Outer Space Policy Definition

United Nations efforts to preserve outer space for peaceful purposes began in 1957, a few months before the launch of the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit. The first proposals to prohibit the use of outer space for military purposes and the placement of weapons of mass destruction in outer space were considered by the United Nations in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In exploring and using outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, States parties shall be guided by the principle of cooperation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, with due regard to the respective interests of all other States parties to the Treaty. States Parties shall continue and study studies of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, with a view to avoiding their harmful contamination and adverse changes in the Earth`s environment resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial substances and, if necessary, shall take appropriate measures to that end. if a State Party has reason to believe that an activity planned by it or its nationals or a planned activity or experiment by its nationals in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is potentially detrimental to the activities of other States Parties in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies; It shall hold appropriate international consultations before proceeding with any such activity or attempt. A State Party that has reason to believe that an activity or experiment in outer space projected by another State Party, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, would be likely to interfere with the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, may request consultations on such activity or experiment. Of the five international agreements already mentioned, the Outer Space Treaty (1967), the Salvage Convention (1968), the Liability Convention (1972) and the Registration Conventions (1974) need to be considerably clarified in order to apply many of their principles to new space activities and to issues such as satellite maintenance, space traffic management, tourism or space debris mitigation. The Moon Treaty (1979) has too few signatories to be effective overall. Although countries have attempted to improve or supplement these agreements over the years, no new multilateral agreements have been concluded since the 1970s.

In their place, soft standards have emerged, largely because of the ease with which they can be created and implemented, no matter how effective or ineffective. It is important to note that ineffective and outdated multilateral treaties and agreements are not obstacles that apply only to global space policy, but rather to global governance and multilateralism in general. In 2020, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/75/36 on reducing space threats through norms, standards and principles of good governance. In particular, the Assembly invited Member States to provide ideas on how to further develop and implement norms, rules and principles of good governance and how to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and miscalculations relating to outer space. The responses received in response to this request can be found here. About a year after the launch of Sputnik 1, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was established as an ad hoc committee at the United Nations and became permanent in 1959. Since UNOOSA provides secretariat services to the Committee, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was established «to regulate the exploration and use of outer space for the benefit of all mankind: for peace, security and development» and eventually became responsible for the creation and implementation of the five United Nations treaties relating to outer space activities. principles and other related international agreements (insofar as they relate to outer space). In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was considered technologically behind the United States, but it exceeded the United States in its space budget, and its cosmonauts had spent three times as many days in space as American astronauts.

The Soviet Union was also more willing than the United States to undertake long-term programs such as the Salyut and Mir space station programs, and increased its investment in space programs in the 1970s and 1980s. [39] The Vision for Space Exploration, established in 2004 under the George W. Bush administration, was replaced by a new policy issued by Barack Obama on June 28, 2010. [28] The President consults with NASA and the Department of Defense on their space activity plans as a potential input to the draft policy submitted to Congress. It also consults with the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget to report on the expected willingness of Congress to provide the required levels of funding for the proposed programs. [24] The Outer Space Treaty was signed on September 10. It was ratified in October 1967. One of the most important provisions of the Treaty is the prohibition of nuclear weapons in outer space; restricting the use of the moon and all other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes; Establish that outer space should be freely explored and used by all nations; and prevent any country from claiming sovereignty over outer space or a celestial body. [8] Space has undoubtedly undergone significant changes since the turn of the century, and with it its threat landscape. Although space was once considered a safe haven for scientific purposes, it has become the new arena for great power competition between the United States, Russia and China. In addition to the superpowers, there are now more nations and non-state actors participating in space activities, and the role of commercial actors in space is becoming increasingly important by the day.

Although the privatization of space has so far proven to be primarily a Western phenomenon, nations around the world are beginning to embrace the public-private partnership model and will continue to follow. As an increasingly democratised and accessible space will inevitably lead to more man-made threats and challenges to the sustainability of space, the current space policy system needs to be strengthened in order to effectively address the challenges of the near future. For more than half a century, the United Nations has been the main intermediary for global space policy and global space law. In 1958, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) was established to assist Governments in developing a legal, technical and policy infrastructure to support global space activities. UNOOSA not only assists States in understanding space law and developing their own national space policy in accordance with the established global governance framework, but also maintains a register of objects launched into outer space and plays a key role in the formation of additional international organizations dealing with specific space regulatory issues. The Registration Convention was ratified on 15 September 1976. [17] The provisions of the Convention require States to provide the United Nations with details such as the date and place of launch, as well as basic orbital parameters, for each space object. [17] The successful contributions of non-state actors to global space governance are directly linked to the broader trend of a tense multilateral order, privileging international norms and voluntary (or non-binding) agreements over legally binding treaties. The diminishing capacity of intergovernmental organizations to create widely accepted treaties and arrangements that effectively manage space activities therefore means that non-space nations are losing what little access they already had to shape space policy. It is therefore not surprising that the model of space law – legally binding and verifiable measures – has made successful governance in the current international political climate impossible. The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies («Outer Space Treaty») entered into force in 1967 after consideration by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the General Assembly.

The Treaty provides the basic framework for international space law. The United States supports the resolution, although there are no provisions for a review; The capabilities of its space tracking systems, it was estimated, were sufficient to detect launches and devices in orbit.

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