The Space Act has been approved by U.S. Congress on November 16th, laying the path for private companies to mine asteroids and appropriate all resources thus gained.
That is not the only provision of the Space Act, yet is is a rather controversial one, with top lawyers arguing whether or not private companies or states for that matter have the right to own natural resources from space according to international law. Yet, it is not a novelty and this provision has been long in the making.
Many argue that the Space Act is a bold statement from the United States and one that set private spaceflight finally free from the heavy regulation of the U.S. government. Following a period of learning as it has been dubbed when private companies have tested their ambitious plans without lawsuits getting in the way, the final confirmation is here.
The Space Act has been approved by U.S. Congress and with it, a new commitment to the future of the International Space Station has been brought under the spotlight. Finally, NASA is receiving the needed funding that will free the agency, the U.S. government and U.S. astronauts from the multi billion dollar affair with the Russian Soyuz shuttles. Until now, the U.S. has paid 70 million dollars for each flight performed by the Russian to ferry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station.
Representative Lamar Smith (Rep., Texas), the chairman of the Science Committee has stated:
“This bill encourages the private sector to launch rockets, take risks and shoot for the stars”.
Last week the Space Act bill cleared Senate by unanimous vote. On Monday it also passed the House. President Obama must now review the Space Act. No veto has been announced on the bipartisan bill, although the President has stated that it would need some improvements.
Read thoroughly, the bill might seem the preface to a science fiction novel, with ‘orbital traffic management’ language placed in there too. Nonetheless, it is indeed a preface for the age of commercial space, a race that everyone is ready to embark on.
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