The Working Group is closed.

Background of the Working Group

At the Spring Meeting of 2021, the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) approved the creation of a study group under the name “IISL Working Group on Light Pollution of the Night Sky from a Space Law Perspective”. The Working Group (WG) was officially formed and started operating in September 2021.

At its peak, the WG was composed of a dozen people, including the present Coordinator. There were a few people who participated in one or more meetings of the WG but in the end they did not contribute to the present report.

All participants of the WG were IISL members, except for two. One person participated from Europe’s major astronomical organization, the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and provided much information from a technical point of view. The WG also reached out to the Canaries Astrophysical Institute, the most important astronomical institution in Spain, which provided some additional technical support. Finally, significant support in terms of research of existing national laws and rules on light pollution was provided by a member of The Space Court Foundation.

The purposes for the creation of this WG were to collect information about the issue of the light pollution of the night sky caused by satellite constellations, analyze the problem from a Space Law perspective, raise awareness on the topic among all IISL members, and provide the IISL Board of Directors with an up-to-date report describing the current state of the situation.

From the outset, several members supported the WG’s consideration of the work already done by other bodies on the topic of light pollution of the night sky, in particular the reports of the IAU/UNOOSA/Spain “Dark & Quiet Skies for Science and Society” Workshop and Conference that were held on-line, in October 2020 and October 2021 respectively. In fact, several members of the present IISL WG contributed actively to the reports that were compiled and published as a result of the 2021 Dark & Quiet Skies Conference.

The WG agreed that the aforementioned reports were a very significant source of information, and that they would be consulted as a basis for our discussions. The recommendations addressed to all stakeholders concerning satellite constellations that are contained in pages 151 to 157 of the report of the 2020 Dark & Quiet Skies Workshop4 are particularly noteworthy, and they should be taken into account by everyone who approaches this issue. The WG underlined nevertheless that it should proceed independently in its examination of the topic, and that it would produce its own report on behalf of IISL.

Final report of the Working Group

The final report of the Working Group, entitled 'KEEPING THE NIGHT SKY CLEAR -- IISL Working Group on the Light Pollution of the Night Sky from a Space Law Perspective - Final Report' is available below.