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  FAA: Regulating U.S. land claims on the moon

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Author Topic:   FAA: Regulating U.S. land claims on the moon
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31522
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-03-2015 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to documents obtained by Reuters, U.S. companies can stake claims to lunar territory through an existing licensing process for space launches.
The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late-December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to "leverage the FAA's existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis."

In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory — as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities...

"We didn't give (Bigelow Aerospace) a license to land on the moon. We're talking about a payload review that would potentially be part of a future launch license request. But it served a purpose of documenting a serious proposal for a U.S. company to engage in this activity that has high-level policy implications," said the FAA letter's author, George Nield, associate administrator for the FAA's Office of Commercial Transportation.

"We recognize the private sector's need to protect its assets and personnel on the moon or on other celestial bodies," the FAA wrote in the December letter to Bigelow Aerospace. The company, based in Nevada, is developing the inflatable space habitats. Bigelow requested the policy statement from the FAA, which oversees commercial space transportation in the U.S.

The letter was coordinated with U.S. departments of State, Defense, Commerce, as well as NASA and other agencies involved in space operations.

Lasv3
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Posts: 289
From: Bratislava, Slovakia
Registered: Apr 2009

posted 02-03-2015 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am no expert in international law and I do not know whether the FAA as a national body can or cannot grant a territory license for the part of any celestial body to a private company.

What worries me even more is a vague definition "as well as related areas ... and other activities." If this is really the exact wording then the US national body gives the license for unlimited areas on the Moon to a private company(ies) for any activities, which I find to be very strange and dangerous.

This will definitely need some kind of regulation based on international law, which may already exist, I don't know.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31522
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-03-2015 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The FAA only has jurisdiction over U.S. entities, so what this seems to amount to is setting up a regulatory structure for U.S. companies looking to land on the moon.

If, for example, Bigelow wants to invest in setting up shop on the lunar surface, the FAA would oversee that other U.S. companies do not interfere by landing their own craft in the vicinity of Bigelow's operations.

The FAA is not granting Bigelow land rights to the lunar surface, only protecting their interests from other U.S. companies. Property rights and protection from other countries' companies (and governments) will require international treaties.

Lasv3
Member

Posts: 289
From: Bratislava, Slovakia
Registered: Apr 2009

posted 02-03-2015 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the explanation Robert, it's more clear to me now. Anyway, The Moon Lawyer seems to be a very good job in the decades to come.

All times are CT (US)

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