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Air and Space Law

This database covers the multitude of ways humans interact with and explore the earthly skies and distant reaches of outer space. Content in this database is separated into Suborbital Space and Orbital Space.

Documents and Content

While air travel and space exploration share principles of physics, technological advancements, and personnel training, they are ultimately separate spheres with their own unique challenges and concerns. To help users target their research, content in this collection is organized into Suborbital Space and Orbital Space.

Suborbital Space is the term HeinOnline is using to refer to all aviation matters below orbit. Under this categorization, users can find titles dealing with:

  • Transportation Security Administration and airline safety protocols
  • Federal Aviation Administration and Civil Aeronautics Board
  • Airline operations
  • Pilot regulations
  • Air traffic control regulation and technologies
  • Technology breakthroughs, such as in-flight deicing systems, radar systems, and other avionics
  • Drones
  • Helicopters, balloons, and dirigibles

Outer Space refers to all publications dealing with matters above and beyond Earth. Under this categorization, users can find titles dealing with:

  • NASA's organization and operations, including budgetary matters
  • Space Shuttle Program, including the Challenger and Columbia disasters
  • Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes
  • Efforts to go to Mars
  • Satellites, including their launch and uses back on earth
  • Space debris, including how to manage it and who takes responsibility
  • Space stations, including Skylab and the International Space Station
  • International treaties and conventions in space

Interested in a CRS Report on NASA's Artemis Program? Select the Outer Space CRS Reports to see CRS Reports on Artemis and other related outer space matters. Want to find a book or treatise on labor relations in the airline industry? Try Suborbital Space Books.


HeinOnline editors have created 29 new subjects to help users discover the content most relevant to their research. Every title in this collection has been analyzed by HeinOnline editors and assigned one or more subjects based on its subject matter. While some subjects may be unique only to Suborbital Space or to Outer Space, some may cross over and apply to both. Explore these new subjects and their scope below:

Aerospace Technology

Find titles related to the tech that makes planes fly and sends objects into outer space, and how these technological advances trickle down into everyday life. Available titles include:

Air Traffic Control

Air traffic controllers keep fliers safe, help pilots navigate the skies as planes land and take off, and help control goings-on in airspace. These titles offer a sample of the important work they do:


Find information on the different machines that take to the skies and the regulatory hurdles they must clear to do so. Soar above with:

Airlines and Air Transport

This subject deals with matters related to commercial airlines, including their obvious role shuttling commuters and vacationers around the world, but also the ways aircraft pilot our world, from moving cargo, mail, servicing remote communities, and other civil aviation matters.


This subject deals with airports, both generally and specific airports, their funding, security, and operations. Select your destination at:

Airspace Regulation

This topic has to do with how airspace is regulated, how airspace priority and sovereignty is determined, and the challenges in managing airspace in conjunction with new technology and craft (e.g., drones).

Aviation Accidents and Disasters

This topic deals with aviation accidents, collisions, crashes, attacks, and disasters, as well as the agencies charged with investigating and preventing such occurrences. Examples include:

Aviation Regulation

This subject covers the various ways agencies oversee aviation operations, whether it is hot air balloons or the planes of major airlines. Some of these rules include:

Aviation Safety and Security

This subject covers aviation safety and security concerns, including systems and rules put in place to keep fliers safe.


Drones, formally known as an unmanned aerial vehicles, were developed in the mid-20th century for military use, but in the last few years have proliferated in civilian use. Whether for photography, videography, traffic monitoring, agriculture, or just for fun, these mighty little robots come with big regulations.

Environmental Impact of Aviation

Aviation has fundamentally changed how the world works, but it has not been without effects. Whether it is noise pollution, impact on bird migration, air pollution, or the technological search for better fuel, explore these issues and more using this subject.

Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the federal agency responsible for regulating civil aviation in the United States. It is responsible for creating and enforcing regulations on the manufacturing, operation and maintenance of aircraft, for certifying pilots and airports, and for ensuring safe air traffic control. Explore this agency's work with:

International Cooperation in Space

Not one country holds dominance over outer space, just as not one country flies in the skies. Understand how the global community works together to preserve our mutual stake in the ether with:

International Regulation of Flight

Not one country flies in the skies, just as not one country holds dominance over outer space. Understand how the global community works together to preserve our mutual stake in the ether with:

Military Aviation

Airplanes, missiles, and drones form an important part of the nation's defense forces, often intersecting with civil aviation. Find out how, and also the unique challenges of military aviation with:

Military in Space

While we often think of NASA and astronauts in space, the military plays a vital role in outer space activities, from launching satellites, to technology development, to the missions and activities of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force.


