Professor and Associate Dean Mark Sundahl participated in a roundtable discussion on November 3rd regarding the regulation of orbital space activity. The roundtable took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. as part of the University of Nebraska’s Annual Washington, D.C. Space Law Conference. The invitation-only roundtable brought together government, industry, and academic leaders in the field of space law to brainstorm how best to begin to regulate new types of space activity that will soon be taking place in Earth orbit and beyond.
No governmental agency currently has authority to regulate activities such as the operation of private space stations, on-orbit satellite servicing, and asteroid mining. Yet international law requires that the United States government “authorize and continually supervise” the space activity of its nationals. As U.S. companies launch these new ventures, Congress must act in order to comply with its international obligations and ensure that U.S. companies use space in an orderly and beneficial manner.