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Dr Thomas Cheney

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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 taking an environmental approach, grounded in legal geography and environmental humanities, to space governance. He also researches space resources and property rights, the use of outer space, and arms control in outer space.

Thomas won Kings College London’s Centre for Science and Security Studies’ Arms Control Idol 2020. Thomas was Executive Director of the Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization; a co-lead of the Space Generation Advisory Council’s Space Law and Policy Project Group. 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. He has also participated in Open Lunar/Breaking Ground Trust's Deliberation On Our Resource Rights (DOORR) process which developed a set of reccomendaitons for lunar resource policy.

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

Please Note: Other than advertised positions I am currently not taking on any new PhD candidates

Space Governance

Planetary Protection and the Space Environment

Space Resources

Property Rights

Sovereignty and Jurisdiction

Customary International Law

Legal Geography

Environmental Humanities

Teaching interests

W260 - International, Environmental, and Space Law

W322 - SQE Property Law and Private Client Law

Impact and engagement

Thomas Cheney (2021) 'Written Evidence' (SPA0015) Science and Technology Select Committee, 27 October

AstrobiologyOU (2021) 'Written Evidence' (SPA0072) Science and Technology Select Committee, 27 October 

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.