Man has always been an inquisitive being. Human beings are always in the race to discover, explore and dominate territories unknown. It is an innate attribute in every human being. Man has, from time immemorial, explored and exploited the realm of seas and oceans to a considerable extent. Many may claim that the body of oceans and seas are largely unexplored but Maritime law is relatively a developed jurisprudence across all countries having any sort of identity with seas and oceans. The exploration of man is not just restricted to the body of oceans and seas but also the land itself. Man has combed wide and far on land in exploration adventures which has led to the discovery of ancient forgotten species, new species of plants and animals, artifacts, and species of flora and fauna on the brink of extinction. The increase in human exploitation in exploration of the world is indeed one of the foremost developments of the 21st Century.

In corollary to the above, man has focused his attention to the exploration and development of the outer space. Space Exploration can be referred to as the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. Human beings have been venturing into space since October 4, 1957, when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R) launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth. The first human in space was the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who made one orbit around Erath on April 12, 1961, on a flight that lasted 108 minutes. Ever since Yuri Gagarin’s first contact with the space, man has not looked back in his pursuit of establishing life in the outer space.

Space stations marked the next phase of space exploration. The first space station in Earth orbit was the Soviet Salyut 1 station, which was launched in 1971. This was followed by NASA’s Skylab space station, the first orbital laboratory in which astronauts and scientists studied Earth and the effects of spaceflight on the human body. AT&T, together with Bell Laboratories, funded NASA’s launch of the first ever commercial satellites in the outer space known as the Telstar 1 on July 10, 1962. The Hughes Aircraft Company (now the Boeing Satellite Development Center) manufactured and developed the Syncom 2, launched in 1963, which was the world’s first geosynchronous communications satellite. Syncom 3, later launched in 1964, was the world’s first geostationary satellite. Similar developments have followed suit, and as expected, the exploration of the outer space has become largely a subject of territorial acquisition and claims for ownership, both by States and private individuals alike.

As at today, numerous Countries operate agencies in space including those that are independently capable of launching into space by their launch vehicles as well as private entities who are on the quest to establish themselves as market forces providing space-related services. As a result, there’s a fast-growing interest in the legal regime of space exploration, making Space Law one of the fast-emerging areas of law.


Space Law has been described by the United Nation Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) as the body of laws governing space-related activities, encompassing both international and domestic agreements, rules, and principles. Space Law, much like general international law, comprises a variety of international agreements, treaties, conventions, and United Nations General Assembly resolutions as well as rules and regulations of international organizations. Parameters of space law includes space exploration, liability for damage, weapons use, rescue efforts, environmental preservation, information sharing, new technologies, and ethics. Other fields of law, such as administrative law, intellectual property law, arms control law, insurance law, environmental law, criminal law, and commercial law, are also integrated within space law.[1]

The Soviet Space legal expert, Evgeny Korovin, defined Space Law as “a set of rules regulating the legal relations between people and between states in outer space”.[2] This definition emphasizes the legal regulation of the order in outer space and the rules of both international and national law being implied. Accordingly, the sphere of operation of Space Law is confined to outer space.

Space Law addresses a variety of matters, such as, the preservation of the space and earth environment, liability for damages caused by space objects, the settlement of disputes, the rescue and return of astronauts, the return of space objects, the sharing of information about potential dangers in outer space, the use of space-related technologies, and international cooperation. A few fundamental principles guide the conduct of space activities, including the notion of space as the province of all humankind, the freedom of exploration and use of outer space by all states without discrimination, and the principle of non-appropriation of outer space.


The Origins of space law date back to 1919, with international law recognizing each country’s sovereignty over the airspace directly above their territory, later reinforced at the Chicago Convention in 1944[3]. The onset of domestic space programs during the Cold War propelled the official creation of international space policy (i.e., the International Geophysical Year) initiated by the International Council of Scientific Unions. The Soviet Union’s in 1957 launched the world’s first artificial satellite known as Sputnik 1. This spurred the United States Congress to pass the Space Act, thus creating the National Aeronautics and space Administration (NASA). Space exploration required crossing transnational boundaries, it was during this era that space law became a field independent from traditional aerospace law.