The National Aeronautics Space Agency is the federal agency responsible for the civilian space program and for conducting aeronautics and space research. Its research studies Earth, the solar system, and beyond, and the technologies it develops take humans beyond the stars and also benefit life back on Earth. Explore its work with:

Pilots, Astronauts, and Aerospace Workforce

The men and women who fly planes, pilot balloons, and journey into space, as well as those who serve passengers and work on the ground, are vital components to the aviation and aeronautics industry. Learn how they all intersect with:

Pioneers in Flight

Learn about the visionaries and dreamers who helped realize the reality of human flight with:

Pioneers in Space

Learn about the visionaries and dreamers who helped humankind walk among the stars with:

Race to the Moon

The race to see who would first land a man on the moon launched the Space Age. Travel back in time with:


Since their first launch in 1957, satellites have fundamentally changed modern life. They are used for GPS navigation, for weather forecasting, for planetary exploration and military applications, and provide us with television, radio, internet, and telephone signals. Learn about their essential roles with:

Space and National Security

Securing outer space has implications both for domestic national security and for the safety of the global community. Learn about the various unseen challenges in the skies above with:

Space Commercialization

Commercial entities have long complimented government space programs. In recent years, companies such as SpaceX aim to take the paying public into space. Explore these future possibilities with:

Space Exploration

While astronauts and the Apollo 11 program receive all the glory in the story of space, in reality space missions go far beyond the moon. Whether it is the detailed images from Hubble, Cassini probes to Saturn, or rovers rumbling along on Mars, this topic covers other space exploration programs, their findings, and their successors.

Space Shuttle Program

The Space Shuttle Program was NASA's fourth human spaceflight program. In its 30 year history, the shuttle program made routine Earth-to-orbit journeys in reusable spacecraft vehicles who became indelible in the public's imagination and association with NASA. Learn more about the triumphs and tragedies of the program with:

Space Station

Space stations, primarily the currently operating International Space Station, allow for a continuous human presence in space. While the ISS is currently the only space station in orbit, it is not the first. The ISS and its predecessors are laboratories for experiments, observation stations, and provide a staging base for other space missions. Learn more about their purpose and the fascinating lives lived by astronauts who call the Station home with:

Spaceflight Accidents and Disasters

This subject explores spaceflight accidents, collisions, crashes, losses, and disasters, including:

Transportation Security Administration

Created after 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is charged with protecting the nation's transportation systems, but travelers are most familiar with agency through its work at airports screening passengers and its regulations on air travel. Explore the agency's work with:


Browse hundreds of books ranging in date from the early 1900s to present day. Find accounts of the Wright Brothers' flights, stories of Russian cosmonauts, treatises on aerial warfare, monographs on the business aspects of aviation, and more.

Some titles you may want to check out include:

View of books available


Committee Prints and Congressional Hearings

The deliberations of Congress provide insight both into issues requiring federal attention and their proposed solutions. Committee prints provide "background" information on the topics handled by different congressional committees. Information included in these prints include legislative or research activities, as well as other matters such as memorial tributes. They are an excellent resource for statistical and historical information, and for legislative analysis.

A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest. Most hearings are published two months to two years after they are held. This material provides a transcript of the proceedings for the general public.

Some Committee Prints of Note:
Some Congressional Hearings of Note:


CRS and GAO Reports

Find thousands of reports on a diverse range of topics, including FAA spending, TSA screening procedures, NASA research activities, satellite television and more, authored by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

What are these agencies?

  • The Congressional Research Service is a public policy research institute of the U.S. Congress
    • Its job is to help Congress form sound policies based on analysis and research
    • Access CRS Reports on topics other than air and space by navigating to HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents database and selecting the CRS Reports subcollection
  • The General Accountability Office is a legislative branch agency
    • It provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the U.S. Congress
    • Staff produce reports and written correspondence, testimonies and statements for the record, briefings for congressional staff members, and more
    • Access GAO Reports on topics other than air and space through HeinOnline's dedicated GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions database
Some reports of note:

Location of available committee prints, hearings, and reports

CFR and U.S. Code

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the U.S. Code represent the current statutory positions of the federal government. Published annually, the CFR is divided into 50 titles (aka topics, subjects, etc.) that are the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. The U.S. Code, divided into 53 titles, is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States. Main editions of the U.S. Code are published every six years, with supplements published annually. Unlike the CFR, the U.S. Code does not include regulations issued by executive branch agencies.

Extracted within this database are the following relevant titles:

CFR Title 14: Aeronautics and Space

US Code Title 51: National and Commercial Space Programs


Legislative Histories

Legislative histories present the journey of a bill as it becomes a law, with all its changes, additions, deletions and various legislative hurdles.

Some legislative histories of note included in this database are:

Available legislative histories


Browse serials and periodicals dedicated to aviation and space matters, including:

Scholarly Articles

Access hundreds of articles* selected by HeinOnline editors on the Warsaw Convention, agreements in outer space, drones, warfare in space, aviation security in a post-9/11 world, space tourism, airline disasters, and more. Sort articles by Title, Author, Most-Cited, or Year, or search the list by Title or Author.

Scholarly Articles page

*In order to access the scholarly article links, you must be subscribed to the appropriate HeinOnline collection(s).