Luxembourg’s new space law guarantees private companies the right to resources harvested in outer space in accordance with international law

Date: 11/11/2016

The Luxembourg Government has just adopted a draft law ensuring that private operators working in space can be confident about their rights to the resources they extract in outer space. The legal and regulatory framework is a key action of an overall strategy to be implemented progressively within the initiative for the exploration and commercial use of resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids.

Article 1 of the draft law provides that space resources are capable of being appropriated in accordance with international law. Luxembourg is thus the first European country to provide legal certainty as to the ownership of minerals, water and other space resources identified in particular on asteroids. The law is based on the findings of a study on legal and regulatory aspects for the utilization of space resources conducted by the University of Luxembourg under the overall direction of Prof. Dr. Mahulena Hofmann, in cooperation with renowned space law experts in the fields of national and international space law and policy, such as Prof. Dr. Frans G. von der Dunk, Prof. Dr. Fabio Tronchetti and Prof. Dr. André Prüm.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider commented: “The legal framework we put in place is perfectly in line with the Outer Space Treaty. Our law does not suggest to either establish or imply in any way sovereignty over a territory or over a celestial body. Only the appropriation of space resources is addressed in the legal framework. Luxembourg’s new space legislation confirms the strong commitment to become a European hub for the exploration and use of space resources.”
Read the full press release 

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