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Securing the “Space” Above Us: Reflections on the Past – to Consider Tomorrow’s Challenges . . . Today
Ownership of airspace has always been a controversial issue of nations. Warfare has clearly shown the risk and vulnerability that can come from the sky. As the use of the sky and outer space continues to develop, there can be little doubt that this will become an even more contentious issue whereby ownership is ultimately proclaimed as a means of protecting national interests, ensuring control, and thereby asserting national dominance. The continued advancement of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sector is adding to this complexity in terms of its use and the separation between manned and unmanned systems. This research explores the historical context and the legacy from the past that impacts upon future advancements. The author concludes that, today, there remain a number of unanswered questions, including the uncertainty as to the protection and rights afforded, not just to States but also to individuals. In essence, this in not just a matter for nations, but for land and property owners as well. As technologies advance, humans will become subject to more metamorphosis between air and space use, and the transport modes that use these areas. And, as the “space above” becomes ever busier, this arguably becomes a critical matter to revisit in terms of defining boundaries and having suitable frameworks in place.