JEAIL > Volume 14(1); 2021 > Student Contribution
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2021

Legal Challenges to the Construction and Operation of Small Satellite Constellations

Chandaphan Suwijak & Shouping Li
Beijing Institute of Technology, School of Law No. 5th South Zhongguancun Street Haidian, Beijing 100081 P.R. China.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The emergence of the construction and operation of a small satellite constellation in Low Earth orbit (LEO) to beam high-speed Internet to all parts of the world is a relatively new development in the use of outer space. States, international intergovernmental organizations, and private companies plan to deploy small satellites into Earth’s orbit because this effort is inexpensive and expandable, especially in the area of commercial activities. This movement will provide an essential tool to achieve sustainable development goals, especially for developing countries. However, it could also bring legal challenges because there is now a lack of binding regulations regarding the increasing risks of orbital collision, the proliferation of space debris, the satellite network service, and the rational, efficient, and economical use of a radio frequency allocation and the harmful interference caused by small satellite constellations in LEO. These issues could have an impact on the long-term sustainability of space activities.

Keywords : Small Satellite Constellation, Legal Challenges, Long-Term Sustainability, Low Earth Orbit

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