SWF Staff Discuss Sustainable Management of Earth Orbit and Lunar Mining at Commons in Space Virtual Conference

Thursday, February 25, 2021

SWF staff participated in the 2021 Commons in Space Virtual Conference organized by the The International Association for the Study of the Commons from February 23-25, 2020. The goals of the conference was to bring together scholars and practitioners on the commons in space to discuss what we can learn from governing shared resources on Earth to derive fair and productive outcomes when governing shared resources in space.

On Wednesday, February 24, SWF Director Private Sector Programs Ian Christensen spoke on a panel discussing “Social License to Operate for Lunar Resources Activities.” The panel explored the possible relevancy and drawbacks of applying the concept of Social License to Operate, which emerges from the terrestrial mining sector as a concept for how firms address the impact of their activities on affected stakeholders, to lunar resources activities. The panel discussed the possible role of SLO as part of a polycentric governance approach to lunar activities. Much of the discussion focused on the challenge of identifying and meaningfully engaging the stakeholder groups which would be affected by lunar development, and thus could be considered as having a legitimate interest in the development of SLO for lunar activities. Other speakers on the panel were Antonino Salmeri of the Space Generation Advisory Council and Ruvimbo Samanga of Open Lunar Foundation. A recording of the panel can be found below.

Later in the day, SWF Director of Program Planning Dr. Brian Weeden moderated a panel discussion on "Moving Towards Space Traffic Coordination and Management," which examined how to address the growing challenges with congestion and orbital debris in Earth orbit. Dr. Weeden was joined by Mr. Dan Oltrogge from the Center for Space Standards and COMSPOC Corporation, Dr. Sujai Shivakumar from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and Dr. Quentin Verspieren from the University of Tokyo. The panel discussed the trends of increased small satellites, large constellations and international participation in space that are creating sustainability concerns and steps being taken by the private sector and governments to create voluntary guidelines, better sources of space situational awareness information, and move towards a space traffic management regime. A recording of the panel can be found below.

Last updated on February 25, 2021