Congressman proposes new legislation to better regulate commercial space

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We’re here to help you! In an effort to guarantee that the United States remains compliant with the UN Outer Space Treaty when its private citizens begin flying commercial operations in space, Congressman Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) is proposing new legislation that would better supervise and regulate the emerging commercial space industry.

Bridenstine explained that his top concern is that a U.S. company will proceed with a plan to put a spacecraft on the Moon or conduct on-orbit servicing or some other new type of activity only to have a “near-peer” country like Russia or China complain at the last minute that the United States is violating the OST. That would put the United States “in a difficult position,” he argues. Therefore he sees the need for “airtight” legislation that sets up a process by which the government authorizes and supervises these private companies. Once a company has gone through the process, the United States can unequivocally demonstrate to the international community that it has, in fact, complied with the treaty.

The Obama Administration has been open to working with these new companies, but he wonders if that will remain true over the long term future. He insisted that Congress “needs to exert its authority and power so that whatever administration comes next or is in place 50 years from now, the process exists” and is not subject to a new administration’s “whims.” He also worried that without a legislative solution, it could become a matter of “executive branch regulation by default.” That opens the possibility of some agency saying no, with no recourse for the private sector.

Read the whole report at the link. If you believe in freedom, competition, and private enterprise, it will chill your bones. At no time does anyone suggest that maybe the United States should simply get out of the Outer Space Treaty, as we are legally allowed to do according to the treaty’s own language. The treaty itself is a very bad law, as it makes it impossible for any private citizen or company in space to be protected under U.S. law, leaving everything instead in the control of United Nations bureaucrats and the polyglot of nations, many quite tyrannical, that dictate UN policy. Bridenstine’s proposals will only make this situation worse, as it will not only keep all control in the hands of the UN, but it will saddle American citizens with further regulations imposed by our own government.


  • ken anthony

    It is such BS that they can write these laws, then point to them as if they were foundational. It’s insane.

    The solution is to ignore them, move forward, then oppose them with the reality that comes from ignoring them.

    All land ownership is proved by chain of title. All chain of title begins with a claim by possession. If every colonist going to any planet supports this position it doesn’t mater what laws are written to prevent that ownership. That ownership can completely finance colonization making all sorts of other marginal financial means practical. It’s time to stop buying the BS they’re selling. Non-ownership for the benefit of all mankind is not just BS, it’s the most evil form.

    Most understand that money is what stops us from colonization, not any other issue. The money issue is a non issue if we simply allow speculators to do what they will if offered the chance. It’s completely a mind set issue.

  • ken anthony

    To put it even more simply, as the economist Thomas Sowell points out, regulation is ownership. They have no right unless we hand it to them.

  • Wayne

    ken anthony–

    Good stuff. (nay.. “Great Stuff!”)

    I was wondering when they would get around to full-blown “regulating” of space. (It’s for our own good, of course. isn’t it always? it’s for the children… don’t-cha-know.)

    –This is what happens when “progressives” rewrite the Commerce Clause.

    I can see the NY Time’s headline,
    “Unregulated Space; woman, minorities, the poor, and Muslims, hit hardest.”

  • Gealon

    Heh, they can write all the silly “law” they want, but if I do one day get my own space ship, all those “laws” will be meaningless because they will have no way to enforce them. Space is the new wild west and lawmen will be few and far between if existent at all. If I park next to an asteroid and want to claim it for my own, no one can stop me. If I clamp my ship to it and shift it’s orbit, no one can stop me. The only way someone could, would be to have a ship of their own and a gun, and then it comes down to who has the longer range gun. All the paper in the world won’t mean a single thing when the long arm of the government can reach past low Earth orbit.

  • Gealon

    Correction: Can’t reach past low Earth orbit.

    There really needs to be an edit function. Or I need to proof read more then once.

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