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Re: Space questions...

At 9:21 AM 7/22/96, Philip Bakelaar wrote:
>At 07:59 AM 7/22/96 -0500, Kelly Starks x7066 MS 10-39 wrote:
>>Currently their are legal restrictions.  For example the FAA hasn't figured
>>out how to lisence a space craft, and the feds haven't set liability
>>limitations for space craft accidents like they did for aircraft.  So you
>>could wind up being unable to get a launch permit, or get sued to death by
>>hungry lawyers if you have an accident.
>>Past that the United Nations has been tring to claim space as their
>>property, and refuse to let others profit in space.  The U.S. state
>>department has traditionally not cared much, but usually have been forced
>>by public presure (usually the L-5 society) to not sign.  For example at
>>the moment the state department is reluctant to bother protesting a U.N.
>>treaty being worked on that would effectivly outlaw nuclear poer system in
>>space.  That ofcourse would eliminate the possibility of missions past
>>Mars, or manned missions past the moon.  Or lunar bases for that mater.
>The UN claims space is *theirs*?!?!?! OH my GOD, i can't believe that.
>I mean, how could they think that? How could the US not care? How could
>the UN...? Guys, fill me in here. Is the US govmn't *really* stupid,
>or is the UN *really* stupid, or is the public *really* stupid..
>(actually, as far as I'm concerned, they all are, but im asking who's
> fault is it that this is happening?)

The U.N. is largely composed of third world nations (their are more of them
then us) who generally have a socialist attitude.  They largly drafted
whats called the space treaty (which the U.S. has refused to sign, thou
Clinton did make some moves to reverse that policy).  Said treaty roughly
states that space is the common heritage of all mankind, and as a common
heritage no one person, group, or state can own or take profit from any
part of any planet, moon, orbit, or inter planetary transfer orbit.  Any
attemp to use space must be done by an international body that distributes
all profits equaly to all nations regardless of the participation in space
by that state.

This is similar to the language of the Law of the sea treaty we did sign,
which promptly ended all attempts at deap sea minnig or colonization.

Why doesn't the state department care?  They are politicians.  They deal
with interactions between countries.  Not anoying internationals over
something as trivial (to them) as space, seems foolish.  After all, we
don't do much in space (yet) and its of no immediate economic impact.  So
to a treaty crafter, its  obviously less important then something really
big, like international relations.

>OK.. well, i won't complain much, because I could complain ALOT about
>this. My next question is... (hypothetical situation)
>  what if, say, our group (LIT) bought an island from Liberia, who doesnt
>  have any space laws at all, and could care less.. would we be able to
>  build a spaceport and spaceships and launch from that island?
>  (disregard material needs for now, im talking about the law)

Legally the U.S. has never signed the treaty so its not a problem.  If they
had signed, and wished to enforce it, they could prevent U.S. firms from
exporting high tech launcher systems to the non conforming country you
wanted to launch out of.



Kelly Starks                       Internet: kgstar@most.fw.hac.com
Sr. Systems Engineer
Magnavox Electronic Systems Company
(Magnavox URL: http://www.fw.hac.com/external.html)