The upcoming of Iris2: Bridging the digital divide and strengthening the role of the EU in International Space Law
The arrival of thousands of satellites posed in large constellations is providing the possibility to offer ubiquitous internet connection, offering connection anywhere in the world and bridging the disparities between connected and unconnected. Such opportunities pushed for the commercialisation of space, with the advent of a vibrant satellite connectivity market. However, the trend has been lately led by private parties deploying satellites in the name of self-regulation, therefore putting at risk the safety, security and sustainability of orbits in outer space. In this scenario, the EU decided to launch its governmental satellite constellation the Infrastructure for Resilience Interconnectivity Security by Satellite (IRIS2) to offer broadband internet connection and safe communication throughout Europe while at the same time offering opportunities to take the lead in the dialogue on the formation of guidelines in the deployment of such complex systems. The article introduces the reader to the benefits that satellite communication can provide for society while exploring the legal and technical challenges following the advent of thousands of satellites in orbit. Moreover, it navigates the responses required by the international community to the legal and policy challenges. Finally, it envisions a new approach that the EU can play with its space policy in order to foster the debate for a much more coherent legal response to the challenges posed by the advent of large satellite constellations.