Broadcast 3134 Dr. Mark Sundahl, Atty

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

Guest: Dr. Mark Sundahl;  Topics:  Creating a Space Force from the USAF, commercial space regulatory issues, property rights, OST, small bilateral and multilateral agreements for conveyance of property right, global commons and more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   

We welcomed back to the show Dr. Mark Sundahl, Atty, for this one segment 64 minute discussion on space law issues.  I started the discussion by asking Dr. Sundahl for his thoughts on the breaking news that President Trump was directing the USAF and others to create a US Space Force to help us continue being the leading country in all things space.  Mark was not that supportive of the idea.  During our 15 minute or so discussion of this topic, he fully explained his opposition to it.  Listen carefully and let us know what you think of the idea of creating a new military service, the US Space Force.  Please post your comments on our blog for this show.

Next, I asked Mark for his legal opinion on the concept Rand Simberg introduced to us a few weeks ago regarding conveying property rights for commercial users, deep space mining players and other commercial ventures.  The concept Rand put forth was that the US would enter into small bilateral or multilateral treaties regarding the conveyance of title for property rights as our way of saying this is how we understand the relevant articles of the OST dealing with property rights. He mentioned several countries showing interest in the idea.  You can hear the Simberg Space Show here:  Our guest liked the concept, said it was not new but was now getting new interest because it was both timely and plausible.  Rand was listening and sent in a few emails which Mark answered.  Much of what we talked about was how the small agreements would be enforced and how nations objecting to them and our interpretation of the OST in this way could protest.  Mark thought their protests would be weak but talked about the International Court of Justice.  He also gave us an example of what might happen in a protest using Belgium as the example country.  Don't miss what he had to say about this issue.  Mark then talked about the International Court of Justice, what it could and could not do with the US and those signing the small treaty agreements.  We talked about treaties in general and the difficulty in doing them.  For another example, he once again mentioned the Cape Town Convention which he said took about 20 years to create and open for signature and another 20 years to approve it and get it into operation (40 years!).  As an alternative, I asked him about using Trust Confidence Building Measures instead of a treaty.  Don't miss what Mark said in response to this question. 

Mark then talked about and described the Hauge Space Resource Working Group  as part of the Leiden University Air and Space Law Center (  Mark suggested we read  and comment on the draft proposals for The Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group which can be found at  If you have questions about commenting or want more information, please contact Mark through his faculty webpage at Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (  

Listeners asked Mark several questions via email.  Sally in St. Louis was curious about Mark's law student classes.  For example, were they fully enrolled, was property rights an important concern for the students and what about global space law issues.  Don't miss what Mark said about these subjects, law students and space law in general.  Mark went on to say that commercial space needed law and order, citing the current case involving Swarm Technologies and their having been denied a US launch license, then launching their satellites in India.  This led to a discussion about how we enforce space law and making sure the law keeps us with technology. 

I asked our guest for his opinion on preserving the lunar landing historical sites.  Mark supported this but discussed an elaborate way to do it through the Hague Convention he mentioned earlier.  This included his discussion for the need for a comprehensive space registry site for cultural and significant other sites/locations.  He explained to us how the registry might work so like before, let us know what you think of this idea.  Please post your comments on our blog.

Paul in NYC asked our guest if he agreed with statements made earlier in the year by Dr. Scott Pace that US policy would no longer consider space a global commons.  Mark said he thought space was a commons but not to the extreme to turning space into a type of national park.  This was a very interesting discussion so I urge you to listen carefully to what our guest had to say on the topic.  Mark mentioned space arbitration rules and the leadership of Holland in this  area.  He again referred us to the Hague Working Group that was referenced earlier.  As was said, he did support the idea of space as commons but you should hear all of what he said on the topic. 

Please post your commons/questions on TSS blog for this show.  If you want to reach Dr. Sundahl, you can do so through me or his faculty website which was listed above.




space law, property rights and the OST and more

WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.

18 Jun 2018 Dr. Mark J. Sundahl
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

The Space Show Toll Free Number is only available on live broadcast programs. Please call 1-866-687-7223

  • moonwards-logo

  • The Space Foundation Conference