Broadcast 1500 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Declan O’Donnell. Topics: United Societies In Space (USIS), commercial space, treaty law, changing the law. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Note that this is Space Show number 1,500! We welcomed back Declan O’Donnell for updates with the USIS organization, The Buzz Aldrin Library, and commercial space legal issues based on the United Nations Treaties. We started our first segment with Declan telling us about the recent Boulder conference that both Buzz and he attended that addressed suborbital flight and suborbital flight training for the people wanting to participate in space tourism. He said there appears to be lots of people interested in the space experience as well as going to space and that so far from his perspective, money was not much of a roadblock, if at all. Declan then switched to discussing USIS. In this discussion, he put for the idea of the Space Development Authority as the way to accomplish the best legal regime to promote, manage, and develop commercial space. He cited two examples for the authority model, the TVA and the Chunnel Authority. Declan suggested that we create the Space Development Authority which would eventually be managed and funded separately from governments. At this point in our discussion, Declan talked about potential legal challenges to commercial space based on the benefit sharing language in the U.N. treaties, specifically in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST). Declan told us about his having recently spoken about potential legal challenges to commercial space at a recent NASA meeting in Hawaii. Listen to what he had to say about this meeting and the reaction of those in attendance. This is an important discussion, listen carefully, and post comments to the blog as to what you think about the potential problem Declan points out. As we started our second segment, our guest went on to say that Article 11 of the Moon Treaty provided the solution to this problem. In addition to the Moon Treaty clause, Declan talked about the procedure for changing the law using the IAF to validate the concept that space can be inhabited and developed for people now and his IAF suggestion and procedure offered the legal proof needed based on the Moon Treaty clause. Listeners asked Declan why we don’t just withdraw from the OST and since the U.S. has not signed the Moon Treaty, why is it even applicable to us. Don’t miss his important answers to these questions. Other issues and listener questions that came up dealt with legal challenges, what courts would have jurisdiction and here, you will hear Declan say that any federal court in the U.S. would have jurisdiction and that such a case if and when it comes up will eventually go to the Supreme Court because of its wide ranging importance. Near the end of the program, Declan described a new USIS program underway with Boy Scout packs, the Aerospace Venture Club. We also talked about the forthcoming issue of the USIS publication, Space Governance. As you will hear, I offered to send to interested listeners a recent USIS email containing many of the documents Declan discussed during the show. If you are interested in this email, please send your request to If you have comments or questions for Declan O’Donnell, please post them on The Space Show Blog per the above URL. Declan also invited listeners to join in with USIS. His email address is Declan can also be reached at 1-800-633-2828. His fax number is 1-303-666-8595.



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25 Jan 2011 Declan O'Donnell
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