The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the “Outer Space Treaty”) and the International Telecommunication Unionsince the Cold War, have served as the constitutional legal framework, and set of principles and procedures constituting space law. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), along with its Legal and Scientific and Technical Subcommittees, are responsible for debating issues of international space law and policy. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) serves as the secretariat of the committee and is promoting Access to space for all through a wide range of conferences and capacity-building programs. Beginning in 1957 with the Space Race, nations began discussing systems to ensure the peaceful use of outer space. Bilateral discussions between the United States and USSR in 1958 resulted in the presentation of issues to the UN for debate.[4]In 1960 the International Astronautical Congress met in Stockholm and heard several submissions including a survey of legal opinion on extraterrestrial jurisdiction by Andrew G. Haley.

Starting in 1961, the General Assembly Resolution 1721 (XVI) and later 1802 (XVII), both titled “International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space”, and Resolution 1962 (XVIII) or a “Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space” were passed unanimously. These basic principles formed the foundation of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.[5]


There are several regulations, treaties and conventions that have been negotiated and entered at the international level that serves as laws regulating space activities and govern state behaviour in space. These laws are products of international cooperation and deliberation and thereby enjoy uniform validity.[6] The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is the forum for the development of international space law. The Committee has concluded five international treaties and five sets of principles on space-related activities.

These five treaties deal with issues such as the non-appropriation of outer space by any one country, arms control, the freedom of exploration, liability for damage caused by space objects, the safety and rescue of spacecraft and astronauts, the prevention of harmful interference with space activities and the environment, the notification and registration of space activities, scientific investigation, and the exploitation of natural resources in outer space and the settlement of disputes. Each of the treaties stresses the notion that outer space, the activities carried out in outer space and whatever benefits might be accrued from outer space should be devoted to enhancing the well-being of all countries and humankind, with an emphasis on promoting international cooperation.

The treaties commonly referred to as the “Five United Nations treaties on outer space are:

  • Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon, and other Celestial Bodies (The Outer Space Treaty).

This Convention is also known as “The Outer Space Treaty”. It encapsulates the basic framework on international space law, including principles such as, the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind; outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States; and States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities. The Outer Space Treaty was considered by the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations in 1966 and agreement was reached by the UN General Assembly in the same year, and it was passed as resolution 2222 (XXI)[7]. The Treaty was opened for signature by three depository Governments; the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America in January 1967, and it came into force in October 1967. The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on International Space Law, including the following principles:

  1. The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind.[8]
  2. Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States.
  3. Outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.[9]
  4. States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner.[10]
  5. The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.[11]
  6. Astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind.[12]
  7. States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities.[13]
  8. States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects.[14]
  9. States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.[15] Among others.
  • The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts, and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (Rescue Agreement).

ARTICLE 1 of the Rescue Agreement provides that: “Each Contracting Party which receives information or discovers that the personnel of a spacecraft have suffered accident or are experiencing conditions of distress or have made an emergency or unintended landing in territory under its jurisdiction or on the high seas or in any other place not under the jurisdiction of any State shall immediately: (a) Notify the launching authority or, if it cannot identify and immediately communicate with the launching authority, immediately make a public announcement by all appropriate means of communication at its disposal; (b) Notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who should disseminate the information without delay by all appropriate means of communication at his disposal”.[16]

This Convention imposes an obligation on any State party that becomes aware that the personnel of a spacecraft are in distress to notify the launching authority and the Secretary-General of the United Nations and provide all possible assistance to rescue the personnel of a spacecraft. The Rescue Agreement treaty was signed in 1967 and it came into force in the year 1968.

  • The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (Liability Convention).[17]

Every member States bear international responsibility for all space objects that are launched within their territories. This means that regardless of which State launches the space object, if it was launched from State A’s territory or facility, or if State A caused the launch to happen, then State A is fully liable for damages that result from that space object.


Where two States work together to launch a space object, then both States are jointly and severally liable for the damage caused by the object. This means that the injured party can sue either of the two States for the full amount of damage.[18]


Claims under the Liability Convention must be brought by a State against another State. The Convention was created to supplement existing and future national laws providing compensation to parties injured by space activities. Whereas under most national legal systems,  an individual or a corporation may bring a lawsuit against another individual or another corporation but under the Liability Convention, claims must be brought on the State level only. This means that if an individual is injured by a space object and wishes to seek compensation under the Liability Convention, the individual must arrange for his or her country to make a claim against the country that launched the space object that caused the damage.

  • The Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (Registration Convention).[19]

This is commonly known as the Registration Convention which requires States to furnish the United Nations with details about the orbit of each space object. The register is kept by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs(UNOOSA). Article 11 of this Convention, it is provided that when a space object is launched into earth orbit or beyond, into outer space, the launching State shall register the space object by means of an entry in an appropriate registry which it maintains. Information on the object launched into space, including the date and territory or location of the launch, essential orbital parameters, and the function or role of the object in space is to be communicated to the UN Secretary-General as soon as practicable.

