COVID-19 and its impact on space activities: Force majeure and further legal implications

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The inability to fulfill a contract, if not fault-related, is not unknown in the law of contracts. Various rules are available to alleviate liability for default, such as impossibility, force majeure, as well as the law of frustration. COVID19 has sparked interest in these provisions again. The following analysis investigates how COVID19 impacts on various legal issues relating to the space sector, including force majeure. Just as COVID19 is marked by divergent responses of countries towards health-related restrictions on participation in public life, divergent patterns are detectable in the reliance on force majeure. Continuing space activities-although to differing degrees-has been a clear driver around the world where the resilience of space technology and space-based solutions has been looked to in managing the pandemic. Force majeure is therefore not necessarily an instrument on which the space community would seek to rely. This overview also identifies an area where industry and agencies could look to develop cross-compatibility in standards to foster greater interaction between space and health-related technology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAir and Space Law
Issue numberSpecialIssue
Pages (from-to)173-194
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2020

    Research areas

  • Commercial law - Cross-operability, Impossibility, Force majeure, Contracts, Frustration
  • Law