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Start of a new series: Space Technologies' Compliance with Export Control Regimes

Space has always represented a challenging environment for human exploration. While space is not subject to claims of national sovereignty, States are free to explore that expanse existing beyond the Earth and between celestial bodies, and which, everyone knows, is not completely empty.

Luxembourg has recently gone the path and aims to contribute to the peaceful exploration and sustainable utilization of space resources for the benefit of humankind. Its vision is built on support for advanced research activities and technological capabilities, drawing on the country’s existing expertise in the space sector and its ongoing strategy of economic diversification into future-oriented high-tech industries.

Space technologies have their origin in strategic and military domain. They have now become a key in high technology development, both in the military and civilian fields.

Technologies related to space launch vehicles may also be deployed in ballistic missiles and thus can have a major impact on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Satellites play a vital role in the crisis management during natural catastrophes, or allow real time communication world-wide. At the same time, satellites may provide all kinds of support to military forces, ranging from gathering intelligence information to issuing early warning of hostile missile launches.

It is therefore not strange that international organizations are controlling and limiting trade and transfers of space technologies, essentially for national and international security reasons. But how do these controls look like? What do space technology companies have to respect in their strategic and daily business, in order not to contravene international and national rules on export control, and to avoid to run a risk for heavy administrative and criminal sanctions ?

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