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See detailNo, Mars is not a free planet, no matter what SpaceX says
Salmeri, Antonino UL

Article for general public (2020)

SpaceX makes no secret of its driving goal to make humans a multiplanetary species. Given SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s fixation on Mars and fondness for Tesla ‘Easter eggs’ and other gags, it’s hardly ... [more ▼]

SpaceX makes no secret of its driving goal to make humans a multiplanetary species. Given SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s fixation on Mars and fondness for Tesla ‘Easter eggs’ and other gags, it’s hardly surprising to see Mars mentioned in the terms of service (ToS) agreement for beta users of its Starlink satellite broadband service. However, as a space lawyer, I certainly didn’t expect Starlink’s beta ToS to include the following provision: “For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith at the time of the Martian settlement.” To be sure, SpaceX might have inserted Clause 9 as another one of Musk’s jokes that aren’t really jokes, like the time he invoked South Park’s infamous underwear gnomes in explaining how he intended to fund his ambitious Mars colonization plans. After all, there are no Starlink satellites orbiting Mars, and no prospective customers there yet, either. But international law is no laughing matter. Taken literally, Starlink users must agree with SpaceX that Mars is a “free planet” and that disputes concerning Starlink services provided on Mars or while en route to the red planet via a SpaceX Starship — will be settled through self-regulation. But is this clause valid? What are the political implications of a transportation company proclaiming the legal status of a celestial body? Does such an attempt make strategic sense? [less ▲]

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See detailOne Size to Fit Them All: Interoperability, the Artemis Accords and the Future of Space Exploration
Salmeri, Antonino UL

Article for general public (2020)

On October 13th 2020, at the occasion of the 71st International Astronautical Congress, a coalition of 8 Countries including Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the ... [more ▼]

On October 13th 2020, at the occasion of the 71st International Astronautical Congress, a coalition of 8 Countries including Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America presented a multilateral document called “The Artemis Accords”. Legally, the Artemis Accords constitute a political commitment towards certain “Principles for Cooperation in the Civil Exploration and Use of the Moon, Mars, Comets and Asteroids for Peaceful Purposes”. Politically, the Accords aim to “operationalize” the norms of the Outer Space Treaty for the development and execution of the Artemis Program. Unsurprisingly, this announcement has raised both appreciation and scepticism, with some States considering to sign the document and some others criticising the process as “too US- centric”. In parallel, the space law community has started to discuss the legal and policy impact of the Accords, with eminent colleagues either speaking in their support or calling for more cautiousness. In this context, this article focuses on the principle of interoperability described in Section 5 of the Accords, discussing its implications on the future of space exploration. [less ▲]

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See detailAll for one and one for all: Recommendations for Sustainable International Lunar Base Utilization and Exploration Approaches
Salmeri, Antonino UL; Poliacek, Matej

in Proceedings of the 71st International Astronautical Congress - The Cyberspace Edition (2020, October)

The return to the Moon is widely regarded as the next step of space exploration. Fifty years after the first Apollo mission, a renewed interest is fostering large global efforts in pursuing the scientific ... [more ▼]

The return to the Moon is widely regarded as the next step of space exploration. Fifty years after the first Apollo mission, a renewed interest is fostering large global efforts in pursuing the scientific and economic opportunities offered by cislunar space. The ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable human and robotic presence on the lunar surface as specified in Phase 2 of NASA’s Artemis Program. These perspectives are deeply intertwined with the rapid growth of the private space sector and the arising geopolitical complexities, related to utilisation of outer space among space-faring nations. This study summarises the results and recommendations of the NASA-sponsored Space Exploration Working Group within the Space Generation Congress 2019, organised by the Space Generation Advisory Council in Washington, D.C. The Working Group consisted of 26 delegates from 15 different countries and representatives from NASA Headquarters. The group examined the evolution of lunar exploration in terms of international cooperation, socio-economic and technological challenges, and the inclusion of private industry. This report discusses the political, economic, and technological trade-offs between a multi-agency/multinational monolithic lunar base to multiple lunar bases operated by individual nations. Using the International Space Station as a model for international cooperation, the working group concluded that an initial infrastructure of a single station requiring a collaborative effort between nations and commercial stakeholders is the recommended approach. From this foothold, the presence is expanded to multiple bases with a standardization of planning, building, and operating lunar bases. Strategic recommendations were identified to be addressed to the United Nations and other public/private stakeholders with the vision of a cooperative legal and technical framework as the optimal foundation for a sustainable lunar economy. Recommendations include developing international guidelines for cooperation, establishing international standards for stakeholders, implementing conflict resolution avenues, configuring a single international base, and expanding global partnerships. [less ▲]

