The Space Treaty Project

The mission of The Space Treaty Project is to give each person hope and inspiration by helping the nations of the Earth to build a common future. As its name implies, the Project intends to do this by using international agreements to support and govern human activity in outer space. Fortunately, there are five space treaties currently in place that can provide the backbone of such a legal framework. Unfortunately, they are out of date and/or incomplete, creating an uncertainty that is keeping businesses, investors, and other private actors from fulfilling their dreams.

Three years ago, the Project itself was a dream, part of the plot in the novel Major Tom. But even as the book was being written, the need for an international framework of laws for outer space became apparent. The Project’s first article on the subject, Why It’s a Bad Idea to Weaken the Moon Treaty, was published in The Space Review on March 5, 2018. That same month, the International Institute of Space Law held the first space law conference in the United States, at the annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. An article on the conference, Space Law 2018: Nationalists vs. Internationalists, soon followed (see Publications in main menu).

The rest of 2018 saw more articles on space law and the first presentation in support of the Moon Treaty at an international conference. By then the Project had determined that the Moon Treaty needed an implementation agreement in order to make it functional. Alas, there was not yet a proposal for any such agreement, only arguments about the meaning of outdated treaties. Even other civic organizations, like the Moon Village Association and For All Moonkind, were choosing not to make such a proposal.

In May 2019 The Space Treaty Project, which had been a project of the Cloud Forest Institute, incorporated as a new nonprofit in the State of California. The first formal presentation of its proposed implementation agreement for the Moon Treaty came in September at the Conference on Advanced Space Technology in Shanghai, China. It has since been presented at the IAF-UNOOSA workshop in Washington, D.C., the Moon Village Association Symposium in Tokyo, Japan, and the Return to the Moon space law symposium at the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.

Meanwhile the organizational basics were being put in place. A website and a petition are now online. The proposed agreement has undergone extensive peer review, resulting in several changes to address the concerns of the broad spectrum of outer space interests. A solid foundation has been created to support the Project and its mission.

It is now time to build on that foundation. The immediate goal is to become an “internationally recognized organization” in order to attain official Observer status at the United Nations. Most countries view the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to be the proper forum for discussion of a new international agreement, as it has been for past agreements. Since the Moon Treaty was proposed in 1979, COPUOS has been content with developing voluntary policy guidelines. It is now time to work on the specific language for new/amended agreements that will facilitate humanity’s departure from the home planet. The Space Treaty Project is the only organization dedicated to doing so.

Advisory Board Needed

One of the ways to become an internationally recognized organization – and to improve any proposal – is to create an advisory board. Such a board provides peer review, bringing information, creativity, and diversity into the Project, plus outreach to the people and organizations with whom the advisors are associated. The AB will thus include people with a variety of skill sets, from those with legal and technical backgrounds to those who can use art, literature, performance, and music to reach the people.

Members of the AB must accept the basic mission/assumption of The Space Treaty Project, that a new/amended international agreement on outer space activities will help the nations of the Earth to build a common future and thereby give hope and inspiration to the people of Earth.

Anyone who wants to be on the AB should contact dennisobrien@spacetreaty.org. Please include your resume/CV and a brief statement of how you would contribute, e.g., drafting new/amended international agreements, engaging with interested parties, or reaching out to the people of Earth.

For more information, go to www.spacetreaty.org.  Also at Facebook: The Space League.