The US's Federal Aviation Administration will extend its framework for licensing space launches to licensing developments on the Moon. Are we facing a lunar land grab? Not exactly. The report is a letter from the FAA to Bigelow Aerospace, a company that has developed expandable living modules for the ISS and hopes to put inflatable, modular stations on the Moon and Mars.
The letter, dated from December, is all about whether Bigelow would be able to claim the right to develop a habitat on a particular part of the Moon, without any other mission or project interfering. According to Reuters, the FAA says that Bigelow's theoretical development would be protected. In its letter, the agency said it plans to leverage its "existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis," continuing, "we recognise the private sector's need to protect its assets and personnel on the moon or on other celestial bodies.