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America Is Already Planning to Regulate Business on the Moon
America Is Already Planning to Regulate Business on the Moon

The Federal agency that regulates civil aviation in America is planning to use its framework for licensing space launches to licensing business on the Moon, according to a scoop from Reuters this morning. Are we facing a lunar land grab? Not exactly.

The report takes the form of a letter from the Federal Aviation Agency to Bigelow Aerospace—a private company that has developed expandable living modules for the ISS and hopes to put inflatable, modular living stations on the Moon and even Mars. The letter, dated from December, is all about whether Bigelow would be able to claim the right to develop a habitat on a particular part of the Moon—without any other mission or project interfering.

According to Reuters, the FAA says that Bigelow's theoretical development would be protected. In its letter, the agency said it plans to leverage its "existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis," continuing, "we recognize the private sector's need to protect its assets and personnel on the moon or on other celestial bodies."

America Is Already Planning to Regulate Business on the Moon

A Bigelow lunar habitat mockup.

After all, the FAA does control how private companies launch craft into space. It would make sense that the agency plans to serve as a regulatory agency for exploration on celestial bodies and planets, too. A Bigelow exec told Reuters that the FAA's letter "doesn't...

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