Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Space Law: The Law of Outer Space

This guide provides an introduction to researching the law that governs outer space.

National Laws & Regulations

As space debris continues to proliferate, and as interest in the commercial exploitation of space resources increases, more laws and regulations governing human activities in outer space are being enacted at the national level.  Use the free and subscription-based resources described below to help you identify and access these national laws and regulations.

Free Online Resources

  • National Space Law Collection
    The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) maintains this free directory of national legislation and regulations pertaining to the exploration and use of outer space enacted in 25 jurisdictions.  Links to the full texts of laws are provided, as are links to English translations thereof, when available.  Depth of coverage varies by jurisdiction.
  • Compendium of National Implementing Mechanisms
    UNOOSA also maintains this gateway page from which you can access a compendium of national mechanisms enacted to implement standards and guidelines set forth in non-binding UN General Assembly resolutions and other soft law instruments pertaining to outer space.  Scroll al the way down to download the compendium and view subsequent updates.

Subscription Databases

  • The Foreign Law Guide
    This subscription database highlights significant laws on a wide range of subjects enacted in jurisdictions outside the U.S.  Begin by selecting "Air and Space Law" from the Laws Subject menu.  Then select the jurisdiction.  Depending on the jurisdiction, you may find direct links to the full texts of laws online or citations to print sources.  Coverage is selective, not comprehensive.
  • Global-Regulation
    This user-friendly subscription database enables you to search by keyword in English for national laws and regulations enacted in 95 jurisdictions worldwide.  For non-English-speaking jurisdictions, machine-generated English translations of laws are provided, along with a link to each law in its original language.

Compilations of National Laws in Print

Selected Books on National and Regional Approaches to Space Law and Policy