To date over 86% of all satellites, probes, landers, crewed spacecraft, and space station flight elements launched into Earth orbit or beyond have been registered with the Secretary-General. Equally, where there are two or more launching States in respect of any such space object, they shall jointly determine which one of them shall register the object. The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in its Resolution 3235 (XXIX), and it was opened for signature on the 14th  of January 1975 and entered into force on 15th  September, 1976.

  • The Agreement governing the activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies[20] (The Moon Treaty).

The Moon Treaty proposes to establish a framework of laws that apply to the Moon and to Other Celestial Bodies within the Solar System, including orbits around or other trajectories to or around them. The Moon Treaty lays several provisions outlined in 21 articles. In Article 1, the treaty makes a declaration that the Moon should be used for the benefit of all states and all peoples of the international community. It reiterates that lunar resources are “not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.” It also expresses a desire to prevent the Moon from becoming a source of international conflict, so that the resources should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. The Agreement was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/68and it was opened for signature on 18th December 1979, and entered into force on 11th July, 1984.


The United Nations General Assembly has also adopted Resolutions relating to outer space. These Resolutions established a few declarations and legal principles such as:

  1. The Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space. The “Declaration of Legal Principles” – General Assembly resolution 1962 (XVIII) of 13 December 1963.[21]
  2. The Principles Governing the Use by States of Artificial Earth Satellites for International Direct Television Broadcasting. The “Broadcasting Principles”– General Assembly resolution 37/92 of 10 December 1982[22]
  3. The Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Outer Space. The “Remote Sensing Principles” – General Assembly resolution 41/65 of 3 December 1986[23]
  4. The Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space. The “Nuclear Power SourcesPrinciples” – General Assembly resolution 47/68 of 14 December 1992[24]
  5. The Declaration on International Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Benefit and in the Interest of All States, Taking into Particular Account the Needs of Developing Countries. The “Benefits Declaration” – General Assembly resolution 51/122 of 13 December 1996[25]

There are several other instruments regulating space activities such as the 1977 Geneva Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile use of Environmental Modification Techniques and the 2002 Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.


Space Law in Nigeria is an evolving area of law which is likely to increase its pace in the next fifteen years, considering the increase in space exploration and activities globally. Nigeria is a signatory to some international treaties, including most of those highlighted above and is therefore imposed with the international obligation to enact for itself a local legislation, which shall carve out a legal framework and regulatory system for the exploration and exploitation of space activities.

 Nigeria is one of the leading countries in the African Space Sector. During the tenure of the then former President,Olusegun Obasanjo, the President in an unprecedented move by any African leader at the time, began discussing the future of Nigeria as one that extended beyond our planet and into space. This led to the creation of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) at the federal level in 1999.[26] The Agency was set up to encourage capacity building in space science technology development and manage the development of satellite technology for various applications and finally enhance the development and entrenchment of research.

The principal legal framework for the regulation of Space activities in Nigeria is the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Act, which was signed into Law on August 27th, 2010. The Act is applicable to all Space Activities within Nigeria. These strides resulted in the launch of the country’s first satellite Nigeriasat-1[27]in 2003, which is the Nigerian contribution to the international Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) project. The country also launched its telecoms satellite NigComSat-1 in 2007. Nigeria has successfully launched six satellites into space. However, NigeriaSat-1, NigComSat-1, and EduSat-1 are no longer in orbit. This leaves three active satellites: NigComSat-1R, a communications satellite, NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X, an Earth observation satellite. In 2016, Nigeria announced its desire to send a man to space by 2030.[28]


The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) Act 2010 is Nigeria’s foremost legislation on space and its related activities. As such, it is the focal point between Nigeria and outer space regulation. The NASRDA Act is majorly divided into 6 parts as follows:


This establishes the National Space Research and Development Agency (the Agency) and the National Space Council (the Council). It sets out the members of the council, tenure and cessation of office and remuneration of non-Ex-officio members of the Council.


This sets out the functions of the Agency and the powers of the Council. An explicit function of the Agency is to ‘develop national strategies for the exploitation of outer space and make this part of the overall national development strategies and implement strategies for promoting private sector participation in the space industry’.[29] As well as strengthen capacity building in space science technology development amongst others. The Council on the other hand, is conferred power amongst others to approve opening of domiciliary accounts for the Agency, for the Agency to partner with third parties on space-related activities, and to appoint consultant technicians to advise it from time to time.


