35Created by MRKfrom the Noun Project
35Created by MRKfrom the Noun Project
35Created by MRKfrom the Noun Project
Launching new directions of commons scholarship
Is Outer space a global commons?
Space, the final frontier of governing the commons
How to manage our space junk?


February 24 - 26, 2021






January 2, 2021

January 15, 2021

January 23, 2021

February 15, 2021

Add to Calendar 02/24/2021 06:00 AM 02/26/2021 05:00 PM America/Phoenix Commons in Space 2021 Virtual Conference Online, Worldwide
Add to Calendar 02/24/2021 06:00 AM 02/26/2021 05:00 PM America/Phoenix Commons in Space 2021 Virtual Conference Online, Worldwide


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Welcome to the

IASC 2021 Commons in Space Virtual Conference

Aim & Scope

We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, and webinar panel discussions. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners on the commons in space. We will cover topics from the satellites and space debris increasingly congesting orbital space, mining of celestial bodies, diverse perspectives on space as a global commons, protection of dark night sky, going beyond Antarctica and High Sea regulations as models for space law, and much more.

The topic of outer space as global commons received a boost of attention by the April 2020 Executive Order of President Donald J Trump, declaring that outer space should not be viewed as a global commons. What are the implications of this perspective, as well as the increasing participation of private actors in space exploration? How do we create a fair use of the benefits of knowledge and innovations due to space research? How do we solve collective action problems to ensure the long-term sustainability of space exploration activities?

As a virtual conference within a series of conferences organized by the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), we will facilitate a discussion between space scholars and scholars studying more traditional commons. What can we learn from governing shared resources on Earth to derive fair and productive outcomes when governing shared resources in space? And what can commons scholars, working on local and regional scales, learn from space commons that face governance on a scale beyond planet Earth? How can commons scholarship provide models for diverse stakeholder groups to have agency and voice as humanity takes important steps towards sustained human presence on the Moon, Mars and beyond?



  • Moon governance – how to regulate the use of various types of resources on the Moon in light of recent U.S. developments? 
  • Governance challenges for Mars exploration.
  • The future of space governance – If outer space is a global commons, how can the international framework deal with the increasing diversity of actors?
  • Reasoning by Analogy: Is Space like Antarctica, the High Seas, or Cyberspace? 
  • Earth orbit use – Governance of orbital environment for use on satellites, spacecraft and telecommunications.
  • What can we learn from terrestrial commons, such as fisheries, to manage our orbital commons?
  • Mining of celestial bodies – What are the possible governance arrangements, and what can we learn on governance from mining on planet Earth?
  • Sustainable development of space – what are concepts that could be used to promote sustainability? 
  • Access to outcomes of space exploration (for example, access to satellite data and other discoveries, innovations)
  • How to manage shared resources in human spaceflight and human missions to Mars?
  • Unlocking space benefit: defining different types of values of the space sector and how to measure impacts
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the commons of space 
  • How to manage the cultural and scientific heritage of space exploration
  • Dark sky as a global commons – governance of dark skies in the interests of astronomy, wildlife, and dark cities movement.

Types of


We welcome different kinds of contributions:

The focus of a webinar is debate. Panelists may make short statements after which there is a moderated discussion during which questions from the audience are addressed. The duration of the webinar is 1 hour.

A session consists of at least four 10 minutes video presentations and has their designated space on the conference website.

An individual presentation is a pre-recorded 10 minutes video. Participants asynchronously interact with the presenter on the presentation in the comment section.

Short films and artistic works related to the themes, interviews or other online activities.


Online Conference

No hassle, costs, or carbon emissions from traveling. Attend the entire conference safely from home.


Three Days

Three days packed with prerecorded sessions and live events.


Meetup and Network

Interact with your peers during networking events .


Important Dates

January 15, 2021

Deadline for abstract submission

January 15, 2021
January 23, 2021

Notification of acceptance

January 23, 2021
February 15, 2021

Deadline for pre-recorded video submission

February 15, 2021
February 24-26, 2021

Event dates

February 24-26, 2021



This virtual conference is accessible for small fees to cover the costs of the implementation of the meetings. All presenters will have to be or become IASC members. IASC members pay 10 dollars to attend the virtual conference live. All conference material will be available to IASC members after the conference. If you are not an IASC member, you can easily register here. Non-IASC members can attend the conference for a fee of 50 dollars. Dependent on sponsoring, waivers are available for early-career scholars and practitioners from the global south.

IASC Members
$ 10
$ 50

Meet The

Steering Committee

Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty

Assistant Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and Space Advisory Project Lead at Arizona State University, USA

Steven Freeland

Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University, Australia

Alice Gorman

Associate Professor in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the Flinders University of South Australia

Marco A. Janssen

Professor in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, USA, and President of the International Association for the Study of the Commons

Tanja Masson-Zwaan

Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University, The Netherlands

Akhil Rao

Assistant Professor of Economics at Middlebury College, USA

Jessy Kate Schingler

Director of Policy and Governance at the Open Lunar Foundation, USA

Scott Shackelford

Affiliated Professor of Law; Associate Professor of Business Law and Ethics at Indiana University, USA

Andrew Woods

Professor of law at the University of Arizona College of Law, USA

Menelisi Falayi

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhodes University, South Africa


Event Sponsors