Legal Property Rights in Space: Implications for the U.S. Space Force and the Outer Space Treaty
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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As access to space proliferates and launch costs reduce, competition in the space domain experiences a corresponding increase. Current U.S. policy, such as the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, supports the commercialization of space and legal space property rights as described by the National Space Society Milestone Seven. In order to secure the best possible outcome, as described by the 2019 Space Futures Working Group, the U.S. must embrace a whole of government effort to promote domestic investment in the space industry, retain international leadership and set international norms in space. As space industry becomes more profitable, the Space Force mission to protect U.S. space interests will grow to potentially include manned defense missions, kinetic and non-kinetic operations and furthering the scientific understanding of the space domain. Current international agreements, such as the Outer Space Treaty, must be revised to reflect the new geopolitical situation the globe experiences today. Issues such as legal property rights and sovereignty over celestial bodies, extraplanetary self-determination and the 1968 Rescue Agreement should be re-addressed to reflect an increasingly competitive and accessible space environment.
- Sociology and Law