Tag Archives: Ghana

Ghana considers its first national space law

The new colonial movement: Ghana moves to write and pass its first national space law.

In setting out space legislation, Ghana would be following international precedent. More than 25 countries have enacted such laws. The space powers Russia and the US are among them, but so are smaller states like Argentina, Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Iran. Closer to home, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa already have space laws. Other nations on the continent will undoubtedly follow suit.

A national space law would ensure that space activities launched within Ghana’s jurisdiction – whether on land, ships or aircraft – and perhaps even abroad by its nationals or registered companies are appropriately regulated. Such laws may govern a host of space-related ventures. These include launches; remote sensing and space data protection; aeronautics; rocket and satellite development, space tourism and space mining.

Of course, the complexity of space activities combined with the rapid pace at which technology develops means that national space laws are unlikely to cover every eventuality. They do, however, provide a degree of certainty for the public, investors and courts should disputes arise. National laws also facilitate compliance with global obligations. Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty, for example, requires all space activities to be authorised and continually supervised by the state. National laws which demand licensing of space activities foster adherence to the treaty.

Article 7 makes states liable for damage caused by space objects under its jurisdiction, including those belonging to private commercial entities. A Space Act can be vital in limiting a state’s liability through provisions on indemnities.

Ghana has signed the Outer Space Treaty. The next step will be for the government to ratify it, and then to establish a legislative framework for space activities. [emphasis mine]

I have highlighted the fundamental problem with the Outer Space Treaty. If Ghana wants to attract investment capital for its space industry, they are forced to sign the treaty. It establishes the only existing rules for liability. Unfortunately, the treaty is also hostile to freedom, and puts the government in charge, which is why it has taken so long for private enterprise to finally gain a foothold in space.

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Builders of Ghana’s first satellite push for government help

The new colonial movement: The student engineers who built Ghana’s first satellite, GhanaSat-1 and launched in July, are pushing their government to establish the legal framework for future space activities in that country.

Student engineers behind the successful launch of Ghana’s first satellite into orbit have appealed to the government to set up a multi-stakeholder committee to come up with an act, the Ghana outer space act, a key requirement that would enable the country to ratify and sign the United Nations Outer Space Treaty.

They said if the country signed and ratified the treaty, it would give investors the signal and confidence that the country was ready for them to come and establish space science facilities.

The description in the article of what these students want suggests they do not quite understand the ramifications of all the UN space treaties, because it appears they also want Ghana to become signatories to them all. This would be a big mistake. While every country that launches satellites is a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty, very few have signed the Moon Treaty, as its language puts far more serious restrictions on property rights.

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Africa and space

Link here. Prompted by the launch last week of Ghana’s first satellite from ISS, this article take a look at what other African countries are doing to become players in the new colonial movement, noting efforts being done by Nigeria, South Africa, Ethopia, Angola, and Kenya.

Overall, no African country is doing very much in space. The fact that this African-centered news outlet feels compelled to note this, however, suggests that the competitive urge might be stirring there.

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Ghana launches its first satellite

The new colonial movement: Yesterday Ghana’s first satellite, a cubesat built by students, was released from the International Space Station.

Also today the Ghana government announced the successful conversion of a communications antenna into a radio telescope that is now part of the worldwide Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope (VLBI).

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