Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.
“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.
LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — Today, at the margins of the New Space Europe Conference, Ms. Paulette Lenert, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and Ms. Simonetta di Pippo, Director of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a funding agreement to support UNOOSA’s new “Space Law for New Space Actors” project.
The “Space Law for New Space Actors” project will offer UN Member States tailored capacity building to facilitate their drafting of national space legislation and/or national space policies in line with international space law, promoting the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Such capacity building will support in particular new and emerging space-faring nations to conduct space activities in a responsible and sustainable manner.
CLEVELAND (CSU PR) — The rapid growth of the private space industry has increased the demand for lawyers trained in the complex international and domestic aspects of space law and policy. Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is at the cutting edge of this growing field and is expanding its space policy initiatives through the creation of the Global Space Law Center. It is the first law school research center in the United States dedicated exclusively to the study of the law of outer space.
The Center will seek to train the next generation of space lawyers, to promote the development of laws and policies that promote the peaceful use of outer space, and to facilitate the growth of the commercial space industry.
Video Caption: A 1967 United Nations treaty states that outer space isn’t up for grabs.This hasn’t stopped at least one entrepreneur from selling land on our closest celestial neighbors. Scientific American editor Clara Moskowitz explains.
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Marcia Smith reports that Congress is back at work after the election and is actually doing something constructive:
The House passed H.R. 6586 today, extending for two years the government’s authority to indemnify launch services companies from third party claims for certain amounts of money resulting from launch vehicle accidents.
The current authority expires on December 31, 2012. The bill was not controversial. Only five Members — four Republicans and one Democrat — were on the House floor to speak about the bill. All supported it. The main theme was that the U.S. launch services industry needs a level playing field in order to successfully compete with other countries that indemnify their companies.
Under current law, launch services companies must purchase insurance to cover the Maximum Probable Loss as calculated by the Federal Aviation Administration to cover claims from the general public in case they or their property are damaged by a launch failure. The government covers claims between $500 million and $2.7 billion. The company must cover claims above that.
Space-Law Pioneer Eilene Galloway Dead at 102 Aviation Week
Eilene Marie Galloway, who helped draft the legislation that created NASA and went on to become an internationally recognized expert in space law and policy, died May 2 of cancer. She was 102.
After the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas), who chaired the Armed Services preparedness subcommittee, turned to Galloway in her role as a national defense analyst at the Library of Congress, for help in setting up hearings on U.S. preparedness in space. Those hearings led to creation of the Senate Special Committee on Space and Astronautics. Johnson later became President, shepherding much of the U.S. build-up.
Science fiction writer Ben Bova has a commentary in the Naples Daily News in which he calls for an overhaul of existing space law in order to encourage private ownership of extraterrestrial resources. He blames outdated laws for blocking space settlement, including that 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
The Boston Globe has an interesting interview with Rosanna Sattler, the new chairwoman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Space Enteprise Council. Sattler, who heads the space law practice at the Boston firm Posternak Blankstein & Lund, discusses the complexities of the legal regime for space, including space diving and Virgin Galactic’s suborbital tourism plans.