This addresses and puts in place the structure of the Agency and mandates that a register of space objects be maintained by the Agency. This part also states that to achieve the objectives of space policy, the Agency shall operate through the following development centers:[30]

  1. National Center for Remote Sensing, Jos
  2. Center for Space Science and Technology Education, Ile Ife
  3. Center for Satellite Technology Development, Abuja
  4. Center for Space Transportation and Propulsion, Epe
  5. Center for Geodesy and Geodynamics, Toro
  6. Center for Basic Space Science and Astronomy, Nsukka

Part IV:

This provides for the staff of the agency, specifically, the duties, tenure, and qualification for the office of the Director General.


This contains the financial provisions of the Act. It establishes a fund for the Agency and provides for how this fund should be disbursed.


This contains miscellaneous provisions.

The NASRDA Act is a significant landmark in Nigeria and Africa’s space development as it expresses Nigeria’s commitment to the development of its space capabilities. It also implements most of the country’s international obligations. The Act provides an excellent foundation upon which Nigeria may build a solid space law framework.[31] Despite the Act’s relatively progressive nature, it is only a mere skeleton and cannot be relied upon for the continued development of the Nigerian Space Sector. The NASRDA Act appears to have attempted to set out a pathway for the development of space activities in Nigeria, but it is quite clear that there is a need to advance the current SpaceLaw regime, especially in the light of other Space legislative advancements in other countries.

From the highlights of the NASRDA Act parts above, it is obvious that the legislation is more administrative than it is technical. This is so because it addresses primarily how the Agency should run and be managed. The Act’s definition of “space activities” is limited to remote sensing satellite data and nothing regarding core activities relating to Space travel or Spacecraft. As Frans von Der Dunk stated, “While the NASRDA Act thus established the basic competence of the Agency to issue licenses as well as the general framework for compliance with the major international obligations of Nigeria … it still left more detailed questions in this regard unanswered”.[32]

The NASDRA Act, although commendable to an extent, is indeed obsolete and in need of a thorough repeal to improve Space Law and Space operations in Nigeria. For instance, the Act is more focused on the State’s exploration of Space and did not provide a proper regime for private exploration of Space and other Celestial bodies, which would guarantee more economic benefits.

The United Kingdom’s Space Law regime reflect the minimum standard States should thrive to attain regarding Space Law and space activities. The UK Space Industry Act (SIA) of 2018 is the primary and most recent legislation on Space Law activities in the UK. The Act provides a modern approach to Space Law in that it was crafted in such a way that it encourages healthy space exploration for economic benefits and seeks to ensure a robust safety measure.


It has been identified that the NASRDA Act 2010 requires a total overhaul and repeal. It is important to examine provisions of the SIA 2018 which can be incorporated into the NASRDA Act. Some of the provisions include:

