Mine, mine, mine!

On the new US space resource policy and attitude towards outer space

In an impressive display of questionable timing and priorities, the US President may just have rung in the first round of a new space age. While “non-viral” news currently fly under the radar, the legal and policy implications of the newest ‘Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources’, quite literally, go above and beyond. In response to a recent post on the subject …


Current Developments

Legitimation through executive order?

The issue of space resources in international law

Resource extraction from and mining of celestial bodies such as the Moon or asteroids has matured from a fantastical idea of science fiction to a contentious issue of international law. It is characterized by a tension of  international treaties, such as the Outer Space Treaty (OST) of 1967 and unilateral national initiatives. The US arguably broke the mold of theoretical discourse with its Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 …


Current Developments

Saber-rattling in space

How international law does (not) regulate States’ plans for Space Forces

Does international law entitle states to have military space forces? Recent efforts by several states as well as NATO to strengthen their military space capabilities re-ignite this debate. The issue is not unregulated; international space law in particular is not silent on this issue. But the limits are not as strict as one might think. Renewed military interest in space At its 70th anniversary summit in London in December 2019, …


BofaxeCurrent Developments

Keeping it clean (part II)

On the protection of outer space as part of the environment

This Bofax is the second part of a two-part series – inspired by India successfully testing an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against an Indian satellite and thereby causing space debris – that deals with selected issues revolving around the use of ASAT missiles against satellites of other states. When space objects such as satellites are destroyed, a cloud of particles of different sizes, known as space debris, remains. This debris can …