Satellite Argument in 2011
United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): Accordingly, the satellite is not presently being “used for a commercial activity in the United States” because it is being tested and prepared for launch by NASA. And once the satellite is launched and is operating as a functioning satellite, it will not be “used for a commercial activity in the United States,” because it will be in orbit, outside the United States. Plaintiff thus cannot show that the satellite falls within the FSIA’s exception from immunity.
More about Argument
II. Enjoining the Launch of Aquarius/SAC-D Will Severely Disserve the Public Interest Even if the Court determines that the Aquarius/SAC-D is subject to attachment, in considering whether to grant Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief, the court must also “consider whether the public interest favors issuance of the injunction.” Voter Registration Educ. Project v. Shelley, 344 F.3d 914, 917 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc). See also Winter, 129 S. Ct. at 374 (“A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish . . . that an injunction is in the public interest.”).
In its application, Plaintiff pays little attention to the public interest, arguing only that the public has an interest in facilitating the enforcement of judgments. In its reply, Plaintiff makes the remarkable assertion that “[t]he relief sought will have no effect on the satellite mission other than to impose a lien on Argentina’s interest in it.” Plaintiff’s statement betrays a complete misunderstanding of the property at issue in this case. Seeking an injunction only weeks before the satellite’s launch, Plaintiff ignores the direct and concrete harms that will result to NASA and the United States, against whom Plaintiff has no legal grievance. The Aquarius instrument cannot fly without the SAC-D spacecraft, and removal of the spacecraft itself would thus have a remarkably detrimental impact on parties beyond Argentina. The United States and its other foreign space partners simply should not be made to pay on account of a dispute between Plaintiff and Defendanta dispute wholly unrelated to the Aquarius/SAC-D satellite and mission. The public interest would be severely disserved by an order enjoining the launch of the Aquarius-SAC/D.
Congress has recognized that the public interest is served by missions such as the Aquarius/SAC-D. See 11A Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2948.4 (2d ed.) (“The public interest may be declared in the form of a statute.”) (quoted in Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1140 (9th Cir. 2009)). Congress has declared “that the general welfare and security of the United States require that adequate provision be made for aeronautical and space activities.” 42 U.S.C. § 2451(b) (2005). Moreover, it is the policy of the United States to undertake aeronautical and space activities to contribute to “[t]he expansion of human knowledge of the Earth,” id. § 2451(d)(1), and to engage in “[c]ooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations” in pursuit of that goal, id. § 2451(d)(7).
Despite Plaintiff’s unsupportable assertion that a temporary restraining order “will have no effect on the satellite mission other than to impose a lien on Argentina’s interest in it,” the fact is that NASA could not substitute for the satellite bus just weeks before launch. Custom-designed and manufactured for the specifications of this mission, the Aquarius/SAC-D “has now been fully assembled, and removal of any of the instruments (including Aquarius) could significantly (and potentially permanently) damage the observatory.” Even replacing a relatively minor instrument at this stage would invalidate the extensive testing performed thus far. Of course, losing the spacecraft busthe infrastructure of the satellite itselfwould have far more significant consequences.
Finally, an injunction also could have consequences for the treatment of the United States abroad under principles of reciprocity. This is particularly so in the context of the attachment and execution of property because, as discussed above, “some foreign states base their sovereign immunity decisions on reciprocity.” See Persinger v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 729 F.2d 835, 841 (D.C. Cir. 1984). NASA also contributes to missions based in foreign nations, and has a substantial interest in ensuring that those missions can go forward under similar circumstances. A U.S. court’s decision to enjoin the launch at this stage could encourage foreign courts to issue similar orders against United States interests abroad.
The severe consequences that an injunction would have for NASA and the United States strongly militate against this Court’s enjoining the launch of the Aquarius/SAC-D.
Embracing mainstream international law, this section on satellite explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.
- Foreign Sovereign Immunities
- Exceptions To Immunity
- Commercial Activity
- The entry “satellite” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press
Hierarchical Display of Satellite
Transport > Air and space transport > Space transport > Space vehicle
Education And Communications > Communications > Communications systems > Telecommunications > Satellite communications
Education And Communications > Information technology and data processing > Data processing > Data collection > Remote sensing
Industry > Mechanical engineering > Mechanical engineering > Aerospace industry
Concept of Satellite
See the dictionary definition of Satellite.
Characteristics of Satellite
Translation of Satellite
- Spanish: Satélite
- French: Satellite
- German: Satellit
- Italian: Satellite
- Portuguese: Satélite
- Polish: Satelita
Thesaurus of Satellite
Transport > Air and space transport > Space transport > Space vehicle > Satellite
Education And Communications > Communications > Communications systems > Telecommunications > Satellite communications > Satellite
Education And Communications > Information technology and data processing > Data processing > Data collection > Remote sensing > Satellite
Industry > Mechanical engineering > Mechanical engineering > Aerospace industry > Satellite
- Artificial satellite
- Man-made satellite