The Republic of Cyprus has now joined the club of countries having national space legislation as it recently enacted Law N.93(I)/2023 on the Authorization of Space Activities, the Registration of Space Objects and Related Matters (Cyprus Space Law).
The Cyprus Space Law is made up of 28 articles that regulate the legal, economic, and organisational bases of space activities in Cyprus. The new law creates rules for, inter alia, the registration of space objects, the grant, amendment, and revocation of authorisations for the conduct of space activities, insurance obligations, liability for damages, space debris mitigation measures, and international obligations.
Space operators can only conduct activities after receiving approval from relevant authorities, the Director of the Department of Electronic Communications (DEC) and the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, and in accordance with all international space law treaties that have been ratified by Cyprus. All space objects must be included in a national space registry.
Authorised space operators must pay compensation to the Republic of Cyprus for damages caused by space objects covered by the granted authorisation, for which the Republic has an international obligation to pay compensation to affected third parties under the Liability Convention of 1972 to which the island is a contracting party.
The Cyprus Space Law provides that space activities must be conducted in an environmentally friendly manner that promotes the sustainable use of space. Space operators must assess the environmental impact of their activities on Earth – in the atmosphere and in outer space – and establish a plan containing measures to prevent and reduce direct and indirect adverse environmental impacts.
Cyprus signed a Cooperation Agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2016 and is working towards achieving the status of a full ESA Member State in the near future. Cyprus also contributes to the operations and financing of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), a specialised agency originally created as the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Supervisory Authority (GSA) in 2004 and before being reorganised into its current form in 2021. In 2022, Cyprus published its Space Strategy 2022-2027, highlighting the prospects that the development of space technologies will give to Cypriot society, through targeted actions.
With the enactment of this new legislation, Cyprus is laying a solid foundation for the diversification of its economic sectors, the creation of skilled jobs, and the strengthening of its space ecosystem. Although the space industry of Cyprus is just starting to spring, the country has embarked on an ambitious project to position itself as an emerging space nation, relying on its strategic geographical position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
If you are interested in learning more about space law and keep abreast of the latest developments in the space sector, please contact Chrystel Erotokritou, Compliance Manager, at [email protected] or Sofia Stellatou, Policy Analyst at [email protected].