According to an estimate by the Satellite Industry Association, the global space industry grew from $104 billion in 2004 to about $322.7 billion in 2014. The figures encompass both satellite and non-satellite aspects of the space industry. The industry grew by another four percent in the years 2014 to 2015 to an estimated global industry revenue of $335.3 billion. With more commercialization of outer space activities, the figures are expected to continue to grow at an exponential rate. More and more States and private actors are keen on the lucrative space business, not to mention space resources. With more private participation in space activities driven by economic incentives, there are bound to be issues of competition for and exploitation—if not over-exploitation—of inherently limited natural resources. One question that inevitably arises is whether the current international legal framework on outer space is sufficiently established to cope with the pendulum swing from a landscape once dominated by the States, typified by political dominance and national pride, to one driven by economic interests, as well as to cope with problems arising from competition for space resources.
Eng Teong See,
Commercialization of Space Activities— The Laws and Implications,
J. Air L. & Com.