If an Oil Power Becomes a Launching State by Bahar Ramazanova

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Bahar Ramazanova - A LL.M student at Istanbul University,ramazanovabahar@gmail.com



The paper aims to focus on space activities in the developing Republic of Azerbaijan. It begins with an analysis of how a new industry launches and which technology is used, then continues with a discussion of the legal nature of the aforementioned activities. The core of the work is focused on commercial space transportation, its special nature in a country where the oil industry dominates. At the conclusion, legal issues, their implications and the future development of the space industry will take our attention.

Keywords:Commercial space transportation, space industry, technological and political implications.


The Republic of Azerbaijan has signed only one of the five space treaties, namely the Outer Space Convention, on April 19, 2013.[1] The official step towards initiation of the process concerning space industry in the Republic relates to the President’s enactment of 2009. According to the aforementioned act, The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of the AR has discretion to exercise control over the development of the space industry in this country. All of the measures concerning such will be financially dependent on the state budget. A telecommunications-concentrated program is the aim of the state program especially on the launching of public private satellites into space. There was no mention in the act of any other space vehicles for the purposes of the burgeoning and fashionable industry of space tourism.Only four years later Azerbaijan became a signatory to the Magna Carta of space law. Since then Azerbaijan has never had a national space law. Azerbaijan has neither signed nor ratified the Liability, Registration Convention nor the Moon Treaty. Regardless of the fact that there is no national registry, Azerbaijan will still be obligated to provide information to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, through the Secretary-General, for the registration of the launchings. That is a liability in international law which is common for all of the states which do not have special national legislation in the field.

Furthermore, planning is afoot to introduce new legal measures in connection with space activity. Currently, the draft material of the national law is being prepared by the National Space Agency of the AR, Azercosmos. The most current law for space activities consists of 7 chapters and 24 articles. It is important, at this point, to clarify the terms used in the project.

First of all, the quite divergent nature of the definitions given makes it clear that some complex expressions and terms have never been unequivocally understood and accepted by all those states having orientations in space law. For instance, terms like “space operator” and “national space operator” suffer from multiple characterizations, depending on the agency making the pronouncement. Notwithstanding, the new industry is intended to be under the control of a governmental branch, while private companies are being permitted to perform as national space operators at the local aerostations. Furthermore, the space activities mentioned here are mainly those activities which are allowed to be carried out in the context of the Outer Space Treaty.[2]

It would be appropriate to note the fact that adoption of the new law will be focused in terms of a commitment to the obligation made under the OSC.

Finally, as a program of the state, these space activities will be performed for only the next 20 years in the telecommunications context. And in all probability, it is not space law, but telecommunications law which will lie open for research on the part of new lawyers.


The actual performance in the space arena has been underway since the 1970's when the Republic was a part of the USSR. The Scientific and Industrial Association for Space Research is a pattern for the history of activities related to outer space.[3] Especially, that time when the 23rd Congress of Astronautical Federation held in the capital of the AR, it featured the possibilities of the scientific research dedicated to the outer space technology and science. The South-East Center for investigation of natural resources or Space Instrument making Special Construction Bureau were established in 1974, for instance.

It is necessary to remark that another period of spacefaring in connection with AR took place when OSC signed and ratified. Before acceding to the Treaty, state became a UN COPUOUS member in 2012.

Abiding by the principles established by Treaty will possibly define the steps which a state could take in order to promote the field. It is expecting that also in practice, the UNOOSA system of templates for registration of space objects will be adopted into the domestic law.


“Azercosmos” Open Join Stock Company is a national space agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, operating since 2010. On the other hand, it belongs to the Government of the Republic. We can assume that from the doctrinal definition[4] of the governmental space agency, the aforementioned agency holding all of the criteria for that meaning.

Back in 2013, Azercosmos launched its first ever satelliteAzerspace-1 telecommunication satellite with two communication payloads: Ku-Band and C-Band. USA based Orbital Service Corporation manufactured the first satellite of the Azerbaijan Republic. Azerspace-1 was launched by Ariane-5ECA of Arianespace which belongs to the French Space Agency,The objective lies in better communication and information security of the launching the first satellite. The satellite has cost some $230 million[5]which the country received as a loan from France.

There is no doubt that satellite launching is a key to being part of the global space activities which especially concentrate on research and communication. For the next 13 years, it is foreseen that commercial space transportation will strengthen the self-initiated communication without dependence on foreign suppliers.