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See detailWaste Management for Lunar Resources Activities: Towards a Circular Lunar Economy
Salmeri, Antonino UL; Pino, Paolo; Humes, Shayna et al

in Proceedings of the 71st International Astronautical Congress - The Cyberspace Edition (2020, October)

Space resources activities are currently the objective of a thriving, cross-disciplinary, global effort aimed at assessing their role and potential in the future of humankind. New, innovative mission ... [more ▼]

Space resources activities are currently the objective of a thriving, cross-disciplinary, global effort aimed at assessing their role and potential in the future of humankind. New, innovative mission concepts, legal frameworks, and advanced technologies are being actively developed and proposed with the final goal of enabling profitable and efficient space resource utilization. The immediate location for these impacts is the Moon. In sight of this bright cohort of imminent perspectives, it’s imperative for the global community to properly assess the potential effects and consequences of the forthcoming space resources activities, with the goal of including sustainability in the foundations of the ongoing progress and ensuring its enforcement in every future endeavour. Within this context, this paper addresses the topics of Moon mining waste management and a lunar circular economy as key issues in the sustainable utilization of space resources. The most promising technologies are considered for lunar resources extraction and processing - with special focus on water - correlating their waste generation potential to the scale of the efforts implemented and to the projected availability of the resources of interest. Importance is also given to the corollary activities of space mining - such as logistics and transport operations - for their implications in waste management. Protocols and technologies with the lower waste generation potential are identified and further scenarios are elaborated for waste handling, reduction, reuse, and recycle, as well as end-of-life strategies for mining plants. This report’s recommendations are proposed for the development of incremental regulation for waste management, including but not limited to the definition of common areas of non-interest for waste disposal and regulatory obligations for conducting impact assessments before the establishment of mining activities. Please note that the present paper has been developed under the auspices of the Space Generation Advisory Council, as part of the activities of the Space Exploration Project Group. [less ▲]

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See detailA Social License to Operate for Lunar Resources Activities: Towards a Fair and Sustainable Era of Space Exploration
Salmeri, Antonino UL; Villegas, Maria Camila

in Proceedings of the 71st International Astronautical Congress - The Cyberspace Edition (2020, October)

Five years ago, soon after his nomination as ESA Director General, Jan Wörner announced the concept of a Moon Village as “an environment where both international cooperation and the commercialization of ... [more ▼]

Five years ago, soon after his nomination as ESA Director General, Jan Wörner announced the concept of a Moon Village as “an environment where both international cooperation and the commercialization of space can thrive”. Today, this concept is more alive than ever and is rapidly moving to its implementation through a series of lunar resources missions planned for as soon as 2021. In line with the spirit of cooperation and sustainability of the Moon Village, this paper addresses how lunar resources activities can become a model for fair and sustainable space exploration through the development of a Social License to Operate (SLO). SLO is defined as the efforts made by a company or entity in order to give back part of the wealth it produces to the community where it operates. On Earth, this is usually done through environmentally friendly practices, information disclosure and a various range of activities aimed at community support such as job creations, educational activities and technology transfer. Mutatis mutandis, current Earth practice on SLO can be implemented in lunar resources activities in order to ensure that they are conducted “for the benefit and interest of all Countries”, as required by Article I OST. Building on the research conducted by the Socio-Economic Panel of The Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group, this paper explores how the development of a Social License to Operate for Lunar activities can shape a new era of fair and sustainable space exploration. Guided by the principle of adaptive governance, the paper presents the benefits of Lunar SLOs as tailored for the early stages of lunar activities. To this end, Chapter 1 presents the definition of SLO, how it is used on Earth, the experience of some countries, and the way it is granted. Following, Chapter 2 discusses the rationale for implementing SLOs for lunar activities, and how they can contribute to the early development of lunar activities. Based on the above, Chapter 3 discusses three basic features for Lunar SLOs, arguing that they should be multigoverned, multipurposes and multi-incentives. Finally, Section 4 provides a practical example of how a Lunar SLO could be structured in practice, and then the paper draws the final conclusions. Please note that this paper has been developed under the auspices of the Space Generation Advisory Council, as part of the activities of the Space Exploration Project Group [less ▲]

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See detailDeveloping and Managing Moon and Mars Settlements in Accordance with International Space Law
Salmeri, Antonino UL

in Proceedings of the 71st International Astronautical Congress 2020 (2020, October)

