Exploring the 5 International Space Laws

The five treaties and agreements of international space law are essential for the exploration and use of outer space. These treaties refer to the non-appropriation of outer space by any country, arms control, freedom of exploration, liability for damage caused by space objects, the safety and rescue of spaceships and astronauts, and the prevention of harmful interference with space activities. The Treaty on Outer Space is the oldest with 110 signatories. This agreement excludes the application of sovereignty, occupation, use and possession principles to the Moon.

NASA and other space agencies must do everything possible to avoid polluting outer space when they send spaceships to explore the cosmos. The Convention on Space Liability, or formally the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, delves into the regime of international liability introduced in article VII of the Outer Space Treaty. This treaty also defines “launch authority” and “personnel” of a spacecraft. Known colloquially as the “Outer Space Treaty”, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, was negotiated at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The US wanted to make outer space available for free market principles, ensuring that private space-related companies could develop and thrive. The Convention on Spatial Responsibility was officially opened for signature on March 29, 1972 and entered into force on September 1, 1972. This framework has allowed coordination between private entities and government agencies and has contributed to the success of private commercial space-related activities today. The Rescue Agreement and the Liability Convention expand upon the Outer Space Treaty. The Rescue Agreement is formally known as the “Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space”.

It has a total of ten articles and is the shortest of these five United Nations treaties related to space. The Registration Convention, or formally the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, is a fairly simple treaty that plays a fundamental role in strengthening and ensuring the success of other United Nations treaties related to space. Although only one official claim has been filed under the Convention on Space Responsibility, this treaty could become increasingly relevant as Earth's orbit becomes obstructed by more and more missing satellites. By prohibiting military actions in outer space, the Outer Space Treaty had the effect of promoting security and stability since restrictions publicly announced by all parties promoted “freedom and freedom” by increasing reliable and well-known areas in which law guarantees peace.

Each of these treaties underlines that outer space, its activities and benefits should be dedicated to improving humanity's well-being with emphasis on promoting international cooperation. They also ensure that communications systems work so that NASA can give permission to get on board a spacecraft under Outer Space Treaty regulations.

Jeannie Eschenbrenner
Jeannie Eschenbrenner

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