29.11.2017 change 29.11.2017

Emilewicz: Space Activities Bill will be ready by the end of the year

The work on the draft Law on Space Activity and the National Register of Space Objects will end by the end of the year so that it can go before the Parliament in the beginning of next year, said Deputy Minister of Development Jadwiga Emilewicz.

Deputy Minister of Development explained that the draft Law on Space Activities and the National Register of Space Objects was added to the schedule of the Council of Ministers in July. Inter-ministerial consultations started in September. "I hope that the work on this law (prepared in the Ministry of Development - PAP) will end by the end of the year, so that it can go before the Parliament in the beginning of next year" - she said.

According to Emilewicz, the law will regulate the activity of business entities that can send objects into space. She added that it will also regulate liability associated with objects released into space and for possible damages caused by objects released into space.

"This law, on the one hand, results from the international agreements that Poland has signed, and on the other it is a proof of responsibility, because today Poland is very active in space, has a lot to say, so we should also regulate these processes" - Emilewicz believes.

Deputy minister emphasized that many Polish companies are interested in this area. "What\'s more, there is also interest in sorting out space debris, because it\'s a very big problem today. We know how many tons of material from Earth is in space today" - deputy minister said. She added that the issue of space debris is one of "technological challenges" of today.

In the justification for the bill published in July on the website of the Government Legislation Centre, Poland has to fulfil its obligations under international agreements concerning space law, namely the Outer Space Treaty, the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, the Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. It is explained that this is connected with the increase of activity of Polish entities in the use of outer space.

The treaties to which the Polish law will be adjusted include, among other things, the need to regulate in national law: the rules for issuing space activity permits for national entities; the rules for appointing the authority responsible for overseeing such activities; the rules for maintaining the national register of space objects; issues of state liability and compensation issues.

According to the bill, space activities are "the launch of a space object into space, the operation and retrieval of an object into the Earth" and the space object is "an object that will be launched or has been launched into outer space, its components, and the carrier vehicle and its components".

The law is intended to regulate the conduct of space activity, which will be able to be carried out only after obtaining a permit. Permits will be issued by the president of the Polish Space Agency is in the form of an administrative decision. The entity required to obtain it will be the operator, i.e. a natural or legal person or an organizational unit without legal personality that intends to conduct or conducts space activity.

"The law will also be the legal basis for the creation and operation of the National Register of Space Objects. The purpose of the register will be to record space objects that launch their operations in space" - reads the justification. The register will be maintained by the Polish Space Agency.

The information contained in the register would serve as a basis for recognizing Poland as a "launch and registration country" and consequently to pursue liability for any damage caused by these objects and to exercise Poland\'s jurisdiction over these objects.

It is assumed that before the operator applies for a permit, the owner of a space object will have to enter into an civil liability insurance contract with the State Treasury designated as the insured. According to the bill, the owner may be relieved of the obligation to enter into an insurance contract if the space object will be used for the purposes of the state security, science, research or education.

The bill provides fees for issuing a space activity permit or to making or changing an entry in the National Register of Space Objects. The amount of the fee will depend on the type and value of the space object. There will also be financial penalties for conducting space activity in breach of the law or conducting it without a permit.

It is planned that the law will enter into force three months after its publication. (PAP)

author: Magdalena Jarco

editor: Anna Mackiewicz

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