Commercial Mining of Celestial Bodies: A Legal Framework for Mining Temporarily-Captured Orbiters Regarding the Notion of “Patria Economicus”

  • Sami Mehmeti Assistant Professor
  • Bekim Buhija
  • Stefani Stojchevska


The purpose of this research paper is to propose a legal framework for mining temporarily-captured orbiters (TCO) as promising candidates for commercial mining. Legally regulating these mini-moons equates the consideration that space mining laws, such as the Luxembourg Law and the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, should guarantee an indubitable commercialization. Primary motivations for mining celestial bodies include extracting and processing valuable materials for commercial purposes. However, space legislators are facing problematic challenges of bringing space law into the commercial world. Specifically defining which celestial bodies would be most profitable to mine, and how exactly can we regulate that process regarding property rights without sovereignty are the main legal aspects of commercial mining. While space law does not directly subject the commercialization concept, thus aggravating existing space industries, a new dilemma arises: Exploitation or Commercialization?   

Consequently, the commercial regulation of mining TCO is introduced by comparing essential economic and commercial concepts for creating an appropriate legal regime. From the Homo Economicus concept to coining the “Patria Economicus” notion, commerce space law must define States’ or private mining companies’ economic intentions and put them in a legal perspective for regulating the commercialization of minerals and other materials from TCO.


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