The National Space Society (NSS) commends Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) for its September 5th report on its Space Futures Workshop entitled “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy.”
AFSPC’s report recommended that a U.S.-led coalition establish a preferred future where space is a major contributor to a human economy, where “people live and work widely in space” and where “space settlement [is a] primary driver of the nation’s civil space program.”
In this recommendation, AFSPC’s report reflects the vision of the National Space Society. The report recommends that civil space programs be assessed by their ability to further “large-scale human space settlement” with deep private sector involvement. Included in the report is a call for the U.S.-led coalition to shape a “rules-based, democratic international order” in space where “norms of behavior, rules, and laws” are based on “fairness, open commerce, freedom of movement, and international cooperation.”
NSS Executive Vice President Alfred Anzaldua stated, “The exciting possible future presented in this report represents an aspirational goal for our nation – one long promoted by NSS. We applaud the bold thinkers here who are raising public awareness about space’s potential benefits.” He added, “The NSS Policy Committee has recently published a paper on the wide range of benefits we already derive from space, as well as the ones coming in the near and further future.” You can read about it at https://space.nss.org/wp-content/uploads/NSS-Position-Paper-How-Space-Technology-Benefits-the-Earth.pdf.
The full AFSPC report can be found at https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000016d-0513-d6ab-a97f-4f93520b0001.
Shape a “rules-based, democratic international order” in space where “norms of behavior, rules, and laws” are based on “fairness, open commerce, freedom of movement, and international cooperation.”
I believe the above is a utopian view of how the Nations of this world work. It also suggests a one-world Government which I suggest is Anathema to the perspective of National Sovereignty. I believe the setup should be based on progressive contributions and buyins by Nations as they see fit. The UN is a closer model to consider in my opinion, but needing added legal framework for Private Property ownership.
Space settlements would be Flagged Property and so would operate under the laws of the Nation that sponsor them. The precedence is similar to a ship operating in International waters. The Space Settlements would be seen as extensions of National Sovereignty, essentially territories of that Nation. This is not viewed as a violation of the Outer Space Treaty because the treaty views the claiming of territory in space as the claiming of International territory, while space settlements are seen as displacing International Territory. Could a group of people create their own space settlement without a sponsoring Nation? No. Nations consider their citizens to be extensions of the Nation and hold their citizens accountable by the courts even if their actions occur outside the Nation’s borders..
“Could a group of people create their own space settlement without a sponsoring Nation?”
This could happen very soon after the settlement achieves long-term self sufficiency. 10,000 people in a third-generation O’Neill habitat orbiting Titan just might tell their sponsor to go jump in a lake. What could their sponsor do about it? Send in the fleet? What will the other nations do if there is a massacre?
Maybe this is idealistic, but I like Elon’s vision of Mars politics: 1) direct democracy, 2) laws are harder to make than to repeal, 3) laws automatically sunset unless they are renewed.
Ships in international waters follow the international laws of the sea and things work fine. Outer Space must be the same way so that patriotism does not bring war to the new realm of humans. Nationalism is anathema to peace. Let’s all commit to letting the UN set the rules of the big new game in the black void!! ‘=]