What are the 5 space treaties?

Five specific treaties on space: Outer Space Treaty (196) 105 ratifications + 25 signatures. Rescue and Return Agreement (196) 95 ratifications + 24 signatures. Liability Convention (197) 94 ratifications + 20 signatures. Registration Convention (197) 63 ratifications + 4 signatures.

There are five international treaties that support space law, supervised by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). The Registration Convention, which is a fairly simple treaty, plays a fundamental role in strengthening and ensuring the success of other United Nations treaties related to space. However, the United States wanted to make outer space available for free market principles, ensuring that private space-related companies could develop and thrive. Since the Cold War, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the Outer Space Treaty) and the International Telecommunication Union have served as a constitutional legal framework and set of principles and procedures that constitute space law.

Space law also seeks to provide a framework for the resolution of disputes relating to issues that arise in space. Ultimately, a compromise was reached — through article VI of the Outer Space Treaty — whereby private commercial activities in outer space were allowed, but they must be authorized by the State party, which would also assume responsibility and responsibility for those activities. For example, without an adequate registration system, countries will not be able to correctly identify and notify the appropriate launching party responsible for the spacecraft in danger. The Convention on Spatial Responsibility was officially opened for signature on March 29, 1972 and entered into force on September 1, 1972.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.

As indicated in its UN draft resolution, the Soviet Union wanted to limit activities in outer space only to national governments (outer space is “free for exploration and use by all States”). In addition, countries will also find it difficult to successfully demand the payment of compensation for damage under the Convention on Space Liability. Space legislation also covers national laws, and many countries have passed national space laws in recent years. All activities in space must be linked to a nation, and any damage to another nation's equipment or facilities caused by another party must be fully reimbursed to that nation.

The Legal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has been a principal forum for the debate and negotiation of international agreements relating to outer space. In addition, the signatories pledge to help return to the sponsoring nation any space object that lands on Earth outside the country from which it was launched. While the two nations were on the opposite side of the Space Race, both participants had recognized the extreme danger and catastrophic effects of a possible war in outer space. Space machines and the spatial colonization of organisms or the potentials of synthetic phenomenology (such as artificial life) could entail risks of suffering.


Jeannie Eschenbrenner
Jeannie Eschenbrenner

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