US companies might be able to use the existing licensing process used for space launches to claim lunar territory, according to documents obtained by Reuters.
In a letter to Bigelow Airspace — a maker of inflatable space habitats — the Federal Aviation Agency says it intends to “leverage the FAA’s 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.”
That means that just by setting up a habitat, Bigelow would be able to claim exclusive rights to that territory. Furthermore, any company staking a claim could tap “related areas” for mining, exploration, and other activities.
Nothing is set in stone, however….