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Political and Legal Framework

14:30 - 16:30

Space in the Cold War was mainly a matter of prestige and national sovereignty for a few governments and their armed forces. Things have dramatically changed since those early days and today billions of people are using space technologies on a daily basis.


As a consequence, numerous private and public actors are now heavily investing in what has become a business of its own. This recent move raises new questions: With so many satellites now in orbit, who is liable in case a collision occurs? Can a private company legally extract mineral resources from an asteroid and sell them to customers on Earth? Is it possible to use a satellite image in court and have a ship’s owner convicted for discharging oil in the ocean?


These questions and many others will be addressed during this first session.


Introduction of the session

Jean-François Mayence, First Legal Advisor, BELSPO

14:40—15:00 Luxembourg's initiative for the exploration and utilisation of space resources

Mathias Link, Director of International Affairs, Luxembourg Space Agency


The global problem of space debris

Ward Munters, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Institute for International Law, KU Leuven


The use of earth observation data by lawyers in practice

Sarah Moens, Lead Lawyer, DLA Piper


Q&A and Panel discussion


Jean-François Mayence

Jean François has served as legal advisor to BELSPO for space policy and regulatory aspects since 1 January 1999. He represented Belgium in various fora, such as several ESA's committees, UNCOPUOS and dedicated meetings of the European Union. In parallel, Jean François has contributed to a dozen of scientific publications on space law and space policy and has given lectures in various academic establishments in Europe and in America. Jean François is the author of the Belgian space law and of the Belgian space regulation.

First Legal Advisor, BELSPO

Mathias Link

Mathias Link is Deputy Director of Space Affairs at the Ministry of the Economy in Luxembourg. He focusses on the definition and implementation of Luxembourg’s space policy. In particular, he coordinates the initiative that promotes the peaceful exploration and sustainable utilization of space resources. For the past 10 years, he has represented Luxembourg in numerous space-related fora of the EU, ESA and the UN. He was involved in the preparation of several ESA Council meetings at Ministerial level, as well as of Luxembourg's presidency of the Council of the EU in 2015. He represents Luxembourg in the ESA Council and is the current Chairman of ESA’s satellite communications board JCB.

Director of International Affairs, Luxembourg Space Agency

Ward Munters

Ward Munters (Master of Laws; M.Sc. Space Studies) is a Doctoral Researcher, Teaching Assistant and Lecturer in international and European (space) law at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies & the Institute for International Law, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium. His research in public international (environmental and space) law, under Prof. Dr. Jan Wouters and Prof Dr. Philip De Man, aims to contribute to an effective international legal framework concerning space debris by identifying fundamental legal definitional and related aspects of space debris and active debris removal, through legal analysis in light of relevant scientific and technical research.

Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Institute for International Law, KU Leuven

Sarah Moens

Sarah Moens is a lawyer at DLA Piper in Belgium. She focuses on space law and public law.

Furthermore, she is co-founder of beSPACE, an association for young space students and professionals in Belgium.

She obtained her law degree, magna cum laude, at Ghent University. She focused on space law and telecommunications law (Droit des Activités Spatiales et des Télécommunications) at Université Paris-Sud XI.

She is a speaker at national and international conferences and universities on drones law and space law. She is author of papers at conferences and legal articles.

She is a judge for the European rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition.

Lead Lawyer, DLA Piper

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