ESA Academy’s Introduction to Space Law Training Course

organised by

European Space Agency (ESA)

in Online, Europe Wide


"From the smallest student CubeSat to the largest space endeavours such as the International Space Station, all space activities are governed by space law.

The development of space law under the auspices of the United Nations began shortly after the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, through a newly-formed Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The Outer Space Treaty, which forms the basis of all space law, entered into force in October 1967, just two years before NASA first landed astronauts on the Moon.

Today’s rich body of space law means that space scientists and engineers will likely encounter legal issues in their daily work – from licenses to liability, from insurance to environmental protection.

Following the success of past editions, ESA’s Education Office is organising again, in collaboration with ESA’s Legal Services Department, the five-day Introduction to Space Law Training Course. This third edition will be held online from 1 to 5 March 2021. The training course is open to university students of all levels with an engineering or scientific background.

During this week-long online course, students will be taught by world-class experts in space law. They will discover that:

  • a space mission is by its very nature an interdisciplinary endeavour involving science, technology but also policy, questions of administration and funding and, importantly, law;
  • An international legal framework governs space activities from the beginning of a mission to its very end;
  • National space laws play an important role in the development of space missions and, more broadly, in the development of the space sector in a country.

With these issues in mind, the students will come to appreciate that law is an integral part in the practical realisation of a space mission from the “cradle to the grave”.

To complement the lectures, the students will take part in group exercises throughout the week, to apply their newly gained knowledge.

Key Topics:

  • Introduction to the Core Principles and Concepts of Space Law
  • Space law and the United Nations
  • Overview of national space laws in Europe and beyond
  • Anatomy of a typical national space law
  • Legal Aspects during the life cycle of a space mission: from licensing to re-entry Insurance aspects and contracting practices
  • Space objects from CubeSats to Mega-Constellations
  • Space law and international cooperation
  • Space safety, sustainability and environmental protection
  • The future of space law: how to keep up with progress and promises

The students will be evaluated online throughout the exercise sessions and will receive a certificate of participation and a course transcript, allowing them to claim ECTS credit(s) from their respective universities.

Who can apply?

In order to participate, university students must fulfil the following criteria at the time of application:

  • aged minimum 18 years old. ESA Academy and relevant partners will only appraise applications from students who have no or limited professional experience in relevant engineering or space-related topics;
  • be a citizen of an ESA Member State, Slovenia, Latvia or Canada;
  • be enrolled as a full-time student in a university studying an engineering or a scientific subject.

How to apply?

  • Fill in the application form;
  • Upload a motivation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, no images);
  • Upload a CV (Europass format, PDF, maximum 2 pages);
  • Upload a formal recommendation letter (PDF, maximum 1 page, including signature, no images) from a university professor or academic supervisor of current university (if not possible due to the current COVID-19 situation in your country, please ask a university professor or an academic advisor to send a recommendation email to [email protected]);
  • Upload a copy of academic records (PDF);

All answers and documents should be in English (except academic records if not available). 

The deadline for application is: 22 January 2021 

For more information, please contact [email protected]"