4 April 2013, 13:00 h, House of Europe, Sofia
On 4 April 2013, The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, in cooperation with the team of the project “Bulgaria and Space Law – a look into the Future”, the Fund for Scientific Research with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, and with the special support of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, organized a public lecture on the topic “The Perspectives in Front of Space Cooperation and Dealing with Space Debris”. The honorable speaker was Professor Stephen Freeland, a professor of International Law at the University of Western Sidney (UWS). The lecture took place at the House of Europe, in Sofia.
In his exposé, Professor Freeland referred to some of the basic aspects in understanding the space environment and its legal regulation. Central to his speech were the benefits that a country could enjoy in cooperating with NASA and ESA (The European Space Agency). The lector noted that, at that moment, the problem with the space debris was not on the modern society’s agenda, but nonetheless it was going to be an immediate threat in the next decades. Humanity as a whole must strive to achieve a better regulation framework of international space relations, mainly due to the many gaps and shortcomings on the matter. According to Professor Freeland, legal conventions established by international organizations did not cover all of the possible hypothesis of interaction between the entities in outer space. The regulations surrounding the peaceful exploration and exploitation of the Moon and other celestial bodies also had to be developed further. More efforts needed to be put in the fight against the pollution in outer space. At that time, there was no doubt that there was a need for national regulation on space debris. The professor mentioned that these problems were not strictly specific to the sphere of the law, but also fell under the fields of technology and human society’s vision for the future. It was no secret that the ordinary citizen would rather deal with the problems of unemployment, and only then look up to the sky and space.
The fascinating presentation sparked a reaction in the audience and was the start of an interesting discussion. Several students, who were also planing to further their academic development in the field of International Space Law, took part in the discussion. The young high schoolers, trained at the Varna Observatory „Nicolaus Copernicus”, who had recently won first places in a NASA competition, also participated in the discussion. There were some interesting points made about the European Space Agency. The President of The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria Dr. Solomon Passy used the moment to mention that he had raised the question about the adoption of a Bulgarian Space Law in the last couple of Bulgarian parliamentary sessions. He stressed several times that a bill, drafted by The Atlantic Club, currently existed. Dr. Passy also noted that out of the 27 EU member states, Bulgaria was the only one that was not a member of the European Space Agency – a basic requirement for any further cooperation with NASA.
The lecture ended with Professor Freeland expressing his hope and faith in the younger generation, the future leaders who were destined to take the torch from the leaders of today.