The Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 (SPACE Act) aims to promote wealth creation by guaranteeing protection of U.S. citizens’ property rights to celestial resources. But there are serious concerns that government protection of space property claims are incompatible with international law. This article proposes a purely private legal system for space commerce as an alternative to government-defined and enforced property rights. Economic theory shows how property rights and rules for adjudicating disputes can be self-enforcing. Economic history shows that such a system has worked well for centuries in international trade. A private legal commercial order for space is thus both feasible and desirable.
Alexander W. Salter, Ordering the Cosmos: Private Law and Celestial Property Rights,
J. Air L. & Com.