Applying UNCLOS model to outer space would stifle nascent commercial space industry
[ Page 13 ]
Moreover, the LOST could set a bad regulatory precedent for the commercial development of space. The U.N.’s Moon Treaty, which is technically in force, mimics the LOST’s common heritage rhetoric, but establishes no institutional regulatory framework. Subjecting private space exploration and development to a LOST-like system would discourage private ventures.
With the only economically viable private space operations limited to launching satellites, the impact of an intergalactic LOST might seem slight. Nevertheless, serious entrepreneurs are entering the industry.15 Making a profit while exploring space is a daunting enough prospect. Attempting to do so when subject to an aggressive regulatory agency likely would be impossible. Mankind would lose not only new technologies, but the very possibility of reaching the heavens.
Many of LOST’s costs are obvious, and reason enough to reject the treaty. But the agreement’s potentially greatest costs are unknown today. By punishing entrepreneurship directed at transforming the great frontiers of the oceans and space, LOST threatens potentially enormous losses well into the future. The exact impact of the regulatory regime might be unpredictable, since the treaty’s exact operation is not certain. But the magnitude of the loss would be enormous.
UNCLOS could set a bad regulatory precedent for the commercial development of space. Subjecting private space exploration and development to a similar regulatory system would discourage private ventures just now getting underway.