The space industry act 2018: Unlocking the UK space economy?

Christopher J. Newman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper will critically evaluate the provisions of the Space Industry Act 2018, its relationship with the Outer Space Act 1986 and the underlying arguments behind the UK Government's decision to use the bill to encourage both the development of launch systems within the UK and the attendant infrastructure. It will also consider the ramifications for the space economy within the UK and how the legislation will facilitate access to space for small space start-up companies and encourage the growth of a nascent space tourism industry. Given that the UK has taken the opportunity to revivify its national space law, the paper will go on to discuss some of the key points of significance in the new legislation. In particular, the 2018 Act lacks specific detail on many key regulatory issues, instead providing a skeleton outline which requires augmentation at a later date by way of secondary legislation. The paper will, therefore, evaluate the potential regulatory mechanisms that will need to be established and discuss the ambitious plans of the UK government in respect of financing space activity. Finally, the paper will examine the new space law provisions in the light of the UK's exit from the European Union. The paper will consider the way in which the UK will seek to fulfil its international treaty obligations within the legislative framework and whether the legislation can serve to contribute to the growth of the UK space economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberIAC-19_E7_3_9_x51307
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event70th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2019 - Washington, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019


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