July 8, 2011
Webster University Expert Available to Discuss Space Law
Even before NASA retired its space shuttle program, government and privately funded efforts have already begun to develop a new deep space exploration program. But who owns space? Private companies are already making plans to profit from it through tourism, mining and development. And who will craft the laws to fairly govern it?
Edythe Weeks is an adjunct professor of international space law at Webster University in St. Louis and coordinator of Webster's online international relations program. She is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and researches international outer space policy and development. She believes that space exploration will bring significant economic development, creating more jobs in an exploding industry that will include tourism, mining and colonization. But she says it will also create a whole host of international relations issues. "Colonies, for example, will need to figure out which language will be dominant, what kind of government will be used and how ideologies will be formed," says Weeks, who believes the UN’s 1967 Outer Space Treaty could even be changed to consider private-property rights in space.
Weeks' research and teaching as well as Webster University's long-time graduate program in space systems management has landed the institution in the United Nations directory of institutions offering space law education. NASA's first female space shuttle commander, Eileen Collins, is a 1989 graduate of Webster’s graduate program.
Edythe Weeks teaches International Law and Politics of Outer Space, which examines international law related to outer space and treating outer space as an international territory. Other topics discussed in the course include ownership of natural resources in space and security concerns. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from Northern Arizona University (Her dissertation was titled The Politics of Space Law in a Post Cold War Era: Understanding Regime Change and addressed outer space development by the private sector). Weeks has written the book, Outsiders' Guide to Understanding Outer-Space Development (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2004), published journal articles and presented at space-related conferences internationally, including at the annual conference of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.
For a media interview with Prof. Edythe Weeks, contact Christine Wells Eason, director of media relations, Webster University Office of Public Affairs, at: email@example.com or 314-968-5976.
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University is a worldwide institution committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges, and a global network of campuses. Its 20,000-plus-student population represents almost 150 nationalities.
Since opening its first campus overseas in Geneva in 1978, Webster has become a recognized leader and innovator in global education, with an international presence that now includes campuses in London; Vienna; Amsterdam and Leiden, the Netherlands; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, China; and Bangkok and Cha-am, Thailand. Webster also has educational partnerships with universities in Mexico and Japan.