5 Treaties of Space Law

Five international treaties underpin space law and are overseen by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). The demarcation between airspace and space is not yet defined by law Click here for the latest information on the status of the five space-specific treaties. Insights – 2017 and the fiftieth anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty: swfound.org/news/all-news/2017/01/insight-2017-and-the-fiftieth-anniversary-of-the-outer-space-treaty. Each of these contracts is briefly presented below; In the following articles (links will be provided as soon as they are available), I will also try to examine each of them in detail. The Outer Space Treaty was officially opened for signature on 27 January 1967 and entered into force on 10 October 1967. As of July 2017, 107 countries were parties to the Outer Space Treaty, while another 23 countries had signed but not ratified it. Developed at a time when space-related activities were still in their infancy, simplicity is at the heart of the Outer Space Treaty. Because of this property, the Outer Space Treaty is subject to multiple interpretations that limit its practical usefulness. However, as the first major international outer space treaty, the Outer Space Treaty served as the fundamental backbone of all major space laws adopted over the past 50 years. No appropriation of any part of outer space may take place Article VIII of the Outer Space Treaty recognizes that the state of registration retains jurisdiction and control over the space object. States have certain obligations to rescue and return astronauts and space objects The Outer Space Treaty is the oldest with 110 signatories. Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty establishes a regime of governmental liability for anything that can be considered a “national activity in outer space”, including by non-governmental entities that have no connection with the Government.

It is the most comprehensive of all the space-specific treaties and the ensuing space-specific treaties can be considered as a complement to the Outer Space Treaty. In 2018, two space lawyers – Christopher Hearsey and Nathan Johnson – founded the Space Court Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization that promotes and supports space law and civic education, as well as the rule of law. The Space Court Foundation produces educational materials and scholarships through the management of two major projects: Stellar Decisis and the Space Court Law Library. The Foundation is engaged in partnerships and collaborations that help raise awareness about space law and how disputes in space can be resolved as people move away from Earth in the not too distant future. [79] The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is the forum for the elaboration of international space law. The Committee had concluded five international treaties and five sets of principles for space-related activities. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its subcommittees on science, technology and law operate on the basis of consensus, that is, all delegations of Member States must agree on all issues, whether it be the language of the Treaty before it can be included in the final version of a treaty or new items on the agenda of the Committee/Subcommittee. One of the reasons why UN treaties on outer space have no definitions and are not clear in other respects is that it is easier to reach consensus when the language and terms are vague. In recent years, the Subcommittee on Legal Affairs has not been able to reach consensus on the discussion of a new comprehensive space agreement (the idea of which, however, has only been proposed by some Member States). It was also unlikely that the Subcommittee would be able to accept an amendment to the Outer Space Treaty in the foreseeable future. Many space countries seemed to believe that discussing a new space agreement or an amendment to the Outer Space Treaty would be pointless and time-consuming, as deep-rooted differences over resource ownership, property rights and other issues related to commercial activities made consensus unlikely. In international law, therefore, there are many ways of claiming, occupying, using and possessing sovereignty.

The Moon Agreement therefore excludes the application of this principle in order to reaffirm that this is linked to the Outer Space Treaty. The scope of the term “domestic activity in space” leads to the possibility of overlapping licensing regimes, so an emerging space entrepreneur from Australia who wants to launch a satellite in the UK, for example, would have to be licensed in two jurisdictions. However, there are no restrictions on the transit of weapons of mass destruction through outer space or restrictions on conventional weapons, although article IV lists some specific prohibitions on military activity on the Moon and other celestial bodies. This would include, for example, the inherent right to national self-defence recognized in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, and thus defensive military activities in outer space would be lawful. The implementation of these activities would be subject to the relevant elements of the Armed Conflict Act. Click here to find out how many states have ratified the treaties! Nevertheless, it is considered clear that international space law applies to objects in orbit and beyond, that it applies to things that can be called “space objects”, including rockets at least from the moment of “intentional ignition”, it applies to astronauts and it applies to any behavior that can be called “national activity in space”. Space must generally be used for non-aggressive purposes, and the moon and other celestial bodies are subject to certain restrictions for “peaceful purposes”. Ethics can be defined as “the task of being human.” In space law, ethics extends to issues of space exploration, space tourism, space ownership, militarization of space, environmental protection, and distinction of the boundaries of space itself.

[10] The rescue and repatriation agreement provides for the rescue and return of astronauts in distress at sea and in space to their launch authorities. The Moon Treaty was officially opened for signature on 18 December 1979 and entered into force on 11 July 1984. However, given that the majority of space countries (including the United States, Russia, China, Japan and several members of the European Space Agency) have not ratified, signed or acceded to the Lunar Treaty, the agreement has no far-reaching practical implications. As of July 2017, only 17 countries were parties to the Lunar Treaty and another 4 countries had signed the instrument. The liability agreement is rather what would be the responsibility of the starting statistics or even individuals are private companies. One can`t help but think of Elon Musk about these space activities carried out by private companies or individuals. This has been interpreted as an obstacle to the assertion of property rights by a State, commercial entity or individual in any part of outer space, although it remains unclear whether this applies to space resources once they have been extracted from a celestial body. The Outer Space Treaty constitutes the fundamental legal framework of international space law. Its principles include placing weapons of mass destruction in Earth orbit, installing them on the Moon or another celestial body, or stationing them in space.

It expressly restricts the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use to test weapons of any kind, to carry out military maneuvers or to establish military bases, installations and fortifications (Article IV). However, the treaty does not prohibit the orbiting of conventional weapons and, therefore, some highly destructive attack tactics, such as kinetic bombing, are still potentially permitted. [11] The treaty also states that space exploration should be carried out in the interest of all countries and that outer space should be free for exploration and use by all states. In 2016, Luxembourg established a formal legal framework that ensures that private companies engaged in the extraction of resources in space have rights to these resources. [61] International coordination and cooperation is facilitated by the growing Inter-Institutional Coordination Group for International Space Exploration planned for the Lunar Gateway space station, which mimics cooperation for the ISS. Article III is an operational component of the Treaty and recognizes the application of the Charter of the United Nations, which respects the sovereignty of States, up to and including acts of aggression.