International Open Letter on Space Mining

The Outer Space Institute
The University of British Columbia

International Open Letter on Space Mining

The Outer Space Institute is pleased to publish the International Open Letter on Space Mining, which stresses the need for a multilateral agreement on the exploration, exploitation, and utilization of space resources and calls on states to present a resolution at the UN General Assembly that urges the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to negotiate a draft of such an agreement. 

(more…)

Letter to Canadian Government on Space Mining

Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

cc. Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources

20 April 2020

Dear Minister Champagne,

Re: US Executive Order on Recovery and Use of Space Resources

On 6 April 2020, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources (“Executive Order”).

(more…)

Canadian Institute Urges United Nations Agreement on Use of Outer Space Resources

Thermal mining of ices on cold solar system bodies (Credit: George Sowers)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In a challenge to the United States’ position that extraterrestrial resources can be legally extracted and utilized under existing law, The Outer Space Institute (OSI) is urging the United Nations to quickly begin work on an international agreement to govern these activities.

“It is our opinion that the speed and scale of developments relating to the exploration, exploitation and utilization of space resources require more affirmative and urgent action,” OSI said in an open letter to UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande sent earlier this month.

(more…)

Moon Village Association Participates for First Time in the UN COPUOS Subcommittee Meeting

VIENNA, Austria (MVA PR) – By the Resolution 74/82 adopted by the General Assembly of the UN on 13 December 2019, at its 47th plenary meeting, the Moon Village Association (MVA) has been granted the observer status with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS).

The 57th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of UN COPUOS, which took place in Vienna on February 3 – 14, 2020, marked the first participation of MVA as an observer to UN COPUOS.

(more…)

Experts Say Much More Required to Avoid Satellite Collisions, Space Debris

Space debris

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Senate and House committees held hearings on consecutive days last week about space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic management (STM), i.e., the ability to accurately track objects in Earth orbit and to avoid dangerous collisions that could knock out satellites and even render entire orbits unusable.

The overall conclusion was that, although progress is being made, we’re not nearly as aware as we need to be as orbital debris poses an ever bigger problem and companies prepare to launch tens of thousands of new satellites.

“Near Earth space is geo-politically contested, it’s commercially contested and it’s in dire need of environmental protection because it is a finite resource,” said Moriba Jah, an associate professor of astronautics at the University of Texas.

(more…)

Report: China Could Follow South China Sea Strategy in Seeking Space Resources

Optical Mining of Asteroids, Moons, and Planets to Enable Sustainable Human Exploration and Space Industrialization (Credits: Joel Sercel)

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.

“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.

(more…)

Building Blocks of a Future Space Economy

Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group meeting. (Credit Luxembourg Space Agency)

THE HAGUE (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — Shortly before the release of their final results, we spoke to three members of the Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group.

This international working group, with representatives from governments, industry, space agencies and academics from around the world, was set up in 2016 with the backing from the Dutch Government. It also received funding from several other private and public entities, including the Luxembourg Government.

(more…)

Global Efforts to Deal with Orbital Debris

JAXA has published this Q&A interview with Michiru Nishida, a Japanese Foreign Affairs official who works on space debris debris issues.

— In light of the fact that the space debris situation is becoming more serious, what international agreements have been made, if any?

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines drafted by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). This is a “soft law” that aims to limit the generation of new space debris. A soft law is not legally binding – member states are left to make efforts on their own initiative. The guidelines specify, among other things, that rockets and satellites should be designed to produce no debris, and that satellites in low Earth orbit should re-enter the atmosphere within 25 years of ending their mission.

(more…)











China, United Nations Sign Cooperation Agreement on Space Station

Artist's conception of China's Tianhe-1 space station. (Credit: China Manned Space Engineering)
Artist’s conception of China’s Tianhe-1 space station. (Credit: China Manned Space Engineering)

VIENNA, 16 June (UN Information Service PR) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) have agreed to work together to develop the space capabilities of United Nations Member States via opportunities on-board China’s future space station.

(more…)











New Zealand Develops Regulatory Regime for Space Launches

New_Zealand_coat_armsAUKLAND, NZ (NZ Government PR) — The Government is putting in place a new regulatory regime to enable safe, secure and responsible space launches from New Zealand, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“New Zealand is rapidly building a more diversified hi-tech economy, and one of the companies at the very leading edge of technology is our own home-grown start-up, Rocket Lab,” Mr Joyce says.

“The company and its parent company, Rocket Lab USA, are almost ready to start launching rockets commercially, and we need to introduce a regulatory framework so they and others that come after them can operate from New Zealand.”

(more…)











UN COPUOS Urges International Network to Track Asteroids

Asteroid Ida
Asteroid Ida

Space News is reporting the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space  (UN COPUOS) is calling for the development of an international network of ground-based telescope to to track potentially dangerous asteroids and other objects.

The NEO study group recommended coordinating investments already made or under way in ground telescopes and the occasional satellite and sending the NEO data to a central clearinghouse, which would then forward them to national space and civil protection agencies as needed. The study group was chaired by Sergio Camacho, secretary general of the Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is based in Mexico….

(more…)