Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS): UK Statement on Space Resources at the 61st Legal Sub-Committee

Chair,

The United Kingdom welcomes the opportunity to share with you the work we are carrying out on the development of a policy for the use of space resources and to share with you our views on the legal aspects associated with a such activity. As expressed at the Legal Sub-Committee in 2021, the UK believes that COPUOS can and should focus on the use of “in situ space assets”. Radio waves or geostationary orbital slots fall under the jurisdiction of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Chair,

The UK is a proud signatory to both the Outer Space Treaty, as the foundation for global governance of outer space, and the Artemis Accords because we fully recognize the opportunity that the use of resources in space offers us, as well as the international community at large.

In situ space assets will help us unlock deep space exploration, propel scientific research, design the tools and technologies of the future, and ultimately enable humans to live, work and to sustain life on the lunar surface and other celestial bodies.

Chair,

Nationally, we have invested over £500,000 to help UK industry and universities conduct research associated with the use of space resources. This includes support from Metalysis, Thales Alenia Space UK (TAS-UK) and AVS on extracting oxygen from lunar regoliths using the FCC Cambridge process, the Open University on developing ways to heat the regolith to assist lunar construction activities, and the University of Southampton and University College London on plasma water purification systems.

The UK is developing a new policy for lunar orbit and lunar surface missions; lay the groundwork for future missions and define how space resources can be used, and that is why we have repeatedly underlined our commitment to the United Nations Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space and ensure that all our activities are fully compliant with the Outer Space Treaty. We look forward to providing updates on this in future sessions.

Chair,

The UK supports the work plan proposed by the Space Resources Working Group and we would like to thank Chair Andrzej Misztal and Vice-Chair Steven Freeland for their excellent leadership. We would like to actively encourage all Member States to share information on their activities related to the use of space resources, including their nature, conduct and location, as we believe this is necessary to identify the work to be done in this domain. This is a key step in our work. Without understanding the types of missions offered, we will not be able to move forward; to exchange views on how our legal framework applies to activities and where there might be future recommendations.

Finally, Mr President, the United Kingdom believes that by sharing detailed information on space resource activity and effectively supporting the Space Resource Working Group, we can ensure that space resource activity is , and continues to be, conducted in a safe, sustainable and peaceful manner. way for the good and interest of all.

Thank you president.

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