History of NPOC

The ECSL National Point of Contact for Space Law Austria (NPOC Space Law Austria) was established at the University of Graz in 2001. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology encouraged and supported this initiative and entrusted Professor Christian Brünner with its leadership. With the support of a small team, including Alexander Soucek (now working for the European Space Agency), Professor Brünner created a network of space law interested people in Austria and encouraged the establishment of Subpoints of Contact at various Austrian universities. He organised conferences, hosted the ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy in Graz in 2004, and published academic articles and books on space law and policy. He also initiated the publication of an “Austrian Space Law Newsletter” which informed about current developments in space law in Austria and beyond.

In November 2008, the NPOC Austria moved to the University of Vienna, where a Subpoint of Contact existed under the leadership of Professor Irmgard Marboe at the Department of European, International and Comparative Law. Professor Marboe took over the position as head of the NPOC Space Law Austria, with the continued support by the Federal Ministry, and carried on the projects initiated by Professor Brünner. In addition, the development of an Austrian national law dedicated to the regulation of Austrian space activities became necessary with the development of the BRITE Austria constellation, a project involving two small satellites to be launched by the Graz University of Technology and the University of Vienna. The Austrian Outer Space Act entered into force in 2011. The implementation of international space law, in particular the five UN treaties on outer space, at the national level became henceforth one of the main focuses of the work of the NPOC Space Law Austria.

Some of the most important “Milestones” of the work of the NPOC Space Law Austria since its creation can be found here.