Cleveland-Marshall College of Law launches Space Law Center

The demand for space lawyers is rocketing, and Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law wants to make sure its students are ready for lift off.

The law school recently announced the launch of its new Global Space Law Center to expand its space policy initiatives. It is the first law school research center in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to the study of the law of outer space. 

“We are excited to offer our students a one-of-a-kind educational experience designed to meet the demand of this emerging field,” said Cleveland-Marshall Law Dean Lee Fisher.

The Center will provide programming to train the next generation of space lawyers, promote the development of laws and policies that foster the peaceful use of outer space, and to facilitate the growth of the space industry, according to a press release. 

The employment opportunities in space law for lawyers did not exist ten years ago. Space research and development is moving faster, technology components are increasingly more available and state governments are looking to join in on the action. The ability to use space commercially has increased, and expenses to innovate in this sector have decreased.

“The creation of this Center reflects the determination of [Cleveland-Marshall Law] to find opportunities for its students as business and industry evolves,” said Professor Mark J. Sundahl. “The space industry is undergoing a drastic transformation with the development of reusable rockets and other new technologies that will reduce the cost of accessing space and, in turn, spur the growth of new companies.”

Sundahl will sit at the helm of the Global Space Law Center, serving as its director. He is an international expert on space law and serves as chair of the International Space Policy Working Group of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Committee. He is also an advisor to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and served as the executive secretary of the International Institute of Space Law. 

The first course offered by the Center, Space Law: A Global View, will be conducted online next summer. Sundahl will teach the course, which is open to law students, practitioners and space industry executives around the world.

Other law schools have developed space law programs to prepare students for this emerging field. The University of Nebraska College of Law and the University of Mississippi both have degree-bearing space law programs where students study existing space regulations and international agreements related to space exploration. 

Recently, law students at UM Law took second at the World Finals of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Australia.

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