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Outer space affords a unique physical environment in which to conduct experiments. The most widely appreciated characteristic of the space environment is that of microgravity. Outer space also provides a sterile setting not easily or inexpensively achievable on Earth. The electromagnetic and radiation levels too differ significantly from those on Earth. These and other natural attributes of outer space make it a potentially attractive environment for the conduct of experiments, which will lead to inventions in a wide range of high technology fields.
This unique environment is increasingly accessible to experimenters and inventors at costs which are commercially attractive. The Mir Space Station as well as NASA Shuttle Flights already provide opportunities for experiments to be conducted in outer space. When the Multi-National Space Station is established there will be even greater numbers of experiments and research projects conducted there.
Outer space also presents a unique legal environment for these activities. Recognizing this, and the uncertainty surrounding a number of central legal issues which will result from such activity, this book sheds light on the incidental legal questions that arise. Based on the papers presented at a conference on the topic in Paris, the book examines patentability and intellectual property infringement, as well as contractual issues and related topics. Also included are papers on the liabilities that arise out of activities in outer space, the relevant jurisdictional considerations, and the growing commercialization of space activities in the United States and in Europe.