International space-commerce is booming. Presently, a series of international treaties proscribe the United States from "appropriating" space. However, as future technologies enable more commercial uses for space, what is the status of present United States legislation governing space-commerce and how might such legislation conflict with existent United States treaty obligations? In answering this question, this Note argues that although there is an argument that space-commerce conducted within the United States might violate the spirit of international treaty obligations, it is unlikely that such tension rises to the level of an express conflict that would illegitimate current domestic space-commerce legislation.
Still, even if current United States treaty obligations do not conflict with domestic space-commerce legislation, adhering to present treaty responsibilities may not be desirable for future space-commerce activities. Prospective types of space-commerce may require more robust protections than the "non-appropriation" principle allows for. This Note argues that treaty withdrawal may provide the most robust opportunities for expanding future United States space commerce and concludes by examining how the executive may extricate the United States from its treaty obligations.
Nikhil D. Cooper,
Circumventing Non-Appropriation: Law and Development of United States Space Commerce,
36 Hastings Const. L.Q. 457
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_constitutional_law_quaterly/vol36/iss3/3