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The Cologne Commentary on Space Law

is a three-volume annotation on the written norms of space law as enunciated through the Treaties of the United Nations and its General Assembly Resolutions. With more than fifty years of spaceflight and forty years of international outer space legislation, the rule of law has been crucial in the expotential growth of the scope of activities in outer space. The evolution of a large body of international space legislation has been also supplemented recently with the enactments of various national space legislation and regulations. The Cologne Commentary on Space Law aims to provide a genuine and concrete contribution to the development and enforcement of the rule of law in outer space.

Volume I focuses on the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. Popularly known as the "Outer Space Treaty", it was opened for signature on 27 January 1967 and entered into force on 10 October 1967. In Volume I, a broad international authorship of twenty experts addresses the historical overview and provides a provision-by-provision interpretation of the Outer Space Treaty. This Volume also includes insights into the subsequent State practice, present-day applicability and future perspectives of the Treaty.

Volume I serves as a foundation upon which Volume II and III of the Commentary build. The other four UN Treaties, the 1968 Rescue Agreement, the 1972 Liability Convention, the 1975 Registration Convention and the 1979 Moon Agreement, will be addressed in Volume II. Volume III will then delve into the six most relevant United Nations General Assembly Resolutions on space activitites.



2007 marks the anniversaries of fifty years of space flight and forty years of international outer space legislation. Both anniversaries reflect the crucial role of space law-making in the exponential growth of the scope of space activities, and highlight the existence of a large body of international space legislation, which in more recent times has been complemented by national space laws.

Despite the unmistakable and growing importance of space law, at present however there is as yet no complete annotation on the written norms of space law. The Cologne Commentary on Space Law (CoCoSL) will address this lacuna through an analysis and annotation of the existing body of space law.

Reflecting the international and interdisciplinary diversity of space law, will comprise contributions from a broad international expert authorship. Distinguished and highly qualified authors will conduct a profound and evaluative inquiry into the theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of space legislation and space lawmaking. The project also intends to provide an input to the further development of space law in international organisations and fora.

This momentous undertaking, launched in 2007, is expected to be fully completed within a timeframe of five years, by 2011.


The CoCoSL Secretariat

c/o Institute of Air and Space Law

University of Cologne


D-50923 Cologne



T: +49 (0) 221 470 2337

F: +49 (0) 221 470 4968


Wolters Kluwer Deutschland
Carl Heymanns Verlag eine Marke von Wolters Kluwer Deutschland
Cologne Commentary on Space Law (CoCoSL), Volume I: Outer Space Treaty

Hobe, Stephan / Schmidt-Tedd, Bernhard / Schrogl, Kai-Uwe (ed.) / Goh, Géradine M. (assist. ed.),  Cologne Commentary on Space Law, Volume 1: Outer Space Treaty, Carl Heymanns Verlag 2009, 298 pages, hardcover

ISBN 978-3-452-27185-3