Journal of Air Law and Commerce


The law and economics of space policy have recently become an important research area. In this Article, the author contributes to the literature on legal frameworks for outer space activities, specifically space settlement. Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty forbids the extension of state territorial jurisdiction to outer space. Barring revision of this fundamental tenet of international space law, rules for human conduct in space must come from somewhere other than states. The author proposes privately owned and operated communities (proprietary communities) as a model for space settlement and residence. The author surveys the mechanisms that make such communities likely to supply good governance. He also explores a model lease for such proprietary communities: the ORBIS lease, drawn up by famed scholar of proprietary communities Spencer MacCallum. The author concludes by discussing why the voluntarist model would be expected to outperform other models, as well as implications for state policy.