Outer Space Treaty


Outer Space Treaty
Outer Space Treaty
Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies
Signed 27 January 1967
Location London, Moscow and Washington
Effective 10 October 1967
Condition 5 ratifications, including the depositary Governments
Parties 100[1]
Depositary Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America
Languages Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish
Outer Space Treaty of 1967 at Wikisource

The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967, and entered into force on October 10, 1967. As of October 2011, 100 countries are states parties to the treaty, while another 26 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification.[1]

Contents

Key points

The Outer Space Treaty represents the basic legal framework of international space law. Among its principles, it bars States Parties to the Treaty from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or to otherwise station them in outer space. It exclusively limits the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military bases, installations, and fortifications (Art.IV). However, the Treaty does not prohibit the placement of conventional weapons in orbit. The treaty also states that the exploration of outer space shall be done to benefit all countries and shall be free for exploration and use by all States.

The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, since they are the Common heritage of mankind.[2] Art. II of the Treaty states that "outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". However, the State that launches a space object retains jurisdiction and control over that object.[3] The State is also liable for damages caused by their space object and must avoid contaminating space and celestial bodies.[4]

  signed and ratified
  signed only

Responsibility for activities in space

Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty deals with international responsibility, stating that "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty" and that States Parties shall bear international responsibility for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities.

Following discussions arising from Project West Ford, a consultation clause was inserted in Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty:[when?] "A State Party to the Treaty which has reason to believe that an activity or experiment planned by another State Party in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, would cause potentially harmful interference with activities in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, may request consultation concerning the activity or experiment."[citation needed]

Follow-ups

  • The Moon Treaty of 1979 was meant to be the follow-up to the Outer Space Treaty, but failed to be ratified by any space-faring nation.[citation needed]
  • Both the Space Preservation Treaty and the Space Preservation Act of 2001[5][clarification needed] are expansions on the ban of weapons in space, being a ban on all weapons, instead of only nuclear and WMDs, but both so far have had minimal success.[6][7]

See also

International Ownership Treaties
Antarctic Treaty System
Law of the Sea
Outer Space Treaty
Moon Treaty
International waters
Extraterrestrial real estate

References

  • J. Hickman and E. Dolman. "Resurrecting the Space Age: A State-Centered Commentary on the Outer Space Regime." Comparative Strategy. vol. 21, no. 1, (2002).

Citations

External links


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