Emerging technologies are driving the transformation of the Space sector, while having a direct impact in other sectors which are exponentially using satellites, especially with the deployment of 5G and IoT ecosystems, the increasing use and resolution of Earth observation images, and the increasing need for and accuracy of navigation systems. The privatisation and commercialisation of space activities, the emergence of new public space actors, the investment on space exploration and exploitation (mining and tourism, including suborbital flights), together with the challenges of sustainability and in-orbit servicing, are providing new venues and technological needs for the space sector.


Technology advancements have great impact on the space sector, both upstream and downstream, bringing the space sector to an era of automation, connectivity and sustainability: small satellites, constellations of satellites, High-Altitude Platforms (pseudo-satellites), satellite manufacturing (IIOT, additive manufacturing/3D printing, automation, serial production), reusable rockets, horizontal launches, in-orbit servicing, data processing, use and distribution (AI, Big Data Analytics, cloud computing, new methods of delivering data through AR/VR), location-based services, use of DLT/blockchain and intelligent systems, among others.

Along the privatisation and commercialisation of space activities, on-demand products and services, the shared economy, space-as-a-service and P2P transportation are creating exciting new opportunities.

The sustainability of space – addressing space debris mitigation and removal, investing in SSA/SST programmes and space traffic management – also require new technological approaches, as do space mining, space tourism and colonization.

Cyberthreats are also becoming one of the main challenges the space sector needs to deal with, along with resilience to jamming.


Forces driving the market

Privatisation and commercialisation

Private actors perform an increasingly number of space activities, bringing on innovation, efficiency and costs-savings that the public sector (which is still the main financer of Space) is not often able to deliver.

New space countries

An increasing number of countries is implementing space strategies, programs and laws, as well as investing in space activities, both in the upstream and downstream sectors.

Space exploration and exploitation

The exploration and exploitation of Space through space mining, space colonisation, space tourism (including suborbital flights) and space science are becoming central for the space sector.

Space sustainability

Debris mitigation and removal, SSA/SST, and space traffic management, require new technological approaches.

Space defence

Space is increasingly recognised as a strategic asset for States. As a result, space infrastructures and services for defence purposes are increasing.

New Space

Both upstream and downstream space activities are disrupted by the technological development in the sector. From small satellites (including constellations of satellites) and HAPS/pseudo-satellites, to small, reusable launchers and horizontal launches, to the use of IIOT, 3D printing, automation, serial production and robotics in manufacturing processes, all are reducing costs and bringing new possibilities to Space. At the same time, the capacities of SatEO, SatNav and SatCom services are increasing, with Big Data Analytics, new methods of delivering data (AR(VR), Location-Based services, and 5G/IoT communications through satellites, increasingly resorting to space services.


Can we help you

VdA has vast experience and strong expertise in all policy, legal and regulatory matters associated with Space. Our tech and industry insights allow us to provide 360.º legal services to organisations, governments, and regulators:

  • Manufacturers
  • Operators
  • Downstream providers
  • Space agencies
  • Developers and technology suppliers
  • Operators of downstream services resorting to space technologies, such as in the telecom, mobility, and the energy sectors
  • Investors
  • Insurers
  • R&D institutions
  • Incubators and accelerators
  • Governments
  • Regulators

Our team of experts is delivering strategic and sophisticated legal advice to help our clients on their most challenging and promising projects. With a track-record of advising complex projects for leading companies in the sector, as well as for the public sector, VdA services include:

Private sector:
  • Advising on regulatory and compliance issues for developing, testing and deploying space objects and ground stations, including licensing, orbital slots and spectrum
  • Advising on regulatory and compliance issues relating to the use of space technology, such as in the electronic communications, mobility and energy sectors, as well as on data (personal and non-personal), cybersecurity, insurance and liability issues, IP protection, technology partnerships and transfers
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts for development, construction, sale and purchase (satellites, launchers, ground stations), provision of services, among others, including terms of service and privacy policies for digital offers
  • Assisting on incorporation and financing, from the setting-up of companies to the implementation of business and public partnerships, financing structures and business restructurings, and including financing from public calls and grants, national aid programmes and development banks, business angels, venture capitalists
Public sector:
  • Drafting policies, strategies and laws for Space
  • Advising on public contracts: administrative contracts, public tenders, pre-contractual proceedings
  • Negotiating partnerships and memoranda of understanding with governments, institutions, agencies and the private sector
  • Assisting in devising packages / programmes for supporting the space sector (start-ups, SMEs) (aid, financial assistance) and keeping innovation budgets
  • Providing capacity-building, training and awareness programmes
  • Assisting in space defence related issues

Our Tech Space Roadmap Product

Our Space Gate Programme is a turnkey set of services that integrate several modules our clients can choose from in accordance with their needs.

