Call for Croatian Space Law

Zdravo! If you missed the conference in Split, Croatia last week, Human Presence in Space, chaired by NSS executive director George Whitesides and organized by the Croatian non-profit educational organization Znanost.org "to inspire the next generation of scientists in Europe and Croatia, and to chart the future role of smaller countries in human spaceflight," here's a press summary of the interesting pro-commercial space event.

Along with the Croatian Minister of Science, Education and Sports, Dragan Primorac, participants included Greg Olsen, who along with cosmonauts and astronauts brought with them "a combined 415 days of space experience." Also on hand were future space travelers with either free dreams, or very expensive future flight tickets.

Why gather in Croatia? The organizers report, "Croatia, like many smaller countries, has never had one of its own citizens go into space. The country gained its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. While the Soviet Union had a program to launch representatives of Eastern Bloc countries, Yugoslavia was a non-aligned country and so did not participate in the program.

Despite this, or perhaps because of this, there is substantial interest in spaceflight in Croatia. Croatia is a prospective member of the European Union, and one of the topics of discussion was whether Croatia might join the European Space Agency in the future."

According to the press release, one "hot topic" at the summit was "the lack of spaceflight regulation in Croatia, which could open up commercial opportunities for future space tourism companies operating in Europe, including zero gravity flights."

Students (and possible future space lawyers?) Tonka Burić and Lucija Bojkic, "presented a case study that showed that it was possible under existing Croatian laws and airspace regulations to fly parabolic flights." I'd like to see that in English. (For now, the study,
Studija Izvedivosti Svemirskog Turizma U Hrvatskoj is available in Croatian only.) Tonka said, "Starting parabolic flight in Croatia would expand Croatia's international reputation for tourism. The market is there. All that is required now is the will."

And Per Wimmer, described as Danish adventurer, financier, and lawyer with four masters degrees who "bought tickets to fly to space with two of the leading space tourism companies, Virgin Galactic and Space Adventures," spoke about cool spaceflight training at the Gagarin cosmonaut training facility outside of Moscow and high altitude MIG flights to 80,000 feet. Not bad for a lawyer.

Wimmer "also described the international legal framework of space activities. He argued that the patchwork of treaties and agreements, including the Outer Space treaty ratified only a few years after the launch of Sputnik, must be expanded and that mechanisms for enforcement must be re-thought."

A video archive of the event is expected.

Meanwhile, best of luck to Croatia on its space tourism dreams. As to regular, on- ground tourism, the US State Department
reports "Croatia's economy turned the corner in 2000 as tourism rebounded" and continued growth is expected. And according to a comment on travel site Lonely Planet, "It’s hard to imagine that Croatia was part of a deadly civil war because today the Adriatic Coast is possibly the most peaceful place on earth (aside from the annual Teutonic invasion, but the biggest danger there is skimpy bathing suits)."

Not so skimpy spacesuits next?

* * *
IMAGE: Tonka and Lucija talk about the future. And here's another picture from the symposium -- lawyer and future space traveler
Pim Wimmer with the Croatian Minister of Science.

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