  1. Definition of Space Flight activity: One of the major provisions introduced by the SIA under Section 1 is a definition of the scope of Spaceflight activities to be regulated by the Act. Section 36 of the NASRDA Act which constitutes the interpretation section of the Act only define terms like ‘agency’; ‘fund’, ‘chairman’ The NASRDA Act, unlike the SIA, is silent on the definition of industry-specific terminologies like ‘space issues’, ‘space application programmes’; ’satellite data’ and ‘space data’ which are recurrent terms in the Act. It is important that these terminologies are defined to ensure accurate interpretation of the law in line with the intent of the lawmakers.
  2. Impose sanctions for failure to obtain License before embarking on Space Activity: Section 3 of the UK SIA 2018 prohibits involvement in space activities without a license and criminalises the act of making false statements in a bid to obtain license for carrying out space activities. This is unlike Section 9 of the NASRDA ACT which merely makes provision for powers of the NSC to grant license for activities relating to satellite and space data gathering and is silent on the effect of failure to obtain license before engaging in space activities.
  1. Incorporate requirement for sending Notice to persons that may be affected by Space activities: Section 5 of the SIA defines a range as a zone which is subject to restriction or warning because of a potential space-related activity while Section 6 requires that notices must be sent to persons within a range, and who may be affected by space flight activities. When compared with Section 9(2) of NASRDA Act which provides that license for satellite and space activity will not be granted unless it is ascertained that grant of same will not jeopardise the lives and property- it does appear that incorporating a requirement that notices be sent to the public residing or having business within areas that are reasonably proximate to location for space and satellite activities, would be a step in the right direction. Such a notice would serve as a preventive rather than a curative measure.
  1. The requirement of Risk Assessment before embarking on Space Activities: In addition to the Regulator’s power to only grant license for space activities when it is certain that the grant will not impair public health and UK’s obligations under International Space Law, Section 9 of the SIA makes it compulsory that an applicant for space activity license must carry out a risk assessment on the health of persons who would be involved in the space activities. There is no similar provision in the NASRDA Act. The health of persons put in consideration by the NSC in granting a license for space activities in Nigeria seems to be limited to the public with no regard to the health of the personnel involved in space activities[33]. It is important to insert a provision like that of Section 9 of the SIA to the NASRDA Act which will go a long way to improve space law in Nigeria and encourage space industry experts to willingly participate in the country’s space activities.
  1. Empower NSC to revoke and approve transfer of License: Section 15 of the Act provides for the Regulator’s power to approve transfer of license, a variation of license and revocation of license as occasion demands. Indeed Section 9(2) of our NASRDA Act only provides for the grant of license and is silent on revocation or transfer of same. It’s important that the NSC be authorised by statute to revoke and approve a transfer of license to ensure regulatory compliance on the part of licensees and promote ease of doing business in the event of mergers, acquisition, or other corporate restructure or otherwise between licensed body corporates and un-licensed body corporates.
  1. The imposition of liability on operators for non-compliance: Section 34 of the SIA provides that the operator will be liable to pay damages where injury is caused to lives and properties during its operation of Space activities. The liability will however not arise where the activity is carried out in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Act. The NASRDA Act does not contain any related provision, but it is important to amend the Act to contain such a provision especially in view of the Outer Space and Liability convention which imposes liability on Member State for Space activities carried out by private sector within it.
  1. Space Risk Insurance: Section 38 of the SIA empowers the UK Space Industry Regulator to demand that an operator of Space activity be insured in respect of prescribed risks and liabilities. Again, the NASRDA Act does not provide for insurance against Space risks. The essence of including a provision for insurance against Space risks under the NASRDA Act cannot be overemphasised especially in view of how expensive it is to engage in the space industry.
  1. Criminalise Offending Acts arising from Space Activities: Sections 51 to 58 of the SIA provides for offences that can be committed under the Act. It criminalises acts performed in a Spacecraft launched from the UK, which would normally constitute an offence if it occurred in the UK. Now, there is no Section of NASRDA Act that bothers on Offence and Sanctions. It is, however, important to infuse a provision on offences and sanctions under the NASRDA Act, so as so to confer jurisdiction on appropriate Nigerian Courts to entertain criminal cases emerging from space activities.

Giving that the Outer Space Treaty and Liability Convention imposes liability on a State for activities carried out by private sectors within the state and the recent government call to private sector to collaborate with it on space activities, it is important that there is sufficient legislation on ground to protect the exposure of the Nation and allow for an independent launch capacity. There is indeed the need to review the frameworks regulating space law in Nigeria and amend the NASRDA Act.


To enforce and ensure compliance with the laws regulating space activities, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the National Space Council (NSC) which is the highest policy making body for Space Science and Technological development in the country were established.


The National Space Research and Development Agency [NASRDA] Act 2010, established the National Space Research and Development Agency (“The Agency”)[34]

Some of the functions of the Agency as provided for in the NASRDA Act includes:

  1. Developing Satellite technology for various applications and operationalizing indigenous space system for providing space services and being the government agency charged with the responsibility of building and launching satellites.
  2. Being the repository of all satellite data over Nigeria’s territory and, accordingly, all collaborations and consultations in space data-related matters in Nigeria being carried out or undertaken by or with the agency.
  3. Promoting the coordination of space application programs for the purpose of optimizing resources and developing space technologies of direct relevance to national objectives.
  4. Encouraging capacity building in space science technology development and management, thereby strengthening the human resources development required for the implementation of space programs.

In view of executing its mandate as effectively as possible, the Agency adopted a multi-institution strategy, thus establishing six Centers namely:

  1. The Centre for Basic Space Science and Astronomy.
  2. The National Centre for Remote Sensing.
  3. The Centre for Satellite Technology Development.
  4. The Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics.
  5. The African Regional Centre for Space and Technology Education.
  6. The Centre for Space Transport & Propulsion.

The Technical and International Cooperation Committees help in shaping the Agency’s programs while the Centers are activity Centers for the nation’s space programs.


