Cyprus enacted the Law on the Authorisation of Space Activities, the Registration of Space Objects in the National Register and Related Matters of 2023 (the Cyprus Space Law).
The Cyprus Space Law regulates space activities, namely activities relating to the launch, flight, guidance, navigation, operation, control or re-entry of a space object towards, within and from outer space. Carrying out space activities, including high-risk space activities, is subject to an authorisation granted under the provisions of the Cyprus Space Law. Only authorised space activities operators can carry out space activities that fall under the ambit of the Cyprus Space Law.
Space activities that fall under the ambit of the Cyprus Space Law are those carried out:
- within the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and the Nicosia FIR;
- outside the territory of Cyprus provided that these are:
- carried out on board aircraft or maritime vessels or platforms registered in Cyprus; or
- by domestic persons registered in Cyprus and under the responsibility of Cyprus as the State of launch in accordance with the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the Outer Space Convention) and the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the International Liability Convention).
The Space Law does not regulate the granting of rights to use satellite resources, which is a matter regulated under distinct Cypriot legislation.
The Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy (the Deputy Minister) and the Director of the Department of Electronic Communications (of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy) (the Director) are conferred with specific responsibilities in relation to all matters relating to space activities under the Cyprus Space Law.
The Cyprus Space Law establishes a national register of space objects, which the Director maintains and will include space objects related to space activities for which the Republic is a launching State, under the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. Notification to the Director is required where an authorised provider carries out space activities with a launching State other than the Republic.
Authorised space activities operators must conduct their space activities in accordance with the principles of international law, as derived from the Outer Space Convention and the International Liability Convention and may become liable to pay compensation to the Republic of Cyprus for damage caused by their space objects. Space activities operators must also take out insurance covering liability for damages under the Cyprus Space Law.
The Cyprus Space Law provides that an authorised space activities operator shall pay compensation to the Republic of Cyprus for damage caused by their space objects covered under their authorisation, where the Republic of Cyprus is liable to pay such compensation under the Outer Space Convention or the International Liability Convention. Such compensation may reach €60 million, or even exceed €60 million in the case where the operator breaches the terms of their authorisation or infringes the provisions of the Cyprus Space Law, amongst others.
Criminal liability may arise for carrying out space activities without authorisation or for infringement the Cyprus Space Law, amongst others.
Please contact our aviation practice for more information.