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Student Aerospace Challenge

(WP9 – Legal Aspects)

Sébastien DELMAS – Dimitri IMBERT – François NOCTURE – Jessica SALVATORI-RINALDI

Université Paris Saclay, Faculté Jean Monnet, Sceaux

Legal status of crew members and


Nowadays, space vehicles for sub-orbital

flights are engineered to be flown by men.

Thus, such as with commercial flights, in-

flight operations had to be monitored by

pilots. The legal status of those crew

members and of the passengers can be

found in the international civil aviation law,

mainly in twentieth century conventions.

On the contrary, space law ignores such a

distinction and defines the sole notion of


Without a

sui generis

status adapted for

sub-orbital flights, we have to consider both

space and aeronautical laws in order to

distinguish two separate legal statuses for

crew members and for pilots.

Legal status of the VSH and licensing

The main issue is to define separately a

space vehicle and an aircraft. There is a

discrepancy between the two licensing

procedures and legal status. In our case, a

flight operated by the Dassault VSH, the

rules that prevail for an aircraft seem more


The implementation of a temporary

procedure of licensing appears to be the

favorite choice for the operators



procedure has many implications related to

the legal obligations and rights of the crew

members and the passengers

In a general way, the main obligation is to

inform both pilots and passengers (flight

participant) about the risks and the legal

status of the sub-orbital activity.

Responsibility and insurance

Today, if we consider the lack of an

ad hoc

legal status and the coexistence of two

legal corpuses (air and space laws) it

appears to be very difficult to identify the

appropriate insurance policy for a sub-

orbital space flight. It is mainly due to the

lack of experiences (only a few test flights

have been realized as of yet) and

therefore, the inability to precisely identify

the risks and thus, the primes.

The legal insurance framework is deeply

intricate with legal responsibility rules.

However, the legal responsibility status is

very different whether you consider the civil

aviation rules or the space activities rules.

In our study, we consider the civil aviation

status to be more relevant for an activity

such as a sub-orbital space flight.

Subsequently, the insurance market is

waiting for an adaptation of the civil

aviation rules, integrating spatial law rules.

The insurance sector will depend on the

implementation of a non-ambiguous

regulation to develop the space tourism