Scientific Assembly of the Committee of Space Research (COSPAR) Trip Report

Charles Mudd is the Principal and Founder of Mudd Law, located in Chicago, IL.

COSPAR and IAC represent two of the most significant international space conferences in 2022. In July, I attended the 44th Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) ( in Athens, Greece.  In mid-September, I will also attend the International Astronomical Conference hosted by the International Astronomical Federation (IAF) in Paris, France.

COSPAR hosts numerous individuals presenting on specific developments within a diverse field of scientific studies.  These include astrophysics; Earth’s surface, meteorology, and climate; Earth’s upper atmosphere; Earth-Moon systems; life sciences; planets and small bodies of the solar system; and, space plasmas. The 44th Scientific Assembly proved to be exceptionally rich in diverse and nuanced reports within these categories. Beyond these, COSPAR hosted diverse panels on capacity building; education, outreach, and schools; and, small satellites for capacity building.  

For my part, I participated in a panel within a broader discussion on Establishing a Framework For Scientifically-Based Stewardship of Celestial Bodies.  Specifically, I proposed and discussed “A Legal Construct to Protect Space and Earth’s Orbital Environment.” Some of the concepts related to space debris which a number of other participants discussed.  But, my presentation focused on a broader perspective that examined Earth’s orbital space as part of Earth’s environment and proposed managing it as such. To be sure, there certainly exists an understanding among many (not necessarily, all) that an international framework for managing Earth’s orbital space should be further developed.  This framework would encompass issues related to space domain awareness, space debris, and the effects of megaconstellations on astronomy and other sciences.  Building on the foundation of space debris guidelines from the United Nations and IADC, a comprehensive approach certainly can be obtained. Yet, each country must adopt such a framework within its own regulatory system.  Consequently, despite the increasing need for this to occur, it will not occur in the immediate future.  To be sure, more work must be completed.

COSPAR also provided robust discussions and focus on planetary protection with three separate scientific segments and numerous panels within each segment devoted to targeted issues within the broader topic.  Additionally, COSPAR hosted content related to its new Panel on Social Sciences and Humanities.  Consequently, in addition to the heavy science, COSPAR includes substantive discussions on broader implications, law, and policy.

Similarly, the IAC will host content both focused on science and policy. Amongst the many diverse panels and presentations, I will be discussing my independent research on the effects of satellite mega-constellations on astronomy.  Specifically, my paper examines observations of the DECam telescope (in Chile) against specific satellite orbits calculated through Python.  It also explores the potential to mitigate any “satellite photobombs” and the resulting light trails. This paper falls within the concurrent programming of the International Institute of Space Law at IAC.  

While at IAC, I will also be presenting an iPoster session on cybersecurity and space, on the one hand, as well as an iPoster on the legal issues associated with on-orbit servicing. As Mudd Law became an IAF member last year, I look forward to representing my firm among esteemed members of IAF, attendees of IAC, and the broader public.  Similarly, I will represent NewSpace Chicago in my conversations with diverse at the conference.  Should you have any questions or specific requests for information, please email me at

Charles Mudd is the Principal and Founder of Mudd Law, located in Chicago, IL.

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