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Dr Thomas Eric Leslie Cheney

Profile summary

Web links

Professional biography

Thomas Cheney is Lecturer in Space Governance within AstrobiologyOU, at the Open University. He is active in researching space law, policy and governance. His research focuses on planetary protection and environmental aspects of space governance, as well as space resources and property rights.

He is also co-lead of the Space Generation Advisory Council’s Space Law and Policy Project Group and has, among other things, represented SGAC at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. He was also a member of the Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group and participated in the development of Building Blocks for the Development of an International Framework on Space Resource Activities. Thomas is also Executive Director of the Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization.

He has a PhD in space law from Northumbria University, where his research focused on space resources and the associated issues of the relationship between property rights and sovereignty.

Research interests

Space Governance

Planetary Protection and the space environment

Space Resources

Property rights

Sovereignty and jurisdiction

Customary International Law

Impact and engagement

Thomas Cheney (2018) ‘Written Evidence SIB01’ Public Bill Committee, 24 January 2018

Thomas Cheney (2017) ‘Written Evidence (AIC0098)’ House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Select Committee, 11 October 2017.

External collaborations

Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization - Executive Director


There's No Rush: Developing a Legal Framework for Space Resource Activities (2019)
Cheney, Thomas
Journal of Space Law, 43 (pp. 106-150)

Developing and Adapting Space Law to Govern Long Term and Permanent Human Settlement of Outer Space, the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (2019-11-01)
Cheney, Thomas
In : 61st Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space (4 Oct 2018, Bremen, Germany) (pp. 959-976)