On November 25, 2015, the President of the United States (US) signed into law the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. This event received extensive coverage, both in the press and legal literature, mostly due to the content of its Title IV dedicated to Space Resource Exploration and Utilization.
Pursuant to Title IV, US citizens shall be entitled under US law to collect, own, transport and sell asteroid and space resources that they have obtained in the course of resource recovery operations. Considering that international space law does not clarify whether space resources can be appropriated and used for commercial purposes, the enactment of the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act has been deemed by some commentators to amount to a breach of the international obligations of the US.
In light of this controversy, the purpose of the present paper is to assess the consistency of the Act with international space law and to discuss the legal and political implications related to its adoption and (future) implementation.Air and Space Law