Law in the Final Frontier: Ambiguities and Clarity in the Legal Regime of Outer Space

  • Louis Gleason Boston College
Keywords: Space, Outer Space, Criminal Jurisdiction, International Law, Space Exploration


As the private space industry and a new, twenty-first century space race burgeons, governments around the world will be forced to confront the deficits in outer space’s existing legal regime that continue to produce ambiguities that threaten humanity’s ability to peacefully explore the cosmos. Space is no longer strictly the domain of governments and government personnel. In the coming decades, we will bear witness to the beginnings of the civilization of space–something the existing legal regime is not prepared to govern. The foremost reason for the current regime’s inadequate is its failure to clearly expound legal jurisdiction in space, which creates room for contests of jurisdiction and renders the existence, role, and protection of private property in space uncertain. These ambiguities make justice more difficult to attain, are easily exploited by competing states by way of gray zone tactics, and threaten private investment in space. This article addresses the problems in the current legal regime of space, a common proposed solution to these problems, and the problems that exist within that solution. This article ultimately aims to raise awareness of the flaws in outer space’s legal regime and calls upon policymakers to ameliorate these deficits to ensure humanity maintains a peaceful and productive use of the invaluable cosmos so that we may continue to reap its enormous benefits

How to Cite
Gleason, L. (2021). Law in the Final Frontier: Ambiguities and Clarity in the Legal Regime of Outer Space. Bellarmine Law Society Review, 11(2). Retrieved from