Broadcast 2886 Laura Montgomery

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Laura Montgomery;  Topics: Article 6 of the OST, self-executing treaty provisions, space regulatory matters 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 Laura Montgomery, former FAA/AST regulatory attorney to the show to discuss space regulatory issues, specifically Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 39 minute discussion, Ms. Montgomery introduced us to the legal side of space regulatory issues and Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty.  We also talked about her recent congressional testimony on these matters which you can see here: (note that the hearing does not start until several minutes into the recording so be patient while blank space rolls by).  Our guest used deep space mining as example for much of what she talked about, plus she talked about regulatory authority of the FCC and NOAA as well as the FAA.

Our guest had much to say about the need for a treaty and various segments of it to be executed by congress or to be self-executing.  This is an extremely important discussion, not just for our Space Show program, but for understanding the Outer Space Treaty provisions as well as other treaty matters.  We talked about differing legal opinions on self-execution, especially when related to Article 6.  Laura was very good and crystal clear in explaining her position on these matters while she did a pretty good job of explaining the opinions of those that believe otherwise.  Another example she provided was the recent regulation signed by President Obama to regulate everything in outer space. This was discussed extensively, even down to a toothbrush and a harp making music on the surface of the Moon.   You do not want to miss this discussion.

Joe from Boston talked about the need for regulation to avoid greed and chaos, suggesting government, through regulation, would have successful oversight on commercial space companies.  Our guest talked about the folly of regulating behavior.  She had much to say on this topic and others related to it.  She talked about the proper role of congress and regulations which related to national security and safety issues. 

Property rights were discussed and Article 2 of the OST was referenced.  She talked about a recently proposed plan by Rand Simberg that would extend US property right to anyone, including those not from the U.S.  In discussing this subject in addition to Article 6,  Laura provided us with an interesting historical summary of commercial space issues.

I brought up the information Jim Cantrell provided on the Sunday program when he talked about auto racing being self-regulated with an enviable track record.  I asked her if she thought that was applicable to space.  Don't miss what she said as a reply to my question.  Before the segment ended, we talked about ways for a company to get an FAA legal clarification of a regulation or something the company might want to do.

In the second segment, a listener asked about the use of best practices setting industry standards for development..  Laura had much to say about this, including problems with vagueness.  This was another mini-discussion from the program that you do not want to miss. 

Janet from Seattle opened the environmental door and this too became a very important discussion on our show. We talked about the human environment which implies there the existence of a non-human environment.  This came up when she was asked about the Moon by various listeners. Laura said establishing a non-human environment was not totally clear but offer lots of guidance.  It was her view that the Moon, Mars, and such were not human environments so there would be no extension of environmental concerns to these and other areas for space development. 

Sally asked Laura about partisanship in the government organizations and if the regulations were partisan in nature.  This was another interesting discussion you do not want to miss.  You might be surprised by what our guest said on this topic. 

There were many other short topic discussions in this segment before the program ended.  However, there were two interesting final questions.  One asked about informed consent and if SpaceX had obtained informed consent docs from the two people that want to fly around the Moon.  Laura gave us the references to read the code which details what should be in informed consent. Check Title 14 CFR 460.41 for the rules and 460.45.  The final question dealt with Planetary Protection and Article 9 of the OST.  She said that was not self-executing.  A true zinger of a statement to end our discussion but I promised to bring her back to discuss her views on Article 9 in detail.  For sure, Ms. Montgomery has controversial legal views on space regulation.  I enjoyed the good discussion on these issues and I hope you did too.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show.  You can reach our guest at her website,  You can also reach her through me.




commercial space regulatory issues, Art. 6 of the OST

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20 Mar 2017 Laura Montgomery
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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