Luxembourg Drafts New Space Law: Private Companies Now Have Right Over Resources Harvested in Space.
The Luxembourg government has a new law that ensures that private operators working in space will have the right to the resources that they extract. This is part of an overall strategy within its SpaceResources.lu initiative to use and extract resources from Near-Earth Objects (NEO) such as asteroids.
According to Luxembourg’s government website, the draft law affirms that space resources can be appropriated in accordance with international law. This makes Luxembourg the first European country to provide legal certainty toward the ownership of minerals and other space resources in NEOs.
The law is based on a study of the legal and regulatory aspects of the usage of space resources by the University of Luxembourg. Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Etienne Schneider said the legal framework in the draft law is perfectly in line with the Outer Space Treaty.
She affirmed that the law does not suggest or establish that Luxembourg has any sovereignty over a celestial body. Rather, it affirms that Luxembourg’s new legislation wants it to be a European hub for the exploration of space.
It can be remembered that the Outer Space Treaty prohibits the ownership of Celestial Bodies such as the Moon by any nation.
University of Luxembourg guest professor Jean-Louis Schiltz commented that the legal framework is very innovative and “strongly embedded” in the international legal framework.
The draft law also laid down regulations or the authorization and the supervision of space resources, such as the exploration and use of these resources. Companies that want to undertake missions to gather space resources must obtain authorization to do so.
The draft law is expected to enter into effect in 2017. Meanwhile, Schneider also said that negotiations are underway to formalize relationships with around 20 companies and entrepreneurs to cement this undertaking.