Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Mark J. Sundahl


As the volume of debris in the planet's orbit continues to grow, the risks and costs associated with orbital collisions are taking their toll on the space industry. The United Nations Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects seeks to address this modern day tragedy of the commons, yet it applies only to large, identifiable pieces of orbital debris. As most debris consists of small fragments, the source of which cannot be identified, the U.N. Convention is limited in its effect.

This Note addresses the problem of assigning liability for harm caused by unidentified orbital debris. It analyzes international law related to space debris and argues for an amendment to the U.N. Convention that would establish market-share liability for damage caused by unidentified orbital debris.