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By Mark J. Connot and Jason J. Zummo
Controversies over federal, state, and local power to regulate drones have led to a muddled legal and regulatory framework. Recent proposed federal legislation could have reconciled those regulatory interests by establishing express federal preemption with respect to drones, but the bill did not pass. The authors agree with the FAA that some legal issues may best be addressed at the state and local level but suggest that such regulation must be reasonable and limited in order to avoid undermining the rapidly developing UAS industry.
By Ramesh Vaidyanathan
India recently implemented comprehensive reforms of its aviation sector, including liberalized restrictions on foreign direct investment and a new Civil Aviation Policy that aims to relax rules on overseas flights and increase regional air connectivity. The author argues that the new rules and Policy, while imperfect, are a step toward the modernization of India’s aviation sector and the country’s overall economic development.
By Michael Dodge
The Act advances the U.S. commercial space industry by promoting public-private partnerships in U.S. commercial space launches, encouraging development of private space-based remote sensing through increased congressional oversight, clarifying the role and functions of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Space Commerce, and fostering space mining with private property rights in space and asteroid resources. The author contends that the Act is an important landmark but its implementation may yield new issues requiring further action.
By Melissa Kemper Force
There currently are more than 298,000 objects qualifying as space debris, from scattered fragments of old collisions, explosions, and launch separations to whole satellites that stopped working long ago. Studies show that mitigation is not enough; large objects that travel in congested orbits must be removed. The author posits that existing international space law treaties provide a sufficient legal framework to enable nations to adopt and implement active debris removal (ADR) policies.
By Monica R. Hargrove
The Forum on Air and Space Law reflects on the recent passing of Patricia Grace Smith, a space pioneer who served on its Governing Committee, and expresses gratitude to those involved in organizing the Forum’s recent and upcoming conferences.
By David Heffernan
A brief summary of each of the articles in this issue.