What is the current space law?

There is no claim to sovereignty in space; no nation can “own” space, the Moon, or any other body. Weapons of mass destruction are prohibited in orbit and beyond, and the Moon, planets and other heavenly bodies can only be used for peaceful purposes. Space law can be described as the set of laws that govern space-related activities. Space law, like general international law, encompasses a variety of agreements, treaties, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as rules and regulations of international organizations.

Space policy is a combination of policies codified in these laws and policies issued by the President. Space policy, see our other sections on civil, military, commercial and international space activities. The United Nations (UN), which maintains an Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna, Austria, drafted five international treaties and five “declarations” and legal principles. UNOOSA manages the UN, the UN.

COPUOS is primarily concerned with non-military space activities. The Conference on Disarmament is the venue for most international debates on the “militarization” or “militarization” of space and on whether a treaty should be negotiated to ban weapons in outer space that are not yet prohibited by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The latter prohibits nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, but not other space weapons. The space treaties and the five “legal statements and principles” that the UN,.

The United States is a signatory to the first four of the following treaties:. It is not a signatory to the fifth, the Moon Agreement, nor are any of the other major countries with space programs (France and India signed the Moon Agreement, but have not ratified it). Where “outer space” appears in this synopsis, the full phrase is “outer space”, including the Moon and other heavenly bodies. Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space (the “Astronaut Rescue and Return Agreement”) Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the “Liability Convention”) Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the “Registration Convention”) Agreement governing the activities of States on the Moon and other heavenly bodies (the “Moon Agreement”).

The delimitation between airspace and outer space is not yet legally defined. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits the national appropriation of outer space, the Moon or any other heavenly body. The Artemis Agreements recognize the ban, but go further and affirm that the extraction of space resources does not inherently constitute a national appropriation. Deplano maintains that clarifying the term “national appropriation” does not amount to a modification of the definition of the Outer Space Treaty, but recognizes that it could influence future interpretations.

Space legislation also covers national laws, and many countries have enacted national space laws in recent years. International coordination and cooperation are facilitated by the growing Inter-Agency Group for the Coordination of International Space Exploration and is planned for the Lunar Gateway space station, emulating the cooperation of the ISS. At the beginning of the development of international space law, outer space was defined as res communis and not explicitly as terra nullius in the Magna Carta of Space presented by William A. The term “launching State” is defined as the State that launches or succeeds in the launch of a space object, or whose territory or facility is used for the launch of a space object, which gives rise to the possibility that there may be more than one “launching State” with respect to a single space object.

It is the most comprehensive of all treaties on outer space, and subsequent treaties on outer space can be considered complements to the Outer Space Treaty. The Rescue and Return Agreement provides for the rescue and return of endangered astronauts and space objects to their launch authorities. Weapons of mass destruction will not be placed in outer space, but there are no restrictions on conventional weapons. Eleven now has all the IISL proceedings, as well as the papers presented at the space law symposiums between the IISL-ECSL and Eilene M.

Many countries working in space seem to believe that discussing a new agreement on space or an amendment to the Outer Space Treaty would be futile and time-consuming, because deep-seated differences in relation to resource appropriation, property rights and other issues related to commercial activity make it unlikely that a consensus will be reached. It is also unlikely that the Subcommittee will be able to agree to amend the Outer Space Treaty in the near future. Space law addresses a variety of issues, such as the preservation of space and the Earth's environment, liability for damage caused by space objects, the resolution of disputes, the rescue of astronauts, the exchange of information on possible dangers in outer space, the use of space-related technologies and international cooperation. The Artemis Agreements establish ten principles that aim to reinforce and implement the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty.

This has been interpreted as an impediment to any assertion of property rights by any State, commercial entity or private person over any part of outer space, although it remains unclear whether it applies to space resources once they have been extracted from a heavenly body. However, in a recent article, legal scholar Rossana Deplano, from the University of Leicester, argues that, while the Artemis Agreements constitute very innovative uses of existing space legislation, they do not alter it. Countries with more advanced space programs have the opportunity to establish international standards through practice before other countries have a seat at the table. .


Jeannie Eschenbrenner
Jeannie Eschenbrenner

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