Press Release

International Space Transport Association Trade Organization Launched

By SpaceRef Editor
September 17, 2010
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Today at the international conference ‘The regulation of suborbital flights in the European context’ – with members of EU, NASA and ESA present – trade organization ISTA has been launched. One of the main goals of the International Space Transport Association is to facilitate the development of new regulations for the commercial space industry, which will help establish a more precise responsibility and liability structure, in line with UN resolution 2222-XXI Art VI*. “Commercial space has an annual global turnover of 120 billion euro and is one of the fastest growing markets. This makes a global trade organization necessary”, says Ronald Heister, director general of ISTA. “Space enables enormous possibilities to improve life on earth. An industry that explores these new frontiers needs regulation alongside stimulation. ISTA will help influence and advise governments and safety organizations in the drafting of new space legislation.”

Ronald Heister (The Netherlands) and Sergio Figueira (Portugal), upon the initiative of the latter, created ISTA “Many people look at commercial space as a toy for the elite rich. This is exactly how we looked at air traffic one hundred years ago. Nowadays, we buy low fare tickets and the airline industry is a part of many people’s lives. With a current annual turnover of a global 120 billion Euros [according to TNO**] the development of commercial space will go quicker than the way commercial airlines did in the past decennia.” Commercial space development will also help the sustainability of life on Earth. ISTA will focus on safety, environment, legislation and education around space to grow the space industry in a responsible way. “Think for instance about energy production, long term solutions in health care, and the further growth of products and services around the space industry in general, in which ISTA would like to play an active role in.”

According to Heister “ISTA has also been created to inspire and inform the public about commercial space. General knowledge, education, training, promotion and communication on and about the commercial space industry are vital elements of the public duties of ISTA. In addition, the general public often doesn’t know what’s available to them, because governmental bodies are often focused on their national programs, whereas the commercial industry has so much more to offer.” The worldwide development of space ports, space lines, space agents, space hotels and space stations require the need for an independent, international association which can bring all stakeholders together. It is ISTA’s objective to maximize sustainable growth of the space travel industry and its spinoff markets and to raise awareness amongst existing and new commercial space consumers and the general public to support and promote the industry.

The air traffic industry has two renowned international trade organizations with IATA (International Air Transport Association) and IAPA (International Airline Passengers Association), who have helped to create global regulation within the industry. “It was also in Holland that last century, IATA`s predecessor was created”, explains Heister. “It is a small country that achieves great accomplishments! With ISTA we’d like to accomplish similar activities for space. The industry gives us enormous opportunities to facilitate even more economical growth in size and value. For stakeholders, working together is vital and essential, certainly for an industry which has been dominated by the public sector.”

International Space Transport Association (ISTA) is located in The Hague. Before its official launch today, businesses and organizations from countries like Canada, United States of America, Japan, Russia, India, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal , Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia, Brazil and Hong Kong have joined ISTA as members or strategic partners.

* UNITED NATIONS Resolution 2222 – XXI (1967): Art. VI. “States shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space ….. The activities of NON-GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space by an INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization.”

** source TNO:

SpaceRef staff editor.