Broadcast 3046 Michael Listner, noted space attorney

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Guest:  Michael Listner;  Topics:  Space law and policy for 2018, National Security Space, Trump administration focus on space and more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Michael Listner to the program for a two segment 1 hour 38 minute discussion on the probable direction and focus for space policy and law for 2018. During the first segment of the program, Michael suggested that the trend for policy and law for 2018 would be toward a realignment to the pragmatic.  He spent a good part of the first segment talking about this trend.  He cited Heather Wilson, the new Secretary of the Air Force as an example given she has suggested that space is a war fighting domain and that the U.S. would pursue an active deterrent posture.  Don't miss how our guest explained this.  On this particular topic, Joshua from Boston sent in an email asking Michael if our partisan political differences and attacks on one another interfere with our space policy with international partners and players.  Michael said yes it does hurt us in the long run but again, listen to all of what he had to say on this important question.

Next, Michael talked about the National Space Council, our existing National Space Policy and the modification to it known as SPD 1.  He said the policy was shifting from Mars to the Moon. John Hunt called in and said we were not on a Mars path anyway. He talked about the path to the Moon using SLS Orion.  After listening to John and Michael for a few minutes, I asked them about the economic reality here in the US with a huge national debt, a tax cut bill, revenues badly needed for the basics and recent articles pointing out that due to our economic situation, we would not be going to the Moon or anyplace else in space anytime soon. I wanted to know why this warnings and this type of analysis was always dismissed by those advocating lunar or Martian policies.  Michael agreed that these problems existed but both John and Michael thought they discounted the role that the private sector would play in say going to the Moon. Both suggested that with private company support, going back to the Moon to stay for example could be affordable.  Listen to what they both had to say about the economics I put forth.  Tell us what you think with a post on our blog for this show.

Dr. Doug sent in a note suggesting that both President Trump and VP Pence might like space but so far there simply was no real space policy.  John was still on the phone when I read Doug's email so both Michael and John offered Doug comments.  They did not agree with Doug and thought that while Trump and Pence may not be space experts, they would be delegating analysis and decisions to people who know the lay of the land so to speak and that they did want an actual policy of going to the Moon.  Do let us know what you think with a comment or two on the blog.  Before John ended his phone call, he asked Michael about the recent comments made by Gen. Hyten that he would push back against illegal nuclear attack policies on the part of the president.  Michael had much to say about this, including what constitutes an illegal or improper order according to the UCMJ.  It was an interesting way to end the first segment do don't miss Michael's reply to John.

In the second segment, Kim called from Mexico to discuss a possible new space race with the U.S. and China given what we know about China and their lunar plans.  Michael said he did not like the space race concept or idea.  He took us back in a history and said the space race was a result of the Cold War which has long been over.  He provided us with examples as to why he did not think we would be in a race with China.  See wat you think of Michael's response.  Do you think we might get to the point of engaging China in a type of Moon race?  Let us know what you think on this issue by posting your comments on the blog.

Michael's next topic was the Outer Space Treaty and how it might evolve over 2018.  He said it was an old document from the days of the Cold War.  That said, he did point out that it would be politically impossible to withdraw from it.  He cited the other treaties as well.  He then talked about the Res Communis concept or the idea that space is a global commons. This came up because of the reference to Article 6 by Dr. Scott Pace indicating that maybe Res Communes does not apply.  Michael referenced other examples of this going back to the Regan Administration.

Marshall called and wanted to know about defending a lunar settlement or colony if someone else wanted to take it or its resources.  To respond to Marshall, Michael talked about customer law and the concept of express abandonment, the Law of the Sea treaty, salvage law and more.  Don't miss this discussion.

Toward the end of the program, Michael pointed out the new international space agencies soon coming on line, each with their own take on space resources, the OST and other policy issues.  Michael was talking about New Zealand, India, China, the Philippines, UAE, and others.  He mentioned important delayed space legislation hung up in our senate, then before we ended the program, he told us about his newsletter, The Precis. In fact you can find out more about Michael and his work at   To find out more about The Precis, visit




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07 Jan 2018 Michael Listner
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