International space law is a relatively undeveloped field primarily occupied by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (Treaty). This Treaty, while long on general principles, is short on details. With the United States’ recent push to return to the Moon by 2024 and send humans to Mars as soon as practicable after that, the time has come to fill in the gaps of the Outer Space Treaty out of necessity. The U.S. seeks to do this through the Artemis Accords (the Accords).
This Comment argues that the U.S. should use the Accords to develop a U.S.-centric legal and good governance regime in outer space. It does so by identifying how the U.S. can use the existing United Nations treaties on outer space—specifically the Outer Space Treaty—to provide legitimacy to the Accords and ultimately create state practice and opinio juris around the Accords, creating binding customary international law. This is the best path forward to secure U.S. interests in outer space and promote peace and stability in the final frontier.
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Walker A. Smith, Using the Artemis Accords to Build Customary International Law: A Vision for a U.S.-Centric Good Governance Regime in Outer Space, 86 J. Air L. & Com. 661 (2021).