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The translation project

After the launch of the first satellite, Sputnik I on 4 October 1957, the legal foundations for human activities in outer space were laid down within the space of only a few years in the form of five international treaties (Outer Space Treaty (1967), Rescue Agreement (1968), Liability Agreement (1972), Registration Agreement (1975), Moon Treaty (1979)) accepted by consensus in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

In the course of the rapid development of technology that enables outer space exploration and use, other legal instruments were developed after the entry into force of the five Space Law Treaties in the form of UN General Assembly resolutions and non-binding guidelines by IADC and UNCOPUOS.

However, the Outer Space Treaty, which entered into force 50 years ago, remains the comprehensive basis and set of fundamental principles regulating human activities in outer space.

The first volume of the "Cologne Commentary on Space Law" (Carl Heymanns, 2009) marked the beginning of a three-volume publication. This is a complete commentary on international space law, for which the Institute of Air and Space Law was responsible as co-editor with partners. For the translation of the first volume into Russian, the original text including footnotes was checked and updated, in cooperation and exchange with Russian partners. Wherever the context required cross-references were made to Volume II and Volume III and interpretive questions in need of discussion were identified.

The typeset-ready templates for all versions were prepared in constant coordination between the University of Cologne team and the cooperating team of translators on the Russian side.

In November 2016, a workshop was held in Moscow, Russian Federation, with the translator team to coordinate the translation project and discuss interpretational issues.

In 2018 and 2019, the implementing regulations for the Outer Space Treaty (Rescue Agreement, Liability Agreement, Registration Agreement, Moon Treaty) were also translated into Russian, with Volume II of the Cologne Commentary on Space Law being updated.