Monday, December 28, 2015

New U.S. Asteroid Mining Law May Comply w/ Outer Space Treaty of 1967


Artist conception of asteroid mining.
(Image Sources: Wikipedia.org , "Asteroidmining" by NASA - http://www.thespacereview.com/archive/90a.jpg another version existion on the nasa.gov web. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Asteroidmining.jpg#/media/File:Asteroidmining.jpg )

By Marcia S. Smith, SpacePolicyOnLine.com

The Board of Directors of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) has issued a position paper concluding that a new U.S. law that grants property rights to resources mined from asteroids or other space objects by U.S. companies does not violate the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.  The United States is a signatory to that treaty and whether or not the law complies with the treaty is matter of some debate in space law circles.

The law's provision applies to extraction and use of resources from space objects generally, but is commonly referred to as asteroid mining because two U.S. companies are proposing to do that.  It is part of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act that was signed into law by President Obama on November 25.  While the law affects a variety of commercial space activities, the space resource mining provision is receiving the most attention.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST) was negotiated long before the technical feasibility of mining asteroids existed.  Some question today whether it is technically or economically feasible, but two U.S. companies, Planetary Resources Inc. and Deep Space Industries, are promoting the idea.   Planetary Resources is widely credited with getting the legal issues on the table and convincing Congress to include the provision in the law and the President to sign it.  The argument is that while it may be many years before anyone actually mines resources from asteroids, investors are needed now and they want clarity before putting their money into such ventures.

More - Link >>> http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/international-institute-of-space-law-ok-with-u-s-asteroid-mining-law

Source: SpacePolicyOnLine.com .
              2015 December 28.

More on the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act ---
Link 1 >>> http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/president-signs-fy2016-ndaa-commercial-space-bills-into-law
Link 2 >>> https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2262

SPACE Act of 2015: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPACE_Act_of_2015

More on the Outer Space Treaty of 1967:
Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty

More on Asteroid Mining: Link >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_mining

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