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International Rules and Norms: Constraints on Space Operations

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Technical Report

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NSI Boston United States

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The expert contributors identified 26 separate international agreements, treaties, and resolutions legal codes that have implications for space operations. The core of the legal space regime is composed of five UN-sponsored space treaties centering around the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies OST. Subsequent non-binding resolutions, and the ITU Treaty, reflect the evolving nature of space operations, and the perceived need for legal codes to develop in response. Not all the legal codes that have implications for space operations are specific to space, however. UN general treaties, in particular regimes governing the use of force by states and the right to self-defense, inform space-specific legal codes. Furthermore, Article III of the OST states that all activities in space must be carried out in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, in the interest of maintaining international peace and security Steer.Overall, the expert contributors do not view the existing legal regime in space to be overly burdensome or restrictive. Starting from the basic tenets of international law sovereign equality, non-interference, prohibition on the use of force, right of self-defense, peaceful dispute resolution it explicitly applies these to activities in space Steer. The emphasis on accountability, transparency Blount, and coordination of activities reflect the underlying principles of the OST.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Space Warfare

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