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You may focus on these identified policy gaps, or another that you think is pressing and important there is no penalty or preference, so long as it addresses the primary question. You will still be eligible for all the internship opportunities.


1. Access and Utilization of Space Resources

Current missions focused on the basic science of metallic asteroids could spur the way for follow-on missions’ intent on capitalizing the market potential of the metals found, or increased activities on the moon may unlock water deposits. What social issues arise if a private actor or consortium of actors find celestial bodies abundant with precious resources? Who do these resources belong to? Should they be shared, and if so how? Is there a market for them and what would one look like? Is it even possible to exploit and sustainably profit from outer space resources in the absence of codified property rights regimes for space resources on the one hand or an international benefit sharing regime?

Questions raised by the Outer Space Institute (OSI) regarding this policy gap:

  • How does one balance the rights of the international community against the economic interests of corporations and individual countries, especially in the context of Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits the ‘national appropriation’ of the Moon and other celestial bodies?
  • How does one engage in the ‘sustainable development’ of space to preserve the scientific and aesthetic value of celestial bodies such as asteroids, as well as any prebiotic materials and pristine mineralogy that may be present there?
  • How does one engage in asteroid mining without creating risks to Earth and its satellites by altering the meteoroid environment or by non-trivially changing asteroid trajectories?
  • What legal framework should be internationally developed to resolve disputes between nation states and private commercial interests?

Internship Hosts for this Policy Gap

  1. Open Lunar Foundation is a global, non-profit aerospace organization that is taking critical steps towards lunar settlement in a way that is equitable, iterative, and agile. We prioritize science, open data and cross-cultural collaboration to ensure the best possible actions are taken in human space settlement. The pillars of our work include: Engineering & Missions, Policy & Precedent-setting, and an Open Lunar Architecture. We are developing these projects in the spirit of moving quickly, taking acceptable risks, and breaking a trail for others. Our research projects include: shared infrastructure for the Moon, dust mitigation policies, resource management and resource access and benefit rights, jurisdiction & accountability. We take a unique interest in using “common pool resource” research, and the works of Ostrom to inform our work, as well as being inspired and informed by indigenous world views and non-western approaches to land management and ownership. In 2020, resource management and resource rights will be a major focus for us.Our internship prize offering will be an invitation to join our fellowship program. We host fellows from around the world to work on leading research exploring the value of shared knowledge and coordination amongst space-faring organizations, companies and states. As we seek to push the conceptual frontier of new approaches to governance, coordination, sustainability, and social institutions in space, we need to learn from what is already out there. This research will focus on a combination of space science, strategic ecosystem analysis, and coordination and policy frameworks. With our researchers, we aim to find projects which suit the individuals as well as supporting the bigger goal, so every fellowship is unique. Fellows work remotely with us from where they live, and we offer stipends to cover some basic costs during their time on the project.
  2. Vieira de Almedia & Associates (VdA) is a leading and independent law firm based in Portugal with solid international experience. Our international footprint is one of the largest among the leading Lisbon-based law firms being present in eleven jurisdictions, including francophone Africa. VdA has been involved in various Space sector projects, including the negotiation of contracts for satellite construction and launch and for the installation of ground stations, and assisted Governments in connection with the definition and drafting of Space-related strategies and legislation.


2. Scale Up Of Mega Satellite Constellations Considering Space Debris, Congestion and Space Traffic Management

The satellite telecommunications sector is the most mature downstream segment of the space ecosystem comprising key commercial players, including both mature organizations and NewSpace startups. Despite its maturity, the sector faces regulatory barriers such as market access restrictions and spectrum allocation issues as the number of satellites in orbit continually increases. Incumbent firms in the telecommunications sector may have incentives to under-utilize spectrum/orbital slots by maintaining a partially operational or non-operational satellite at the assigned orbital location or by not utilizing the spectrum/orbital slots for extended periods of time. This tactic of holding under-utilized spectrum and orbital resources to gain a competitive advantage over potential competitors is referred to as “spectrum warehousing”. Spectrum warehousing not only prevents competition but also allows companies to increase the prices on the spectrum they control, potentially impacting people in the developing world for whom internet access is not a given (Haskins, 2018).

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has created regulations to prevent spectrum warehousing but ITU’s power is limited and it leaves individual countries to enact laws to provide equitable access globally. At the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Member States adopted a new milestone-based approach for the deployment of non-geostationary satellite (NGSO) systems in specific radio-frequency (RF) bands and services. Under the newly adopted regulatory regime, these systems will have to deploy 10% of their constellation within 2 years after the end of the current regulatory period for bringing into use, 50% within 5 years and complete the deployment within 7 years but this doesn’t address the issues with congestion, the need for a space traffic management system to coordinate stakeholders’ actions and orbital debris. This because the ITU’s charter is focused on RF interference. But RF licensing is the only existing regulatory framework for managing the large constellations., so could it be pragmatic to ask the various national regulators to add it on or can a new instrument be proposed?

  • Can Orbital slots be regulated more effectively than the current International Telecommunications Union regime to prevent spectrum warehousing, and space debris? Is there a better way to coordinate actors and satellites to minimize collision risk and to have better space situational awareness?
  • Examples of instruments designed to consider stakeholder engagement include Trusat.Org and the Space Sustainability Rating. How could these or similar be strengthened through legal mechanisms?

Internship Hosts for this Policy Gap

  1. OHB Hellas is a subsidiary company and 100% owned by the German multinational technology group OHB SE. The creation of this company follows the signed MoU in December 2017 with the Greek State (Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications & Media). OHB Hellas is the first Large Satellite Integration (LSI) implanted in Greece with the ambition to develop space business with the collaboration of the already established local space companies.
  2. MetaMe introduces a universal way to own and exchange your data powered by “trustless data”, personalized AI, cryptography and blockchains. Its metaPods not only address the economic and social issues of data sharing but are underpinned by a pending ISO Ethical Data Standard being developed with international agencies which will be used to appraise other efforts. It establishes a marketplace in which you can sell your data for a fair price in a safe way. metaMe gives your digital self a home and gives you a personal AI dedicated to you, using your data to serve your needs.
  3. New York Space Alliance is a Public Benefit Corporation leveraging New York resources and global talents to fulfill the promise of commercial space. Our partners in Silicon Valley pioneered the initial wave of entrepreneurs based on small spacecraft and venture capital funding. Our ambition is to prompt even more impactful ventures with the scale and funding attractiveness to deliver on the opportunity NewSpace presents.
  4. Space & Satellite Professionals International (Silicon Valley Chapter) Serving the “new space and satellite” industry in Silicon Valley and the region, this chapter represents the future of our industry. The influence of satellites on every single device, communication and society is increasing. Satellites are helping us manage the systems that enable middle classes to rise in parts of the world where none existed and creating wealth and well-being in societies everywhere. Deal flow, innovation and human networking are key to the growth of the industry.
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