  • R&D and Testing Package
  • Monitoring & Compliance Programme
    • Space Start Programme
    • Infrastructure and Manufacturing Programme
    • Licensing and Registration Plan
  • Technology & IP Programme
  • Data & Cybersecurity Programme
  • Strategy and Regulatory Framework Programme
  • Financing
  • Capacity-Building Programme

For further information on this product, please send us an email.

Our team of experts

The Space ecosystem raises complex challenges that require a holistic and sophisticated legal analysis.

We help our clients meet their goals through a cross-sector team that brings lawyers from our Aerospace and ICT Practice Areas, as well as from our Data & Cybersecurity Practice Area. In addition, to deal with the complex challenges brought by the Space sector, our team further works routinely with our colleagues from Infrastructure & Mobility, Public Procurement, Competition, Banking & Finance, Insurance, Tax, Project Finance, IP, Defence, among others.


Specialised knowledge is required

The opportunities and challenges of the Space sector, including those arising from the deployment of emerging technologies, are complex. VdA is especially knowledgeable of the opportunities and challenges brought by Space in Europe and in Africa.

VdA is well aware of the opportunities and challenges of the space sector in Europe, including those arising from the Space Strategy for Europe and the EU Space Flagship Programmes: Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS, SST and the future GovSatCom, including  the opportunities brought by the new EU Regulation for the space programme and the allocated budget. VdA also has experience in advising on calls for the European Commission and Agencies, as well as for ESA. VdA has also worked for ESA projects and one of its team members has worked in ESA as an intern.

In addition, VdA has relevant experience in European countries in advising governments and space agencies in drafting space laws, setting up space agencies, and launching public tenders for space activities, including notably for space ports and SST projects. VdA also advises companies performing space activities in Europe, developing technologies and components for upstream activities, and resorting to space technologies and data for downstream products and services, taking into consideration not only the applicable national space laws, but also other relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, including, for instance, on telecoms, data economy, cybersecurity and critical entities, Intellectual Property, import/export, tax, environment, software licenses, hardware supply, consumer protection, among others.

VdA is well aware of the opportunities and challenges of the space sector in Africa, notably as a result of the African Union Space Policy and Strategy, the African Space Agency, the Space Science Institute of the Pan-African University and the increasing number of African States investing in space activities.

Indeed, space products, services and data play a central role for African development in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. What is more, the space sector plays an essential role in the implementation of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa 2020-2030 and of the African Digital Single Market (DSM). Indeed, satellite communications (SatCom) are essential for broadcasting and internet communications, for e-education and e-health, as well as for e-commerce and e-payments. Satellite navigation (SatNav) also plays a central role in this scope, including in supporting location-based services. Lastly, satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) continues to have a decisive role for the provision of monitoring services, including for environmental purposes and disasters’ prevention, which is essential for tackling climate change.

As a result, African countries are (and are expected to continue) increasingly investing in the development of the space sector and of indigenous capabilities in this area, as well as investing in sound and equitable international partnerships.

VdA has relevant experience in African countries in advising governments in drafting space policies and in international cooperation agreements and has know-how in drafting space laws adapted to the countries’ needs and goals, as well in setting up governance structures for space activities. It further has been actively involved in capacity-building initiatives on Space Law for Africa and has written extensively on the space sector for Africa. VdA also advises companies performing space activities in African countries, developing technologies and components for upstream activities, and resorting to space technologies and data for downstream products and services, taking into consideration not only the applicable existent national space laws, but also other relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, including, for instance, on telecoms, data economy (personal and non-personal), cybersecurity and critical infrastructures, Intellectual Property, import/export, tax, environment, software licenses, hardware supply, consumer protection, among others.


Can we do it for you

Assisting you in devising the best approach and models for your business, project, product and service, in the light of legal and regulatory opportunities and constraints.

Assisting you in the development and setting-up of your business, project, product and service, drafting all required documentation, assisting in the negotiation of contracts, interacting with competent authorities, and accompanying you every step of the way.

Assisting you in addressing day-to-day business goals and challenges in the light of the applicable laws and regulations. We are here for you.

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