Prof. Edythe Weeks1
1Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff , United States, 2Fulbright Specialist Program, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, 3Webster University, St. Louis, United States of America, 4Washington University, St. Louis, United States of America
The fundamentals of polar law can be advanced by borrowing insights from outer space law. Outer space is further away that Earth’s nearby polar regions. Yet, international space law is extensively developed and detailed compared to polar law. The first phase of outer space development included the creation of a satellite telecommunications infrastructure in the geostationary orbit. It also resulted in the globalization of new high tech products and services – widespread global use of cell phones, the Internet, social networks, and wireless financial transactions. A myriad of United Nations declarations, resolutions and international treaties along with dozens of domestic commercial space legislation and policies accompanied the development of an outer space based satellite global economy. A pattern exists whereby forces of globalization and U.S. domestic space law exhibited a tendency of setting commercialization and privatization trends. Over time, commercialization and privatization processes became the norm for satellite telecommunications, remote sensing, space transportation & launch services, space stations and spaceports. As commercial asteroid mining, spaceship development, missions to Mars and other outer space activities advance, international space law is being politicized. This pattern carries an important lesson for lawmaking practices concerning the now rapidly melting polar regions.
Dr. Edythe E. Weeks. Esq. is an author, professor and Fulbright Specialist, promoting the study of Antarctica, the Arctic and Outer Space.
Weeks earned her PhD in political science from Northern Arizona University in 2006 and a Juris Doctors from the University of Missouri – Columbia, School of Law in 1987. Weeks was named as a space law subject matter expert in a Pentagon white paper in 2018 and she co-authored the ground breaking International Study on Global Space Governance, organized by the Institute of Air & Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University.