They say, “the sky’s the limit,” but perhaps not for long when it comes to commercial real estate development. The valuation of real estate is based on a simple principle: there is only so much land on the surface of our planet. What if we could open up a little more land for development, even if it isn’t the most convenient?
In response to a number of startup firms eyeing the possibility of commercial real estate development on the surface of the moon, the US Federal Aviation Administration has taken an interesting step to ensure “that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.”
According to Reuters, the FAA sent a letter to one such company hoping to take advantage of lunar real estate. The letter addresses the lack of a proper regulatory framework, noting shortcomings in the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty adopted in 1967, which among other things, bans nuclear weapons in outer space and prohibits “national claims to celestial bodies.” The FAA added some further clarification:
“We didn’t give (Bigelow Aerospace) a license to land on the moon. We’re talking about a payload review that would potentially be part of a future launch license request. But it served a purpose of documenting a serious proposal for a U.S. company to engage in this activity that has high-level policy implications,” said the FAA letter’s author, George Nield, associate administrator for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Transportation.
“We recognize the private sector’s need to protect its assets and personnel on the moon or on other celestial bodies,” the FAA wrote in the December letter to Bigelow Aerospace. The company, based in Nevada, is developing the inflatable space habitats. Bigelow requested the policy statement from the FAA, which oversees commercial space transportation in the U.S…
Bigelow Aerospace is expected to begin testing a space habitat aboard the International Space Station this year. The company intends to then operate free-flying orbital outposts for paying customers, including government agencies, research organizations, businesses and even tourists. That would be followed by a series of bases on the moon beginning around 2025, a project estimated to cost about $12 billion.
So there you go. Next stop for commercial real estate development: The Moon!
However, considering the FAA’s track record at regulating innovation (think DRONES!), I’m not convinced…
Image courtesy Wikimedia