Re: SPACE: Property Claims and Sea Launching

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 04 Mar 1998 22:08:54 -0500

GBurch1 wrote:

> In a message dated 98-03-01 11:52:02 EST, Michael Lorrey wrote:
> > The reason why I think developing sea based enclaves now is a good idea is
> > that it
> > is an excellent and low cost test bed/training center for long term
> > habitation/colonization in space. For example the figures I believe that
> > John
> > Clark contributed of supertanker costs indicates that these are relatively
> > cheap.
> > A couple tens of millions for a whole supertanker? wow.
> Actually, I think John was saying that he thought it might cost ten times the
> approximately $100 million figure I supplied to make a supertanker liveable.
> I don't know if it would be that much, but the all-in cost of acquiring and
> converting a very large tanker would surely be more than $200 million and
> probably at least $300 million. To my subjective sense of economic
> proportion, this seems like such a high threshold of investment that the
> benefits offered by such an extra-national enclave would have to be VERY great
> in comparison to continuing a business within the confines of existing
> national territories.

I was talking with a freind of mine today who is an oil wildcatter. He said that
the reason tankers are in such demand today isn't for their transportation
capability, but merely for their storeage capacity, due to the present glut
overextending the present capacity of land based storeage for crude. He said that
a short three day war in Iraq would completely dry up this glut, and send tanker
prices down again.

> > > As to "claiming" things off Earth, the only certain legal regime at this
> > time
> > > is the UN Outer Space Treaty [snip]
> > However, since the US never signed or ratified this treaty, then any
> > operations
> > originating from the US are not bound by this treaty. This includes any
> > launches
> > originating from ANY U.S. posession, like the Marianas Islands, Puerto
> Rico,
> > etc.
> > Even if you launch from another site, if you 'reflag' once you get into
> > space,
> > then you are sitting happy.
> A few points here. Unlike the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.S.
> has formally ratified the UNOST. This isn't surprising, since the U.S. is one
> of the three sponsoring or "repository" countries for that treaty. The U.S.
> signed the treaty on January 27, 1967, the very first day it was opened for
> signature. ( However, note that the
> U.S. accepts UNCLOS as the codification of "customary international law" on
> all but one point (the "common heritage of mankind" provisions relating to
> seabed resources beyond the 200-mile EEZ limit). UNOST doesn't contain the
> "common heritage" idea.

It is my understanding that while we may have signed it, the Senate never ratified
it. Signing it doesn't mean jack. Also, how does this treaty apply to the same
issues as covered by the Moon treaty, which I know the US has no interest in.

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?