Space scholarship recipient wins prize at International competition

Jul 14, 2020, 17:32 PM

South Australian Space Scholarship recipient Scott Schneider recently received an award at one of the world’s most prestigious space law competitions.

The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, hosted by the International Institute of Space Law, sees teams from universities around the world take on a hypothetical case of space law in a fictional court simulation.

The matter presented for the 2020 competition centred on human spaceflight, with a scenario about the operation and legal framework of the International Space Station. Participants explored issues around challenging authority, unauthorised use of space objects and the death of an astronaut.

Scott was selected, along with two of his colleagues, to represent the Leiden University team in the European round of the competition, and received the Best Memorials Award for submitting the best written case. Overall, Scott’s team placed second for the round.

Scott said while the preparation for the competition was intense, he was happy that the outcome reflects the effort invested.

“My contribution was largely centred upon exploring and preparing arguments on how extradition is governed for such alleged acts occurring on board the International Space Station,” Scott said.

“I had previously assisted the judging of the Asia-Pacific rounds when the University of Adelaide hosted the regional finals in 2018. While this gave me some familiarity with the competition, being a competitor this year afforded me a much greater understanding of the legal and practical issues the competition sets out to address.”

Scott says he was glad to be responsible for presenting arguments in relation to extradition during the competition, as it was his first exposure to international criminal law. 

“I now have a much greater level of understanding on the legal framework of the International Space Station and on the responsibilities and rights between the commander, crew members and the partner states,” he said.

“As for the experience in general, I am grateful for my teammates’ enthusiasm and commitment, as well as for the support we had from the university, our coach and the guest judges who gave their time during our practice rounds.”

Scott received $20,000 from the South Australian Government through the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) Space Scholarship Program, which allowed him to begin his specialist training for an Advanced Master of Laws under the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Scott currently works with Adelaide-based launch company Southern Launch, assisting the team in conducting Australia’s first privately-operated space launch.

SASIC Chief Executive Richard Price says it is fantastic that young South Australians are once again experiencing success internationally and returning to our space industry through the scholarships program.

“We are excited to be helping our next generation of space leaders explore the broad spectrum of the space industry internationally,” he said.

“As a testament to the emerging talent in South Australia’s space industry, each round of scholarships is uncovering a greater number of high-quality applications.”

“The Space Innovation Fund continues to provide promising leaders in this industry with enriching overseas experiences that fuel passion and build their expertise to forge meaningful careers in South Australia’s space sector.”

The Space Scholarship Program provides up to $100,000 worth of scholarships to South Australian entrepreneurs and innovators each year.

Applications for the 2020 round of scholarships are now open. For information or to apply, visit https://www.sasic.sa.gov.au/industry-and-grants/space-scholarships