Michelle L.D. Hanlon is Co-Director of the Air and Space Law Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law and its Center for Air and Space Law. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Space Law, the world’s oldest law journal dedicated to the legal problems arising out of human activities in outer space. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Drone Law and Policy, the first legal journal focused on law and regulations governing the operation and use of uncrewed aircraft in both civilian and military capacities. Her research and advocacy centers upon the concept of “due regard” in space law and evolving the framework necessary to assure that human exploration of space is responsible, successful and sustainable. In this regard she has done considerable work and written and presented extensively on topics related to orbital debris remediation, space solar power, small satellite constellations, environmental considerations and the protection of human heritage in space.
Michelle is also Co-Founder and President of For All Moonkind, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that is the only organization in the world focused on obtaining international legal recognition for and protection of human cultural heritage in outer space. In this capacity, she was instrumental in the development of the One Small Step Act in the United States, the first national legislation to acknowledge the existence of human heritage in outer space. For All Moonkind has been recognized by the United Nations as a Permanent Observer to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and Michelle contributes regularly to the international discourse on space law through the Committee. Most recently, Michelle urged the United Nations to recognize and adopt temporary heritage protection zones around certain sites on the Moon as part of a legal framework for space resource utilization. Under Michelle’s leadership, more than 100 space law and heritage law experts from every inhabited continent contribute their valuable time and experience to advance For All Moonkind’s important mission
Michelle serves as President of the National Space Society and the mentor to the National Space Society Legal Fellows program. She was recently appointed to The Hague Institute for Global Justice Off-World Approach project. She also serves on the Advisory Committees of a number of space-related start-up organizations.
Michelle received her B.A. in Political Science from Yale College and her J.D. magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center. She earned her LLM in Air and Space Law from McGill University where the focus of her research was commercial space and the intersection of commerce and public law. Prior to focusing on aviation and space law, Michelle was engaged in a private business law practice. Her legal career commenced with the restructuring of sovereign debt for a number of South and Latin American countries and evolved into the negotiation and implementation of cross-border technology mergers and acquisitions. Her subsequent solo practice advised entrepreneurs across four continents on all aspects of bringing their innovative ideas to market: from basic corporate formation to financings and buyouts. Michelle continues to provide advice and counsel in respect of all aspects of air, space and cyber law through the consulting firm of ABH Aerospace, LLC.
LL.M., McGill University
J.D., Georgetown University
B.A., Yale College