The Artemis Accords and Space Debris are two hot topics in space news. Both have had recent significant developments. The iSpace lunar lander is orbiting the Moon in preparation for a landing this week. Once it lands, and scoops up regolith, the title to the regolith will be transferred to NASA. This will be the first commercial, as opposed to purely governmental, transaction that takes place on the Moon. This transfer of title will be done under the auspices of the Artemis Accords. As to space debris, the Federal Communications Commission took the bold, and much-needed, move in September 2022, to dramatically shorten the duration that defunct satellites can remain in commercial orbits. Now, once a satellite goes non-operational, it must be de-orbited or placed in a graveyard orbit within five (5) years, shortening the duration from twenty-five (25) years. The US has taken the lead on this.
Both of these issues are informed by international space law and national space law. International space law was birthed out of the Cold War, and we’ll look at the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty which impact our space activities today. The right to own assets recovered from the Moon and other celestial bodies is set forth in the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015. So, we’ll touch on both international and national space laws and how they impact our return to the Moon under Artemis and the issue of space debris which is ever-increasing with the remarkable growth in the commercial satellite market.
Before attending law school at the University of Virginia, I obtained a BSAE and MSE degree from the University of Alabama. I now teach Space Law as an adjunct in the UA College of Engineering and Law School. I also serve as chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the UA AEM Department. More importantly, my mother was an Auburn graduate in 1948. I’m bringing a copy of her Glomerata from 1946, as well as her Auburn beanie cap. You’ll want to attend to see this as much to hear my talk. Shug Jordan was an assistant coach that year, and Toomer’s Drugs was a sponsor of the yearbook.
I’m excited to be asked to speak at my mother’s alma mater. She would be excited as well.