27 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016 Last revised: 9 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 19, 2016
The 2015 SPACE Act aims to promote wealth creation by guaranteeing protection of US citizens’ property rights to celestial resources. But there are serious concerns that government protection of space property claims are incompatible with international law. I propose a purely private legal system for space commerce as an alternative to government-defined and enforced property rights. Economic theory shows how property rights and rules for adjudicating disputes can be self-enforcing. Economic history shows that such a system has worked well for centuries in international trade. A private legal commercial order for space is thus both feasible and desirable.
Keywords: Law merchant, Outer Space Treaty, private law, sovereignty, SPACE Act, space commerce, space law
JEL Classification: D23, H10, K11, K33, P14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Salter, Alexander William, Ordering the Cosmos: Private Law and Celestial Property Rights (September 19, 2016). Journal of Air Law and Commerce 82(2) 2017: 311-332. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2840856