Regulation of Safety of Space Mining and Its Implications for Space Safety
Proceedings of the 8th IAASS Conference Session 06: Regulations and Standards - I, 2016
7 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019
Date Written: 2016
We may soon have operational systems for robotic repair and refueling of satellites, solar power satellites, as well as increasingly sophisticated satellites for various types of defense and security operations. But something entirely new is also now on the horizon for space applications and instead of operation in Earth orbits these systems may seek to operate in deep space. The next major commercial space application may redefine the future of space activities to include major off world activities. This new activity would constitute a serious attempt to reclaim natural resources from space, or quite simply, to engage in space mining. In 2015, a new U.S. legislation has sought to define the process whereby space mining might be undertaken. This initiative at the national regulatory level to cover future space-based mining operations as well as possible space-based processing and manufacturing have now started to come forward as one possible means to cope with the “regulatory gap” that has now started to become apparent. However, national space mining operations must also be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the currently applicable UN space treaties.
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