Despite still being a few decades in the future, the idea of establishing an extra-terrestrial settlement on another celestial body, being it the Moon or Mars, has never been so strong. Moving from the ... [more ▼]

Despite still being a few decades in the future, the idea of establishing an extra-terrestrial settlement on another celestial body, being it the Moon or Mars, has never been so strong. Moving from the premise that future Moon and Mars settlements shall not take place in a lawless space, this paper addresses the question of how to develop and manage them in accordance with international space law. To this end, it conducts a systematic analysis of the Outer Space Treaty (OST), with the goal of assessing the scope of the freedom to use celestial bodies under international space law. Based on this analysis, and building on the successful experience of the International Space Station, the paper proposes the development of open international settlements made of shared modular facilities. In accordance with the principles of adaptive governance and subsidiarity, the paper argues that the regulation of such settlements should be based on a multi-level framework integrating international recommendations and bilateral arrangements. Under the proposed governance scheme, international recommendations should provide a general framework enabling the development of the settlement, while leaving its management to the mutual agreement of the parties. Finally, the paper presents four essential goals to be achieved by the recommendations and ultimately concludes by arguing that while international cooperation in the development and management of extra-terrestrial settlements is not a legal obligation, it may very well be the only political option that we have to preserve the peaceful uses of outer space. [less ▲]

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See detailAPIS: Applications and Potentials of Intelligent Swarms for magnetospheric studies
Rajan, Raj Thilak; Salmeri, Antonino UL; Haken, Dawn et al

in Proceedings of 71st International Astronautical Congress - The Cyberspace Edition (2020, October)

Earth's magnetosphere is vital for today's technologically dependent society. The energy transferred from the solar wind to the magnetosphere triggers electromagnetic storms on Earth, knocking out power ... [more ▼]

Earth's magnetosphere is vital for today's technologically dependent society. The energy transferred from the solar wind to the magnetosphere triggers electromagnetic storms on Earth, knocking out power grids and infrastructure | e.g., communication and navigation systems. Despite occurring on our astrophysical doorstep, numerous physical processes connecting the solar wind and our magnetosphere remain poorly understood. To date, over a dozen science missions have own to study the magnetosphere, and many more design studies have been conducted. However, the majority of these solutions relied on large monolithic satellites, which limited the spatial resolution of these investigations, in addition to the technological limitations of the past. To counter these limitations, we propose the use of a satellite swarm, carrying numerous payloads for magnetospheric measurements. Our mission is named APIS | Applications and Potentials of Intelligent Swarms. The APIS mission aims to characterize fundamental plasma processes in the magnetosphere and measure the e ect of the solar wind on our magnetosphere. We propose a swarm of 40 CubeSats in two highly- elliptical orbits around the Earth, which perform radio tomography in the magnetotail at 8{12 Earth Radii (RE) downstream, and the subsolar magnetosphere at 8{12 RE upstream. These maps will be made at both low-resolutions (at 0.5 RE, 5 seconds cadence) and high-resolutions (at 0.025 RE, 2 seconds cadence). In addition, in-situ measurements of the magnetic and electric elds, and plasma density will be performed by on-board instruments. In this publication, we present a design study of the APIS mission, which includes the mission design, navigation, communication, processing, power systems, propulsion and other critical satellite subsystems. The science requirements of the APIS mission levy stringent system requirements, which are addressed using Commercial O -the-Shelf (COTS) technologies. We show the feasibility of the APIS mission using COTS technologies using preliminary link, power, and mass bud- gets. In addition to the technological study, we also investigated the legal considerations of the APIS mission. The APIS mission design study was part of the International Space University Space Studies Program in 2019 (ISU-SSP19) Next Generation Space Systems: Swarms Team Project. The authors of [less ▲]

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See detailThe Integration Between National and International Regulation of Space Resources Activities Under Public International Law
Salmeri, Antonino UL

in Journal of Space Law (2019), 43(1), 60-85

In light of the current tendency of regulating space resources activities through national legislation, this article addresses the validity of such emerging practice under Public International Law (PIL ... [more ▼]

