Drone and space law is a burgeoning area of the law as scientists and engineers develop new ways for ordinary people to take to the skies. The operation of drones has captivated the imaginations of millions of Americans, and many people have purchased or built drones of their own for their own personal use and enjoyment. If drones let us reach for the clouds, then the promise of space travel lets us reach for the stars. Space tourism is the next frontier, and there are countless businesses dedicated to making visiting space a reality.
As we move into these new areas of technological development, legal issues will arise. Some legal issues, such as whether drone operators should be required to have insurance, akin to having automobile insurance in order to operate a motor vehicle, have already been voiced and are currently under debate in legislatures across the country. Every new legal issue that arises concerning drones and space is an opportunity to shape the future of these areas of law.
Drones are the latest and greatest innovation in unmanned aircraft systems. These small-scale aircraft can fly miles into the air at great speeds. Drones are large enough to cause damage if they run into something, and can be equipped with cameras and other sensing and monitoring technology, which poses a ton of questions about regulating these types of devices. To date, very little exists by the way of regulation on drone aircraft, and only a few states have tried to pass laws concerning drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed some regulations on drone marking, and has put into place some rules concerning the operation of drones. For instance:
- Drone operators who are flying drones that are less than 55 pounds and are used for non hobbyist purposes are required to keep their drones in sight at all times during flight.
- Drones can be flown in daylight.
- Drones must be equipped with anti-collision lighting if they are to be flown during twilight hours.
- Drones can fly at a maximum ground speed of 100 miles per hour.
- Drones can fly no higher than 400 feet above the ground.
- Drones cannot be flown over people who are not operating the drone.
Space law used to be delegated to only NASA and businesses who specialized in making aircraft that could fly high into the atmosphere. But with recent developments in technology and proposed plans for space tourism, space law is an up and coming area of law. Spacecraft are launched into orbit all the time, and accidents happen. Property can be damaged, and someone needs to be held accountable.
The areas of drone and space law are the new “wild west,” so to speak, and the professionals at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, are here to help in whatever way that they can. Our lawyers can help you with the highly specialized areas of drone and space law, and any legal issues arise from these areas of law. Contact us today to see how we can help you.