Research and Publications in Space Law Workshop

The University of Nebraska College of Law’s Space, Cyber, and Telecom (SCT) Law Program was selected by NASA to establish the Space Law Network (SLN).  As part of this program, SCT leadership, Professor and Co-Director Matt Schaefer and Executive Director Elsbeth Magilton hosted the Nebraska Publications in Space Law Workshop in Lincoln, NE on April 6-7, 2019.

Part of the Space Law Network initiative was the creation of this weekend workshop, intended to help students and new scholars focus on publication and scholarly writing in the field of space law. Some travel stipends were provided via the NASA program award and self-funded attendees were also encouraged to register for the workshop.

Over 27 unique institutions were represented over the weekend.

The workshop  featured a mixture of sessions detailing the international and domestic foundations of space law, including multiple practice focus areas, while highlighting holes in current policy or scholarship ripe for discussion. The workshop also included working sessions, dedicated to developing topics and outlines, and sessions on legal research and “how-to” publish in a variety of forums.

Our key objective was that every attendee walked away from the weekend with an idea (or two), the beginning of an outline and questions to be considered, and a plan of action for publishing their work in their desired venue. Ultimately we hope to see a notable increase in new scholarship in space law in the coming year.

Following the workshop the Space Law Network hosted the "NASA Space Law Network Writing Competition." Papers were encouraged to discuss a current issue in space law ranging from treaties and foreign space legislation, U.S. space legislation and the intersections of domestic space law and international law, arms control and the law of armed conflict in space, procurement and government contracting, ITAR and export control, contracting and transactional practice, to intellectual property, and/or other areas of law intersecting with space law.

Unfortunately, none of the papers received met the caliber necessary to take the stage and present at the conference. While no paper was selected for the competition, the group reviewing the submissions appreciated the time the energy taken to write and submit the paper and offered authors who submitted to the competition a travel reimbursement stipend for the conference, allowing them to reimburse your airfare and hotel in DC (three nights) for the conference. This includes the NASA Goddard student visit the day prior to the conference (10/17), a networking reception following the conference (10/18), and the option to extend the return airline ticket return date to accommodate attending the International Astronautical Congress the following week in DC.

The NASA space law network grant was only a one year duration, ending in Oct. 2019. There are currently no funded opportunities for conference travel or internships.