The National Space Council was established by the NASRDA Act, as the apex body charged with the responsibility of developing policy guidelines for activities in the Space. It also has the vital role of monitoring the implementation of the National Space Program. The National Space Council (NSC) is responsible for the issuance of licenses to private innovators who want to participate in the Space Sector. This was towards enforcing the medium-term plan of the national space policy. Section 7 of the NASRDA Act vests the Council with numerous powers which include granting approval for the Agency to enter a research and production partnership with any Company, Non-Governmental Agency, firm or Individual.


The realm of the outer Space is yet to be fully explored and countries technologically advanced are preparing towards exploring space and other celestial bodies. Nigeria has not been sleeping on the space sector compared to other African nations however, we are not there yet. In enacting Space regulations, it shows the country’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for private persons who wish to delve into space travel and other space related activities. The international treaties ratified by the country, the NASRDA Act 2010 and the Regulations on the Licensing and Supervision of Space Activities 2015 are all steps in the right direction to attaining Nigeria’s ultimate Space goal of sending a man to space in 2030.

Several obligations are imposed on the State parties under the existing space treaties. As a result, State parties will be expected to enact municipal laws that will be targeted at promoting the spirit of the Space Treaties. To this end, Nigeria has enacted its local legislation which seeks to promote and secure the development of space activities in the country.

There are obvious weaknesses of the Nigerian Space Law regime and there is the need to revamp same, which cannot be overemphasized. Space activities provide an opportunity for Nigeria to expand its economic base and become a top player in space. The world is fast developing, and unimaginable and unthinkable things are happening. Together with the likes of block-chain technology, self-driving cars and robotics, space operation is the future and a major aspect of the fourth industrial revolution, and Nigeria should be actively engaged in it.


[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_law

[2] E.A. Korovin, “Kosmicheskoe pravo” [Space law], Aviatsiya i. kosmonavtika, No. 10 (1962): p. 16 (in Russian).

[3] Kleiman, Matthew J. (27 August 2013) “Space Law 101: An Introduction to Space Law” American Bar Association.  

[4] Nagendra Singh; Edward MacWhinney (1989). Nuclear Weapons and Contemporary International Law Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. P. 289. ISBN 978-90-247-3637-9.

[5] Gotlieb, A.E (1969). “Direct Satellite Broadcasting: A Case Study in the Development of the Law of Space Communications”. The Canadian Yearbook of International Law 1969.7:33-60.

[6] E.A. Korovin, “Kosmicheskoe pravo” [Space law], Aviatsiya i. kosmonavtika, No. 10 (1962): p. 16 (in Russian).

[7] https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html.

[8] Article 1 of the United Nations Treaties and Principles on Outer Space.

[9] Article II

[10] Article IV

[11] Article II

[12] Article V

[13] Article VI

[14] Article VII


Text of treaties and principles governing the activities of States in the exploration and use of outer space, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations, New York, 2002

[16] Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts, and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space. http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introrescueagreement.html

[17] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introliability-convention.html

[18] Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects.https://www.unoosa.org/pdf/publications/STSPACE11E.pdf

[19] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introregistration-Convention.html

[20] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/intromoon-agreement.html

[21] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/principles/legal-principles.html

[22] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/principles/dbs-principles.html

[23] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/principles/remote-sensing-principles.html

[24] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/principles/nps-principles.html

[25] http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/principles/space-benefit-declaration.html

[26] Omotayo Oyewole, ‘The Nigerian Space Conundrum’ (2019) The Republic https://republic.com.ng/june-july-2019/nigerian-space-conundrum/

[27] Gunter’s Space Page, https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/nigeriasat-1.htm 1

[28] Nicolas Giacomin, ‘The Nigerian Space Vision’ (2021) Space Legal Issues https://www.spacelegalissues.com/the-nigerian-space-vision/

[29] Section 6(k), NASRDA Act 2010

[30] Section 7, NASRDA Act 2010

[31]Joshua Faleti, ‘The NASRDA Act; Beyond a Domestic Implementation of International Space Obligations’ (2021) Space in Africahttps://africanews.space/the-national-space-research-and-development-agency-act-beyond-a-domestic-implementation-of-international-space-obligations/

[32] Frans G. von Der Dunk, ‘The Second African National Space Law: The Nigerian NASRDA Act and the Draft Regulations on Licensing and Supervision’ [2017] Volume 59 Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law 547-559

[33] Section 92(2)(b) of the NASRDA Act

[34] Section 1 of the NASRDA Act, 2010.


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