Understanding the complex world of European Space Regulations

In today’s world, the Exploration and Utilization of Space have become more critical and complex than ever before. Thanks to the Space-Tech advancements and a growing interest in Space-related activities, it is becoming more and more crucial to establish rules that regulate human activities in outer Space. Across Europe, each nation has its specific regulations, but there are also international agreements that control how Space activities are carried on. In this short article, we will take a look at the current Space regulations and policies across European countries. Keep reading if you are interested in the fascinating topic of Space Law!

First and foremost, it’s essential to highlight that there are certain regulations considered key and applicable across all European nations (with the exception of Andorra, Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Serbia, North Macedonia, & Albania). Among these, we find the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as “The Outer Space Treaty”. This agreement was established in 1967 and it is considered the cornerstone of international Space law, serving as the fundamental legal framework for international Space law and encompassing several core principles outlined by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Summarizing, the Treaty promotes principles such as the peaceful use of outer Space, free access for all nations, prohibition of weapons in Space, and liability for Space object damage. This regulation emphasizes cooperation and responsible Space exploration for the benefit of Humanity.

Another fundamental regulation is the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space. This agreement underlines the importance of providing assistance to astronauts in case of accidents, distress, or emergency landings and ensuring their safe return. It outlines the responsibilities of the contracting parties in taking steps for rescue and recovery. This Agreement was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1967 and it was made available for countries to sign in April 1968, becoming officially effective on December 3rd of the same year. 

The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, instead, was signed in 1972 and it establishes a comprehensive legal framework for addressing liability and compensation related to damage caused by Space objects. States are held internationally responsible for any Space object launched from their territory or facilities, regardless of the entity that physically conducts the launch. This means that if a Space object is launched from a certain State’s territory or under its jurisdiction, the State is fully liable for any resulting damages.The convention also addresses issues related to compensation determination, expense sharing, and assistance in cases of large-scale damage. This convention serves as a crucial international framework for regulating liability and compensation matters arising from Space endeavors, facilitating peaceful and responsible Space exploration.

Finally, among the main regulations that are recognized among most of European countries, there is the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. This document establishes guidelines for registering Space objects launched into Earth’s orbit or beyond. Each launching State must maintain a registry and provide information about Space objects, including their names, registration numbers, launch dates, orbital parameters, and general functions. The UN Secretary-General maintains a central Register with open access to this information.

In addition to these core regulations, numerous national regulatory frameworks can be found. A Schematic Overview of National Regulatory Frameworks for Space Activities has been compiled by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and can be consulted to gain a general understanding of the regulations in place in individual countries regarding this matter.

Would you like to consult the current laws in a specific state of your interest? We have organized the main regulations in various European countries for you. The field is continually evolving, and this is not a completely exhaustive guide, but we hope it can be helpful for you to navigate the intricate world of Space Policies. Take a look at the full list below!

As we venture further into Space, we need rules to keep things in order. These rules make sure we explore Space peacefully and responsibly. European countries, alongside the international community, recognize the importance of these regulations in shaping the future of Space exploration and ensuring its benefits are shared for the general improvement of humankind. In this complex world of rules and agreements, we like to think of the Space journey like this: it’s a leap into the darkness of Space, with the parachutes of Space law to guide us safely through the journey!

(Non-Exhaustive) List of Key Domestic Space Policies & Regulations by European State:




Czech Republic




















United Kingdom