Rethinking Space Law

In this week's issue of The Space Review, attorney Michael J. Listner writes that it's time to rethink international space law, particularly the Outer Space Treaty's "noble" but "restrictive and suffocating" doctrine of res communis -- the concept that space belongs to mankind.

This is not news; most space lawyers and entrepreneurs have long recognized the treaty's impediment to space business. And, as Listner points out, on the security front, the treaty did not contemplate a world in which global socio-political reality and technological advances make protecting space assets an ever-growing necessity and challenge.

Rather than advocating U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, or agreeing with those who have suggested working toward amending it, Listner calls for reshaping of U.S. domestic space policy "to lay the foundation for the new era in international space law." Sounds like the beginning of a plan.

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