In light of the current tendency of regulating space resources activities through national legislation, this article addresses the validity of such emerging practice under Public International Law (PIL). To this end, the article first recalls the traditional debate between Monism and Dualism about the relationship between municipal and international law. This analysis is further completed by focusing also on the counter-position between two cornerstones of PIL, the principles of State sovereignty and Pacta Sunt Servanda. Next, the article assesses the exposure of national law “integrating” international law, focusing on ex post conflicts between the two sources as regulated by Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Accordingly, the article will show that States not willing to adapt their national laws will have to face international responsibility under the Draft Articles on State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts. Based on the above, the article then presents the related legal consequences, both at the international and national levels. Finally, the article closes by assessing the role of interpretative declarations and the defense of persistent objector as possible legal tools for dissenting States. [less ▲]

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See detailHouston We Have a Law. A Model for National Regulation of Space Resources Activities.
Salmeri, Antonino UL

in Proceedings of the 70th International Astronautical Congress 2018 (2019, October)

The field of space resources activities is rapidly maturing, but we still do not have a legal regime able to cope with such development. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space ... [more ▼]

The field of space resources activities is rapidly maturing, but we still do not have a legal regime able to cope with such development. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space finally started to debate whether commercialization of space resources is permitted under current international space law only in 2018, and yet declaring that space resources activities are lawful is barely the start. In fact, the real challenge is how to regulate them in light of the obligations set forth in international space law, without jeopardizing their economic convenience. The present paper addresses precisely this question by presenting a draft law redacted in articles, coupled with a comprehensive explanatory note. Inter alia, the paper introduces a new “space resources activities” license and proposes a detailed authorization regime based on the grant of priority rights limited in size, number and time extension. Based on the above, the paper concludes praising the importance of domestic regulation of space resources activities, when based on the same language and spirit of the OST and coordinated through mutual recognition. [less ▲]

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See detailA Way Forward. Regulating New Space Activities Through Multi-Stakeholder Adaptive Governance
Salmeri, Antonino UL

in Proceedings of the XXV International Congress of the Italian Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics (2019, September)

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See detailBack to the Moon: Legal Challenges for Future Lunar Exploration
Salmeri, Antonino UL

in 61st IISL COLLOQUIUM ON THE LAW OF OUTER SPACE (2019)

In the light of the recently renovated interest in returning humans to the Moon, this paper addresses the main legal challenges related, with the goal to show practical solutions under the current system ... [more ▼]

In the light of the recently renovated interest in returning humans to the Moon, this paper addresses the main legal challenges related, with the goal to show practical solutions under the current system of international space law. In order to do so, the paper first presents an overview of current lunar exploration programs, arguing that public and private missions raise different challenges and thus require specific models. Following, it accordingly assesses possible legal solutions for the regulation of these programs. On the one hand, States’ exploration programs may be governed by a revised version of the Intergovernmental Agreement already concluded for the International Space Station. On the other hand, private activities could be better organized relying on Articles VI-IX OST as integrated by a new UNGA Resolution, ad hoc bilateral agreements and specific provisions in national space legislations. Finally, the paper concludes underlining the importance of international cooperation as the key to ensure the peaceful use and exploration of outer space. [less ▲]

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See detailSpace Law at Unispace +50: Consequences and Future Perspectives
Salmeri, Antonino UL

Report (2019)

Report of IISL Session E7.4 on the occasion of the 69th International Astronautical Congress,

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See detailBack to the Moon: Legal Challenges for Future Lunar Exploration
Salmeri, Antonino UL

in Proceedings of the 69th International Astronautical Congress 2018 (2018, October)

This paper addresses the main legal challenges related to future human exploration of the Moon, with the goal to show possible solutions. In order to do so, it first presents an overview of current lunar ... [more ▼]

This paper addresses the main legal challenges related to future human exploration of the Moon, with the goal to show possible solutions. In order to do so, it first presents an overview of current lunar exploration programs, arguing that public and private missions raise different challenges and thus require specific models. Following, it accordingly assesses possible legal solutions for the regulation of these programs. On the one hand, States’ exploration programs may be governed by a revised version of the Intergovernmental Agreement already concluded for the International Space Station. On the other hand, private activities could be better organized relying on Articles VI-IX OST as integrated by a new UNGA Resolution, ad hoc bilateral agreements and specific provisions in national space legislations. Finally, the paper concludes underlining the importance of international cooperation as the key to ensure the peaceful use and exploration of outer space. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Regulation of Space Resources Activities Between National and International Law
Salmeri, Antonino UL

Bachelor/master dissertation (2018)

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See detailThe 50th Anniversary of the Rescue and Return Agreement: Relevance and Challenges
Salmeri, Antonino UL

Report (2018)

Report of the IISL/ECSL Symposium on the occasion of the 57th Session of the UNCOPUOS Legal Subcommittee, 2018 Proceedings of the IISL

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