Expert: Law Professor Develops Course on Space Law

Vickie Sutton is offering a short course online entitled “Business Opportunities for Space Law for Now and the Future” with plans to create a full course that will be offered through the Texas Tech Law School beginning in Spring 2017.

Pitch

For many companies looking to gain a foothold beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, space exploration and business ventures are a reality as the U.S. space program has transitioned from government control to private enterprise. A Texas Tech University professor has found expansion into space also presents the opportunity for up-and-coming lawyers to get in on the ground floor of space law. They’ll be responsible for determining the laws and regulations that will guide free enterprise in space, from international treaties to even state law.

Vickie Sutton, a Paul Whitfield Horn professor in the Texas Tech University School of Law and the director of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy, is offering a short course online entitled “Business Opportunities for Space Law for Now and the Future” with plans to create a full course that will be offered through the Texas Tech Law School beginning in Spring 2017, known as Space Law.

Vickie Sutton

Vickie Sutton

Expert

Vickie Sutton, Paul Whitfield Horn professor and director of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy, Texas Tech School of Law, (806) 834-1752 or vickie.sutton@ttu.edu

Talking Points

  • Only a few law schools across the globe offer graduate degrees dealing with space law, and a handful of others offer courses in space law.
  • The course covers the development of activities in space and the basic laws and regulations that regulate those activities. It also explores the international asteroid defense program, the emergence of asteroid mining as well as space tourism and how those areas will be regulated as well.
  • The short, online course now available will guide those interested through the legal aspects of space travel and development to give a clearer picture of emerging business opportunities and how to navigate the basics of space law. The three-hour course, available in about a year, will delve into those aspects in much more detail.
  • A link to the short course can be found here.

Quotes

  • “You’re not going to have jurisdictional boundaries in space like you do for aviation where you take off and land and fly through air space and can regulate that. That’s not possible in space law where you’re passing through at a distance and not landing. It created a whole other territory for jurisdictional, substantive law.”
  • “I designed the course for non-law and law students. I think bringing law students together with science students or engineering students is really optimal for science and technology courses. The law student learns from the science student and the science student learns from the law student.”
  • “What we have now in the state of evolution of space is the private sector is thinking how they can take what has been developed and how entrepreneurs can make it into something profitable. We’re at that stage right now where it’s not quite profitable, but it’s getting closer.”

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The Texas Tech School of Law is a leader among Texas law schools with a 16-year average pass rate of 90 percent on the State Bar Exam.

A small student body, a diverse faculty and a low student-faculty ratio (15.3:1) promotes learning and encourages interaction between students and professors.

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