studying space law, we can divide the field into two: Primary Space Law, the treaties, laws, and other forms of jurisprudence that directly involve the questions of law in space, and the underlying legal foundations of space law, including telecommunications, international, environmental, and aviation law.

Space law being the interdisciplinary field that it is, imposes a great burden upon those who undertake the mission to study it. One needs some level of scholarship in history, law, international relations, astronomy, physics, and even military methods and strategy. This makes any attempt to communicate the various aspects of the field an equally enormous undertaking that requires a systematic way of thinking.


   Firstly one must understand Space law, not as a single field but as a collection of treaties, conventions, national policies, and customary practices that combine into the conglomerate that is space law. That being said, Space law can be broken down into three constituent parts. The first part being Space law proper or “Primary Space Law,” which is the collection of official treaties and conventions that explicitly govern states, companies, and individuals in outer space. 

The second part is Customary Space law. Customary Space Law are the unofficial rules and regulations that govern states in outer space. Customary law is not official or explicit law, yet it is generally accepted by the parties involved as settled law. The primary example being space junk. There are no explicit laws or treaties prohibiting the creation of space junk or requiring the proper disposal of it; however, it is a standard practice among all space-faring nations to minimize the presence of space junk. 

The third part of Space law is Peripheral Space Law. Peripheral Space Law are the laws, treaties, regulations, and national directives that, while not explicitly space related, greatly impact nations, corporations, and individuals conducting activities in outer space. For example, domestic aviation law, as well as telecommunications govern and interact with some portion of space law; however, they are not exclusively space laws or treaties.

The multifaceted nature of space law demands that it be divided into its three primary elements: Primary Space Law, Customary Space Law, and Peripheral Space Law. This division allows individuals to more effectively comprehend the complexities of the interdisciplinary field, by examining each constituent part in detail. By adopting a systematic and methodical approach to studying space law, one can achieve a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of the subject, allowing for a greater ability to navigate and contribute to the ongoing development of legal frameworks governing activities in outer space.

A well-structured methodology not only serves to benefit those engaged in the study of space law, but also ensures that the rapidly advancing realm of space activities remains accessible, well-organized, and transparent for future generations. As the importance of outer space continues to grow, it becomes increasingly vital for individuals involved in the field to have a solid foundation in the various aspects of space law. This, in turn, will facilitate the establishment of effective policies and regulations that address the challenges and opportunities presented by humanity's expansion into the cosmos.

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