What Laws Govern Space

The Conference on Disarmament has a full mandate to deal with, including negotiations and discussions on “ending the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; the prevention of nuclear war; preventing an arms race in outer space; effective international agreements to protect non-nuclear-weapon States from the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; and new types of weapons of mass destruction”. However, due to the impasse in member States, there has not been sufficient discussion and substantive debate on crucial measures such as the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) and nuclear disarmament. Overall, the treaty requires that the exploration and use of outer space be free, in the interest of all countries and not as part of the claim to national sovereignty. The moon and other bodies may only be used for peaceful purposes. Nations were responsible for national space activities and were responsible for damage caused by their space objects. This applies, for example, to Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and, more recently, New Zealand. India and China have acted on the basis of political decisions, reflecting the lack of commercial space activities in these countries. In both cases, this is changing, and China has recently passed laws, and India is about to do so. Want to learn more about the history of the space race from first-hand resources? Visit the Wilson Center`s Digital Archive on the Space Race, which contains documents about the 20th century competition for supremacy in space capability between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Registration Convention Act is something like the registration of space vehicles.

At a time when space is developing and developing faster than intergovernmental organizations can compete, it is quite clear that the current framework of global space governance – a product of the Cold War – is no longer sufficient. In its current state, the global space governance framework excludes many space activities and allows actors to operate according to far-reaching and often contradictory interpretations of existing agreements. Although there have been many attempts to improve the governance framework, progress in this area has stagnated, largely due to diplomatic impasses between international actors, and has had a negative impact on the sustainable development of outer space. Governments are responsible for all national activities in outer space, even the activities of fully independent non-governmental institutions Another question is where space begins in the first place. The Earth`s atmosphere has no fixed limit, making it difficult to determine whether air law or space law should apply at a certain altitude, and whether space flights can be considered a violation of the airspace of another country. Several countries have recently updated their space law, including Luxembourg in 2017[36], the United States in 2015[37] and Japan with the Basic Law on Space in 2008. [38] Due to the expansion of the field of space exploration and related activities, the Space Activities Bill was introduced in India in 2017. [39] Efforts to codify the legal system are mainly represented in the Manual on International Law Applicable to the Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) and the Woomera Manual. [77] [78] As with the San Remo and Tallinn manuals, the aim is to clarify space law. Although it is easier to agree in the short term, the passive support of various States and private actors under non-binding agreements – such as the United Nations General Assembly Principles and the Code of Conduct for Space Activities – will not last in the long term. One thing is clear: multilateral efforts have not proven to be fully effective, and more is needed to bring order to the pursuit of new space interests. For the current status of international agreements relating to activities in outer space, see the report on the status of international agreements of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs relating to activities in outer space.

With regard to the question of who prosecutes space crimes, the short answer is that a space criminal would generally be subject to the law of the country of which he is a citizen or the country in which his registered spacecraft was committed, since the treaty grants that country authority “over any personnel of that country”. This, and the cold war idea that the United States or Russia would attempt to colonize outer space and create a nuclear weapons base there, helped inspire the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty. 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. The term “appropriate consideration” is not further defined in space-specific treaties. 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. It is not clear to what extent a space activity of a national of one State should bring an advantage to other States (as opposed to an advantage only to the State involved in the activity), but State practice suggests that it is a very low threshold, if there is a threshold at all. Although other States have laws and may carry out activities that have some influence on the space object, such laws and activities would be invalid or illegal to the extent that they constitute control over the space object.

In other words, only the state of registration can take enforcement action with respect to the space object. Space debris. With half a million dead objects in Earth orbit, some countries are now voluntarily taking steps to prevent more space debris – such as deliberately encircling satellites to hit the Earth`s atmosphere. Without special attention, some experts fear that access to space will be restricted by debris, but it is unclear what legal implications this will have. In 2007, China was condemned internationally for deliberately destroying a satellite in Earth orbit, resulting in a cloud of space debris. In 2013, some of this debris damaged a Russian satellite. For Australia, this is complicated by the fact that Australia is one of the 18 parties to the Moon Agreement, which reinforces the obvious obstacle to the assertion of property rights and adds a concept of space as a “common heritage of mankind”. Article 11, paragraph 5, of the Moon Agreement suggests the establishment of an international regime (instead of different national and unilateral regimes) to exploit resources, which could put Australia in a strong position to work towards the establishment of such an international regime. .