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Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law 2012: 55th Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space (Naples, Italy)


This volume contains the proceedings of the 55th Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space held in Naples, Italy in October 2012, including the 27th IAA-IISL Scientific-Legal Roundtable, as well as the papers presented at the IISL-ECSL Space Law Symposium held on the occasion of the 51st session of the Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna, Austria in March 2012, and of the 7th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues In Space Law, held in Washington D.C., United States in December 2012. It also contains the report and best written memorials of the World Finals of the 21st Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition.

This article examines how the operation of the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space (the Rescue and Return Agreement) could benefit, and in certain cases harm, a creditor who holds an international interest in a space object under the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (the Cape Town Convention). The benefits flowing from the Rescue and Return Agreement could arise in several situations and would enhance the Cape Town Convention's facilitation of commercial transactions. For example, the duty of a state party to the Rescue and Return Agreement to retrieve an errant space object and return it to the launching authority could assist the creditor in the repossession of the object upon the debtor's default. Although satellites that reenter the atmosphere and return to Earth will not survive, a reusable space capsule (or a space plane) may very well make the landing without suffering damage. In such a situation, the Rescue and Return Agreement could be of benefit to a creditor seeking to enforce its remedies against the space capsule or space plane under the Cape Town Convention. The paper will also explore those scenarios in which the operation of the Rescue and Return Agreement could harm the interests of a creditor. For example, a state may be required to return an errant space plane to a state that is not a party to the Cape Town Convention, thus depriving the creditor of the ability to exercise its remedies under the Convention.




pp. 221-229