In Space, No One Can Hear You Litigate
Governing space-related endeavors is one of the newest fields of law. During the Cold War, humans made their first real foray into outer space, or what is sometimes referred to as the Final Frontier. Much like the United States when it was still not fully settled by European colonizers, the Final Frontier is fairly lawless and ungoverned. Ten years after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into space, the first legal instrument ever created concerning outer space was introduced – the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967. This treaty made installing weapons assembly of mass destruction in space illegal, kept outer space and its objects free from claims of sovereignty, and made every nation liable for their own space activities. However, as private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Orbital Sciences Corporation continue to work towards and develop technologies for commercial space transport and eventual colonization, the need for space law encroaches with ever greater urgency.
One of the most renowned space law experts, Joanne Gabrynowicz (who advises on three Federal Aviation Agency committees), recently told SpaceNews that the field is increasingly integrating with existing law. Space law is becoming more relevant and ingrained within the concerns of human civilization. According to the Wall Street Journal, commercial space business has “matured to the point that they require legal services.” Some notable events concerning space law have occurred in recent months. In September of 2014, a congressional hearing was held by the US House Space Subcommittee on the ASTEROIDS Act (H.R. 5063), a controversial bill allowing property rights to companies who seek to mine asteroid belts.
In February 2015, Reuters obtained documents in which the Federal Aviation Administration
wrote to Bigelow Aerospace that they would be free from governmental interference and encouraged the company to continue their projects for inflatable habitats on the moon, stating they their property and technology would receive legal protection on the moon, relatively free from governmental interference. Via our proprietary website ASAP AOG
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Posted on April 9, 2015