Space has always been called the "New Frontier", and as innovation continues to keep this industry on its toes, laws and regulations are struggling to keep up. Space Law is divided into two main categories:
Law that deals with how Space-based companies operate, including manufacturing, communication, export, innovation, and employee safety
Law that deals with international treaties, trade agreements, and contracts between industry players
The overlap between these categories significantly impacts the day-to-day business of new companies just entering the Commercialization of Space arena. The uncertainty and swift regulatory changes, or oftentimes the lack thereof, make operations and contracting agreements difficult to navigate because they need to be constantly updated to be fully compliant. This is where Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) begins to provide solutions to a smoother and more integrated process.
Distributed ledgers allow multiple parties to collaborate and transparently share information while providing Permissioned Access for more sensitive data. These ledgers are append-only, meaning that there is a clear historical track record of any changes or updates that Space companies - Public or Private - need to be aware of such as safety regulations and communication for peaceful military cooperation. They can also streamline Certificates of Authentication and Application Registrations, significantly lowering the time and cost of executing contracts based on these factors. Self-executing contracts can be programmed within the framework of a distributed ledger to allow for the future Internet of Things to operate more efficiently. Not to mention that the DLT model of information storage provides extensive cybersecurity benefits that keep Corporate trade secrets and National Security threats from competitors and adversaries.
According to NASA, The Artemis Accords are a treaty to "create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy." They focus on cooperation between Nation States through transparency, interoperability, registration of space objects, sharing of scientific data, and utilizing space resources. Yet, only a few countries have signed on, excluding major Space players like Russia, China, and Germany. Since DLT is based on consensus protocols, carrying out these initiatives with distributed ledgers would foster trust, security, and cooperation. All parties would be able to participate equally and in a verifiable way. Any violations of these agreements would be immediately apparent, and any changes could be reviewed and voted on swiftly between all parties.
The DLT experts at Lunargistics are working on platforms that will make this type of transparent collaboration available for everyone interested in Deep Space exploration, from researchers to entrepreneurs. We build hardware and software solutions that make the process of launching something into Space exponentially easier.
Awareness of Space Compliance is becoming more crucial as new players are entering the industry, so if innovation and competitive advantage are the goals, humanity needs a systemic upgrade of the current International Space Law infrastructure.