Capacity lease, broadcasting, teleport services, data communication and satellite imagery are the activities the agency engaged in. It again indicates that the role of a space agency is as a representative in telecommunications. To conclude, telecommunications law would be more applicable than pure space law in that connection.

For now, there is not any plane project concerning space vehicles, at least to carry a satellite to the orbit. That is a financial burden to construct and design any space vehicle so a country is not able to invest on that kind of activities. Beside that fact, there is not a space fare category of people who need or demand to have a launching market. Neither legal entities nor ordinary people are motivated to find enjoyment in space activities. I think there is not enough space education among the new generation of young people.

They don't even have a clear understanding of the term space.

To note here, before the new industry was chosen, the vast majority of experts reiterated its unreasonably inefficiency for the Government.[6] The grounds for this were the state's budget and the economy itself. After all, the opponents discerned the possibilities in the satellite market. However, there are still concerns as to whether a national space operator could become attractive enough for customers who handle those companies' products which dominate, since space is available. Actually, ordinary people are not in favour of any space activity in the country. It would be better for a national pioneer in the space industry to be introduced with basic space assets and activities as well through education. Of course, it is not a single party job, this requires a collaborative work among several governmental bodies to address the society. Such a point of view is now following as a result of the State Program since the President of the Azerbaijan Republic signed a Decree.


Azerbaijan's State Program on initiation of the space industry is considering creating a special new official body for dealing with the activities for that aim. After carrying out the successful telecommunication activity, it firstly focuses on facilitation of the multi functional supercomputer center to receive and process the information.[7] The text of the Program indicates that it will also lead to another field of jobs in that context, namely the development of new professionals.[8]Apart from this, the new system applicable to both space industry and also information technology should be strengthened considerably according to the mission.

Lastly, new legal provisions must come into force as there are not any complete articles to regulate such new relations in a more accurate way. The ongoing Program is taking into account that fact and the initial attempts have been already made in the draft version of the law concerning space activities in the Republic according to the space operator's version.

We can approve that the half of the targets have been implemented successfully; the space operator has been created and the first national satellite is in orbit. One can clearly assume from this the chronological nature of the steps which have been taken recently. For example, there is not any law regulating space assets, activities or whatever in the new industry. So the Government expects new relations to emerge from the first phase of the activities after the program is accepted in order to adopt a new law. Moreover, it also awaits space the agency's self-regulation as it is explicitly known that the same entity drafted the new law mentioned in the first paragraph.

There is also a separated competency, the Council for Space Affairs,to supervise all of the performance addressing the space industry.[9]In conclusion, it will take several decades to enrich this new field of industry, at the same time law as the country still in the process of introduction with the modern concept of outer space.


  1. ^  http://www.president.az/articles/8010
  2. ^  Hereafter referred to as OSC.
  3. ^  Arif S. Mehdiyev. Azerbaijan's National Aerospace Agency New Directions. Azerbaijan International, Summer 1995 (3.2), s. 66. http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/32_folder/32_art icles/32_aerospace.html
  4. ^  For the definition of governmental space agency see Frans von DerDunk,Law and Practice – European National Space Agencies under International Space Law, IISL-90-065, Publishedin the Proceedings of the Thirty-third Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space (1990): 370-374, p.371.
  5. ^  See, http://www.visions.az/en/news/444/034e90b8/.
  6. ^  F.Mammadov. The Perspectives of Space Industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Available online:http://musavat.com/news/gundem/AZERBAYCANDAKOSMIK-SENAYENIN-INKISAF-PERSPEKTIVLERI_113015.html
  7. ^  See, www.mincom.gov.az/.../kosmiksenayedovletproqrami3.doc,
  8. ^  A.g.e.
  9. ^  See, http://www.mincom.gov.az/ministry/council-andcommittees/space-council/#content_anchor.

Further Reading

[1]Frans von Der Dunk,Law and Practice – European National Space Agencies under International Space Law, IISL-90-065, Publishedin the Proceedings of the Thirty-third Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space,1990, pp. 370-374

[2]Arif S. Mehdiyev. Azerbaijan's National Aerospace Agency New Directions. Azerbaijan International, Summer 1995 (3.2), Available online: http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/32_folder/32_articles/32_aerospace.html

[3]F.Mammadov.The Perspectives of Space Industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Available online:http://musavat.com/news/gundem/AZERBAYCANDA-KOSMIK-SENAYENIN-INKISAF-PERSPEKTIVLERI_113015.html

[4]http://www.president.az/articles/8010; http://www.president.az/articles/8010; http://www.visions.az/en/news/444/034e90b8/