Magna Carta of Space (1966), new laws for the final frontier


In 1966, only five years after the first human went to space, aviation lawyer William A. Hyman published the Magna Carta of Space, a serious text proposing a new kind of Space Law. From the British Library:

As outer space exploration was unprecedented, it was unclear what issues lawyers might face when legislating for the 'final frontier' and what, if any, jurisdiction they had for imposing an intergalactic law code. Furthermore, as so little was known about space, it was largely up to the legislators' imagination as to what might be legislated for, forcing them to consider unique questions in the history of jurisprudence.

* Do aliens have legal rights?
* Who owns the stars, planets and moons?
* Where does Space begin and a nation's airspace end?
* What is the role of private industry in Space?
*Who will allocate radio frequencies and set standard time?…

Hyman's book explicitly attempted to restrict the misuse of Space by belligerent nations, with articles 7 and 19 making provisions to ban 'nuclear experiments in Outer Space' and the prosecution of 'War, in, by, or through space … forever'. As Hyman stated in his introduction, it was his expressed wish to create a Magna Carta of Space that was so 'powerful' it would 'compel the proper use of space — for peace'.

Magna Carta of Space (Amazon)

See more at "Space: The Final Frontier" (British Library, via @arielwaldman)