Broadcast 1169 (Special Edition)

07 Jun 2009 Professor Ram Jakhu
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Guest: Professor Ram Jakhu. Topics: National and international space law, space debris, space tourism, civil space, military space, SSP. Professor Ram Jakhu, Associate Professor at the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada was our guest today. We began our discussion by addressing the space debris issue and the recent International Interdisciplinary Congress on Space Debris held at McGill University in Montreal from May 7-9, 2009. Please visit to download the conference program as well as the papers presented at this important space debris congress. Our orbital debris discussion was most interesting. Professor Jakhu even suggested the quantity of debris in various orbits above Earth as well as the longevity for such debris. You will certainly want to hear these estimates. In fact, toward the end of the show when a listener emailed in SSP answers to a question that came up earlier about SSP and debris, one could easily see how moving no longer useful hardware to a higher orbit may actually contribute to the debris problem and adding upwards of a million or more years to its lifespan as the parking orbit goes higher and higher. See what you think of this discussion at the end of the show. The subject of North Korea, Iran, nukes and rockets came up again as it has on recent Space Show programs. Professor Jakhu talked with us about legal enforcement, treaties, and other legal issues connected with the acquisition of nukes and ballistic rockets by these nations. See what you think of this discussion. I suspect some of you might not find it to your liking. By the way, one piece of news given us by Professor Jakhu was that N. Korea recently became a party to the Outer Space Treaty. When I learned about this, I then said it would be a treaty violation for N. Korea to blow a nuke off in space to create a destructive EMP and he said yes. This was in response to a recent Space Show program where the guest talked about EMP probability and N. Korea. Of course my next question to the professor was for an assessment of the track record with N. Korea keeping treaty obligations and he suggested it was not very good. Oh well, we can always hope, right? Many other issues came up in connection with debris including the recent HST repair mission. Later in the show, a listener asked our law professor about the probability that the Montreal Protocol might be extended or expanded to include direct deposit stratospheric pollutants from rocket launches. While familiar with the Montreal Protocol, Ram was not familiar with this issue but he is now as I have forwarded to him the paper on this subject that was the topic on The Space Show a few weeks ago with guest Dr. Martin Ross. We thank David in Boulder for this question. Later in the show, a question from a listener came in regarding the deployment of a space solar power system and what happens to the hardware when its life ends in terms of being a contributor to space debris. You will want to hear what Ram had to say about this issue. Another listener asked about the possible shortage of commercial communication frequencies in the Sis Lunar environment. Professor Jakhu provided us with a clear understanding of the frequency allocation shortfall in certain bands and for certain purposes. During the debris discussion, when asked what was perhaps the best thing we could all do now was to have a heightened state of awareness of the problem so we can eventually mitigate the problem with policy and technology. We also learned that the US is the leading authority on this issue if for no other reason than size and capacity. We learned that the UN COUPUOS takes second place to national space agencies and programs regarding space debris issues. For his closing comments, Professor Jakhu urged us to understand that space requires a global perspective as it is a global environment. Global solutions are required for space problem solving. If you want to offer a comment or ask a question of Professor Ram Jakhu, please send it to me at and I will promptly forward it to him.



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