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Declan O’Donnell, Sunday, 7-22-12 July 22, 2012

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Declan O’Donnell, Sunday, 7-22-12


Guest:  Declan O’Donnell.  Topics:  USIS updates, Law of the Sea Treaty, space settlement, property rights & more.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. Declan O’Donnell returned for legal updates with United Societies In Space (USIS), the Intentional Space Development Authority (ISDAC), Law of the Sea Treaty, property rights and much more.  Declan suggested the best websites to visit for more information would be http://space-law.org/ISDAC/ISDAC.html and www.internationalspacedevelopment.com.  During this segment, Declan talked about the various UN space treaties, including the Liability Treaty and space debris issues.  Next, I asked Declan about the renewed interest show by the U.S. in the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).  Like many others, Declan clearly spelled out the problems with this treaty and the problems with the common heritage of mankind ideology, especially for space settlement and commerce.  He said if LOST is ratified by the Senate, it would be a “dangerous precedent.”  Declan spent time going into the history of LOST and we talked about it being bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (www.foreign.senate.gov).  Related issues discussed in this segment and throughout the program dealt with problems in enforcing treaties of all kinds.  Declan talked about the role of USIS and ISDAC regarding LOST and the ownership of space property issues.  He even talked about these organizations proposing a new treaty to support growth & the commercial development of space. Andrew called in to talk about the 1920 Svalbard Treaty as a possible model for space. You can read about this treaty at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard_Treaty.

Our second segment started with Tim calling to ask if there were other organizations promoting LOST and/or The Moon Treaty other than the U.N.  Later, Declan was asked about the Chinese space program and we again referenced issues with the Liability Treaty and Chinese caused space debris issues.  Also in this segment, Declan was asked about the EU Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.  Note that he confirmed it was risky to dismiss such things because of the voluntary aspect & he cited several examples to illustrate his point.  He even talked about a specific Italian jurisdictional clause for a local region often inserted in contracts and used as a set of rules for litigation.  Harry emailed out guest about the spaceport no liability laws that have been adopted by several states.  Declan had much to say about this and the issue of liability. Interestingly, he said the waiver that we hear so much about and that is required in the federal law is more about protecting the U.S. Government given it has the ultimate liability for everything launched into space in the U.S. & possibly with U.S. hardware elsewhere in the world as the U.S. would be considered by treaty the launching state. Near the end of our program, I mentioned a SF Business Times article on space investment in Silicon Valley. I will upload the .pdf to the blog for those interested in reading it. Marshall also emailed in a question on the liability issue regarding a spacecraft landing in a different country from its launching country.  As the program was ending, Declan talked about USIS and ISDAC membership & given his being a trial lawyer, I asked him about the controversial issue in healthcare of tort reform.  You might be surprised by his answer.

Post your questions/comments on The Space Show blog.  You can email Declan through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com


You can read the SF Business Times article mentioned on the show here:

SF Biz Journal Space Ventures


1. DougSpace - July 22, 2012

“The idea of space governance as a concept is, ‘How do you run settlements'”.

I would like to see the first settlement be on the Moon and be funded soon through a “Lunar COTS” approach. As such, it will be US taxpayer money that is used to develop the first colony and yet as a public-private venture, I would like to see the first colony be run by charter. Since it would be initially funded by US taxpayer money, the colony should be run by an American organization with Western values reflected in that charter. I would expect that such a colony would grow naturally based around humans repairing and building a growing telerobotic workforce harvesting lunar ice for cis-lunar fuel. However, in its charter, it should be recognized that this new entity (the colony) will likely one day become large enough to become it’s own independent entity. Yes, it could vote to become the 51st American state but I anticipate that they would probably want to declare themselves a completely independent country.

In practice it would probably be part of the English-speaking countries with a particular connection with America and a western political orientation although the make-up would be relatively cosmopolitan as are many major cities today.

Andrew Tubbiolo - July 23, 2012

Right, can you imagine the disaster of history if England held onto the East Coast of what is today the US? England would have never allowed her colonies to outstrip the mother country. If the English had won, we’d have clean cities, be polite, play hockey, and drink Molsen or Steamwhistle. People would still speak French in New Orleans. We’d be Southern Canada, or cutsy like the Austrilans. And England would have been mauled by Germany in the 20th Cen. Losing the War of 1775 was the best thing to happen to English independence. By spawing as many offshoot societies as we can the US would do well to create as many United States of (X) in the solar system as we can. It’s probable they’ll come to our rescue just as we did England three times in the 20th Cen.

DougSpace - July 24, 2012

“It’s probable they’ll come to our rescue just as we did England three times in the 20th Cent.”

That sounds like the basis for an absolutely fabulous plot for a novel.

…what was the third time?

Andrew Tubbiolo - July 24, 2012

WWI, WWII, Cold War. 🙂

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