Google in Space? How will space governance accommodate non-state actors?

Professor Melissa de Zwart, RUMLAE, Adelaide Law School
Google in Space? How will space governance
accommodate non-state actors?
University of Adelaide
University of Adelaide
• Growing importance of commercial/ non-state actors to
• Growth in influence of large multinational and
transnational corporations
• Globalisation results in emergence of power of MNCs
beyond the nation-state
• Potential role of MNCs in governance of space domain
remains unclear
• Economics of profit and return on investment replacing
government funded science
University of Adelaide
Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness
Act 2015
• ‘facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing
commercial space industry by encouraging private sector
investment and creating more stable and predictable
regulatory conditions’
University of Adelaide
A United States citizen engaged in commercial recovery of
an asteroid resource or a space resource under this
chapter shall be entitled to any asteroid resources or
space resource obtained, including to possess, own,
transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space
resource obtained in accordance with applicable law,
including the international obligations of the United
• It is the sense of Congress that by the enactment of this
Act, the United States does not thereby assert
sovereignty or sovereign or exclusive rights or
jurisdiction over, or the ownership of, any celestial body.
University of Adelaide
• Requirement under OST for authorisation and continuing
supervisions, Liability Convention requires state liability
extend to launches from that state’s territory
• Corporation may be large enough to set its own foreign policy:
a self-regulating entity?
• Obligations owed to shareholders rather than host
• Need to secure the exclusive possession of property: use of
• Vital to include a consideration of standards where non-state
players become vital to space security
• Rights and responsibilities
University of Adelaide
• Question regarding the role and responsibilities of MNC
under current international law
• Regulatory void into which the MNC may insert itself?
• Consistent application of rules and standards
University of Adelaide