How High the Sky?

How High the Sky? : The Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space and Territorial Airspace in International Law

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In How High the Sky?, jurist Thomas Gangale explores the oldest and most important controversy in space law: how far up does national airspace go, and where does the international environment of outer space begin? Even though nations did not object to the first satellites flying over their sovereign territory, after more than six decades there is still no international agreement on how low the right of space object overflight extends, nor are there agreed legal definitions of "space object" and "space activity." Dr. Gangale brings his background as an aerospace engineer to bear in exploding long-held beliefs of the legal community, and he offers a draft international convention to settle the oldest and most intractable problems in space law.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 650 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 45.72mm | 1,163g
  • Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 9004366016
  • 9789004366015
  • 1,459,856

Table of contents

Foreword: Into the Lion's Den Once Again


List of Illustrations


1 Opening Arguments

2 The Genesis of the Delimitation Issue

3 The Political Approach: A Fistful of Theories

4 The Political Approach: For a Few Theories More

5 The Spatial Approach: Arbitrary Altitudes

6 The Spatial Approach: Natural Phenomena

7 The Spatial Approach: Aerodynamic Lift

8 The Spatial Approach: Myths and Misconceptions

9 The Spatial Approach: Aerostatic Buoyancy

10 The Spatial Approach: Lowest Perigee

11 The Functional Approach: Security of the State

12 The Functional Approach: Its Rise and Stall

13 The Functional Approach: What Are Space Activities?

14 The Functional Approach: What Are Space Objects?

15 What Is Outer Space?

16 A Temporal Approach

17 National Practices and Legislation

18 Right of Passage

19 Effective Control and State Interest Reconsidered

20 A Hybrid Approach

21 A Draft Space Delimitation Convention

22 Practical Considerations and the Convention

23 The Outer Limits

24 Summation

Appendix 1: Altitudes of Interest with Regard to Spatial Delimitation

Appendix 2: Space Object Perigees below 100 Kilometers

Appendix 3: Selected Suborbital Flights

Appendix 4: Space Vehicle Reentry Altitude and Range Profiles

Appendix 5: Space Vehicle Ground Tracks

Appendix 6: Draft Convention Regarding Delimitation

Appendix 7: Proyecto de Convenio Relativo a la Delimitacion

Appendix 8: Projet de Convention Concernant la Delimitation

Appendix 9:

Appendix 10: Progetto di Convenzione sulla Delimitazione


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About Thomas Gangale

Thomas Gangale, JSD (2017), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has published articles on space law, astrodynamics, engineering management, international relations, and political science. His previous books are From the Primaries to the Polls (Praeger, 2007) and The Development of Outer Space (Praeger, 2009).
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