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Article

The Role of International Territorial Administration in (Semi) Permanent Lunar Presence

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords International Territorial Administration, Governance, International Law, Space Law
Authors Matija Renčelj
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this paper is to analyse examples of ITA as a relevant model in administering celestial bodies. Proposed missions to the Moon promise ambitious plans which will change the way humanity perceives (and administers?) our closest celestial neighbour. Examples of ITA, which first emerged in the 19th and early 20th century are valuable resources for understanding how international organisations can undertake administration of increased presence on celestial bodies. In fact, international organisations already perform such powers (i) either vaguely, e.g. through the OST or (ii) through a clear regulatory mechanism that assigns slots in Geostationary orbit. In order for the regulatory framework to get up to speed with developments in space exploration the solution is two-fold: (i) avoid fragmenting debates on niche-topics (resources, cultural heritage, safety standards) but rather tackle them through a comprehensive framework and (ii) allow the UN (or a body designated by the UN) to actively administer activities on celestial bodies. ITA mechanisms developed in the past 100 years, have proven flexible enough to adapt to multiple scenarios and different political realities. Furthermore they allow international organisations to assume powers of administration without acquiring ownership over the territory and are hence in line with the provisions laid down in the OST. The analysed mechanisms in no way represent a magic solutions to all the alleged shortcomings of the current regulatory environment, it is nevertheless important to establish a nexus between developed examples of ITA and potential future mechanisms administering activities on celestial bodies.


Matija Renčelj
Member States Relationships & Partnerships Office, European Space Agency.
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