Estonia should begin discussing whether it needs a space law, said Liisa Oviir, chairwoman of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC) during Estonia's presidency.
The Riigikogu organized an international plenary session of the EISC in Tallinn on Monday, where, among other things, it was discussed whether each European country should have its own space law.
"International laws are still necessary in this field, but natinoal laws that meet the needs of individual countries are also becoming more and more necessary," Oviir said.
Arto Aas, a member of the Estonian delegation to the EISC, added that if Estonia wants to be a high-tech country, it is important for entrepreneurs and scientists to create an environment which supports it.
A study conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows that, on average, every euro spent in space creates at least €6 of economic return. ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner, a keynote speaker of the conference, expects European countries to take a clear legal position on who is the owner of a space asset, who is allowed to launch a satellite, and who is responsible if something happens to the satellites in space.
ESA International Relations Committee chairwoman Katrin Nyman-Metcalf said that the ESA has 22 member states, and about half of them have legislation on space. UN conventions regulating the use of outer space were signed 50 years ago, when it was primarily large powers that were active in space, but the development of technology in the meantime has since opened up space to private businesses as well.
The EISC was established in 1999. Its members are the national parliaments of the member states of the EU and the ESA that have created a parliamentary body to address space-related affairs. Currently, the organization has 12 full members and one associate member. The EISC Plenary Session is one of the events of the European Space Week currently taking place in Tallinn.
Editor: Aili Vahtla