Abstract: Public and Private cooperation to enable commercial mining of celestial bodies.
The European Space sector is strong, competitive and plays a key role in developing high- value capital goods for the benefit of all mankind. According to the last report published in January 2019 by the European Investment Bank (EIB), in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission, the international space economy reached EUR 309 billion in 2019, has grown on average by 6,7% p.between 2005 and 2017. With a value estimated at EUR 48 -54 billion in 2016, the European Space Industry represents around 21% of the value of the global space sector, employing more than 230.000 people across Europe.
Current EU space economy delivers services that benefit millions of people. Aerospace technologies and telecommunications data is used in many areas, such as emergency services, aviation, agriculture, internet of the things, monitoring oil spills and responding to natural disasters. The New Space Economy and especially commercial mining of outer space resources could boost the economic and social revitalization of Europe.
The sustainable use of space resources is key to become a multiplanetary specie. However, there are legal challenges that must be solved before the permanent establishment of the Moon Village and possible further mining facilities in the Outer Space. Under the rule of 1967 Outer Space Treaty, all celestial bodies are “global commons” legally accessible to all countries. At that time mining asteroids for commercial purposes was purely science fiction. However, in the current world, we are seeing that it does not truly matter whether the source of an idea is science or fiction. Commercial mining activities will be scientifically, technically and economically feasible in the next decade. For this reason, mankind must be addressed proper interpretation of Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Treaty through an Implementation Agreement or a “New Space Agreement” to promote a common planetary vision for the sustainable use of outer space resources.
In this context, cooperation among International Institutions and the private sector is key to facilitate further bootprints on other celestial bodies. On 21st January 2019, a European innovative consortium formed by ArianeGroup, PTScientists and Space Applications Services signed a joint agreement with the European Space Agency to study and prepare for a mission to go to the Moon with the aim of mining regolith.
My ten minutes presentation will address the current legal trends between public and private cooperation, that will enable castles build of moondust for further exploration and exploitation purposes of lunar resources, benefiting mankind and future moonkind.