InvestigationDonald Trump kicked off the “lunar gold rush” in the spring, shaking up the international status quo of space law by claiming to modernize it.
Appeared at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the case has gone into the background, if not unnoticed. However, in the spring, the United States overturned the old international consensus on the exploitation and appropriation of “extraterrestrial” resources, those that can be drawn from the Moon and, in the longer term, , asteroids.
First time, April 6. On that day, Donald Trump signs a presidential decree aimed at “Encourage international support for the recovery and use of space resources”. What is behind this abstract formulation? The text begins by establishing that “Uncertainty regarding the right to recover and use space resources, including the extension of the right to the commercial recovery and use of lunar resources, has discouraged some business entities from participating in this endeavor.”
Donald Trump therefore decides to clarify things by stating that “Americans should have the right to engage in the commercial exploration, recovery and use of resources in outer space, in accordance with applicable law. Outer space is an area of human activity that is unique in legal and physical terms, and the United States does not view it as a global common good. “
To put it in a trivial way, the White House tenant kicks off, from his number one post in the world’s leading power, the start of the lunar gold rush – knowing that in at least first, the most important resource of our satellite will be water, to extract hydrogen and oxygen, very useful for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G), the space station that the United States wants to orbit the Moon in a few years. On the condition of being able to make the journey, everyone would therefore have the right to grab the resources of Selene.
Primacy of bilateral agreements?
The second stage of this “moon rocket” was fired a few weeks later by Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA. On May 15, the latter presents a list of ten main principles for a future in space “Safe, peaceful and prosperous”, which are to underpin a series of bilateral agreements that the US space agency is responsible for negotiating with its international partners.
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