Released to press on Monday, November 10, 2014

In response to the recent proposal from the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, to appropriate the best sites on the South Pole of the Moon, Shackleton Energy Company is urging industry and space agencies to join its space infrastructure consortium.

Austin, TX: Shackleton Energy Company (SEC), a lunar mining company set up to extract water ice from the Moon, turn it into fuel and place it in refueling stations in space, issued a formal invitation to industry and space agencies to join its consortium to develop lunar resources. SEC’s announcement came on the heels of the news from Russia where a proposal jointly prepared by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and the Russian Academy of Sciences argued for the need for Russia to appropriate the most resource rich sites on the South Pole of the Moon by establishing and gradually expanding its lunar operations at those sites before other governments do the same. The Russian proposal is inferring that the US government is already attempting a de facto appropriation of territory on the Moon, which could be assumed from the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act introduced to U.S. Congress in 2013 with the objective to set up a U.S. national historic park around the Apollo landing sites. The proposal is likely in conflict with the 1967 Outer Space treaty established to contain sovereign ambitions from escalating into a destructive land grab in space. The Russian government is expected to vote on the proposal in December 2014.

Photo by Igor Sokalski/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Igor Sokalski/iStock / Getty Images

Commenting on the recommendation from Roscosmos, Dale Tietz, CEO of Shackleton Energy said:

While we share our Russian friends’ enthusiasm about the Moon and its resources, we think the sovereign appropriation of the best lunar sites by Russia or any other nation is not the way to go. That path will throw us back to the time when the Moon was nothing but a stage for terrestrial geopolitics.

We should absolutely forge ahead and set up lunar operations to extract the water ice deposits and other lunar resources but we should do it for the benefit of all mankind, not narrow national interests. The best way to do this is through a global private-public industrial consortium, not national appropriation. We have the program in place to develop lunar water ice resources and we would welcome new partners—public or private—to join forces in making space more accessible for everyone.

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About Russian Federal Space Agency Proposal 2014

Roscosmos, in cooperation with Russian Academy of Science (RAS) has prepared a new proposal for Moon exploration. The key differentiating factor in this proposal compared to earlier versions is the ideological question of the benefit gained from spending billions of dollars on such exploration; the answer is clearly stated as Russia should promptly stake a claim to the most promising areas of the Moon on the South Pole (http://izvestia.ru/news/578352). Roscosmos has requested its budget for 2016- 2025 for all space related programs totaling 2.3 trillion Rubles (USD53B) (http://gigamir.net/money/pub1015815). Significant plans for lunar operations have been proposed which include robotic landers as well as human operations and a base on the South Pole of the Moon (http://kosmolenta.com/index.php/377-2014-10-24-lunar-plans). The first robotic expedition will be looking for water as the initial goal and will commence in 2019 when the first missions toward the Moon begin. The South Pole of the Moon is considered the best place to take position and build a station, and Russia is aiming to establish de facto sovereign appropriation of locations on the Moon where there is maximum light for the longest periods of time, minimum fluctuations in temperature, and ice/water available at less than 2m depth (http://techno.bigmir.net/discovery/1578340-Rossija-hochet-nacionalizirovat--juzhnyj-poljus-na-Lune.

 

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