Properly Speaking, the United States Does Have an International Obligation to Authorize and Supervise Commercial Space Activity
The Air Force Law Review, Volume 78 (2018)
25 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 9, 2018
This article is a rejoinder to testimony Laura Montgomery provided to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Space, provided in March 2017 on the topic of U.S. international obligations in light of near-future commercial outer space activities. Montgomery, the former general counsel for the FAA, recommended that Congress not regulate new commercial space activities on the basis of any perceived legal obligation under Article VI of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Were Congress to misunderstand any of these positions, she warned, it may feel compelled to regulate space activities unnecessarily, thereby creating needless drag on burgeoning commercial space industries. In fact, the U.S. does have an international obligation under Article VI to authorize and continually supervise commercial outer space activities. As this article demonstrates, none of Montgomery’s arguments withstands scrutiny, and Congress is not well-served by her advice.
Keywords: commercial space activity, regulation, authorize, supervise, Article VI, state responsibility, outer space
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