Byers, M. and A. Boley, Who Owns Outer Space?: International Law, Astrophysics, and the Sustainable Development of Space, 2023

From Space debris to asteroid strikes to anti-satellite weapons, humanity's rapid expansion into Space raises major environmental, safety, and security challenges. In this book, Michael Byers and Aaron Boley, an international lawyer and an astrophysicist, identify and interrogate these challenges and propose actionable solutions. They explore essential questions from, 'How do we ensure all of humanity benefits from the development of Space, and not just the world's richest people?' to 'Is it possible to avoid war in Space?' Byers and Boley explain the essential aspects of Space science, international law, and global governance in a fully transdisciplinary and highly accessible way. Addressing the latest and emerging developments in Space, they equip readers with the knowledge and tools to engage in current and critically important legal, policy, and scientific debates concerning the future development of Space. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


‘The rapid development of outer space demands cross-cutting research, rigorous analysis, and actionable recommendations. This book delivers.’

Timiebi Aganaba - Arizona State University

‘Marvel at the wonders the Webb Telescope reveals, but then journey with Michael Byers and Aaron Boley through the scientific and policy challenges that will determine whether humanity succeeds or fails in the final frontier of outer space.’

David P. Fidler - Council on Foreign Relations and National Academies Committee on Planetary Protection

‘Ultimately this is a book about Space Environmentalism; I hope that in reading it, you experience an inner shift, biased toward positive and compassionate action.’

Moriba Jah - University of Texas at Austin and Chief Scientist, Privateer

‘This unique book, written by world-leading experts in space sciences and international law, is essential for understanding the most fundamental challenges to space exploration and use, and finding viable solutions to them.’

Ram S. Jakhu - McGill University

‘Brilliant, provocative, and engaging reading on the challenges that underlie humanity’s expansion into Space. Byers and Boley adroitly interweave threads of law, policy, science and international relations to explore how Space activities both now and in the near-term future raise serious questions about how the Space environment should be sustainably governed. Their analysis and ideas for solutions are essential reading for space policymakers and industry leaders.’

Andrew Williams - European Southern Observatory

‘Who Owns Outer Space? The question sounds simple, and one might look for a simple answer. But geopolitical aspects as well as the increase of commercialisation of space request serious evaluations and comprehensive positions. By providing all of this, the book is of outstanding importance for the development of sustainability in space.’

Johann-Dietrich ‘Jan’ Wörner - former Director General of the European Space Agency