problems with the outer space treaty

In more recent years, there has been a companion conference just prior to the IAC – the Space Generation Congress (SGC). This provision has come under a lot of scrutiny and the lawyers and scholars are split right in between on their take on this issue. [1] The real catch is water, which can be used as fuel for space missions. “So the treaty allows for commercial activity in space, but part of that tradeoff was the government took an obligation to supervise commercial actors in space.”. The treaty has merely laid out a minimum set of rules for countries to follow. Space mining will thus be analogous to fishing in international waters, Lewicki said. It’s become an important aspect of all the planetary missions that NASA and other space agencies’ undertake. Who has legal authority to take timely action to divert an asteroid on behalf of the whole planet? ‘So the idea that commercial use of space resources is prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty…  is quite simply absurd’ he said. Lawmakers are working on legislation that would provide a regulatory framework. Backed by big corporations like Planetary Resources, Moon Express, Deep space industries and many others, the US has now made it legal for private companies to extract resources from asteroids or other celestial bodies, and retain property rights over them, without however gaining rights over the entire asteroid itself. The motivation was to prevent space land grabs, similar to the territorial claims that plagued the exploration of Antarctica in the first half of 1900s. H��U]s�@���`g2�]��o��63�:J��#�UiФ��d�KX�t|���g�=���ķ��g�q�!6���=Ia���i��v֧{lKD��Z����¶�j����5��D���?��/�2T��޵�1b�93�7R"����%��,�wؑ���k�y~R����>��h"%��S߲'�u`.��朔�v�(~TO��hRk�/Z̿��e���^��M�����s��ԅS�D�j���b9�̦��감H������Y�t�]���I�� �^�u���۝��O�P���g�?�K^u�I��0���H��'@c_"ǍAİ��"M� �`S�"��'�&ע'�>�7�Z �P'�*;6���Q�/��dlZAX£�v*�p�l�b��=�91�u�T����$9E�icS�︢M��'�_B����t���.�ߚ���MaP��V������K����� ����\��[email protected]��8F���{%s/L���� �Ng��&� �}UQ�$�A/v�Ym�L]O��F��Q�G�)^��d�y�34��JO�8��}Iˌ�8�bӈ1�wo� �瑜�*�`j,��4 �s��z�M���z۫h��lv9ø,e�,7Ȯ��1t�7J��hb�C�f��:��c�h��9�D�G�)�]0�C���7��w��4R���` i��b endstream endobj 76 0 obj 629 endobj 77 0 obj << /Filter /FlateDecode /Length 76 0 R >> stream It’s a prime example of the role the Outer Space Treaty has played in the past 50 years. On article that could be seen to relate to this issue in Article IX in the Outer Space Treaty. The Space Review reports online that, the new law is nothing but a classic rendition of the “he who dares wins” philosophy of the Wild West. 0000001145 00000 n By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. But the issue with the Moon Agreement is the tendency of world space powers to disregard its provisions. However due to the unique characteristics of the surface structure of asteroids and possible scientific information contained therein, it is evident that this loophole has to be fixed before space tourism becomes a full fledged economic industry and the ‘lands’ in outer space go up for sale! Indeed what right has the second highest polluter of the Earth’s environment got to proceed with some of the same corporations in a bid to plunder outer space? PROBLEMS FACED IN IMPLEMENTING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS IN OUTER SPACE: THE NEED FOR A NEW PERSPECTIVE, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2867/1, http://globalnews.ca/news/2341539/u-s-senate-passes-bill-granting-asteroid-rights-to-citizens-what-about-canada/, http://mic.com/articles/128846/what-is-the-space-act-of-2015-private-space-flight-gets-boost-from-congress#.X9xRel41F, http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/senate-passes-space-act-of-to-allow-asteroid-mining/article_cbee2d90-8d90-11e5-a826-4717e27a8cb5.html, http://www.space.com/31177-space-mining-commercial-spaceflight-congress.html, http://theconversation.com/who-owns-space-us-asteroid-mining-act-is-dangerous-and-potentially-illegal-51073, http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/space-mining-us-treaty-1.3339104, http://www.legalcheek.com/2015/11/could-obamas-small-step-for-space-law-be-a-giant-leap-for-wannabe-space-solicitors/, Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty: International Co-operation and Consultation, Harmful Interference and Adverse Changes in the Environment in Outer Space. Stephen Hawking recently suggested that humanity must become an inter-planetary species to escape climate change on this planet, which threatens to make the Earth environment increasingly incompatible with human existence. Abstract of Paper presented at Internationl Law Symposium, ILSA Chapter, Odisha. 14-15), the physics of launch vehicles (pp. And its passing has definitely stirred up some controversy. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Countries like USA and China have already demonstrated their ability to destroy orbiting satellites by using anti-satellite missiles. [Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, entered into force July 11, 1984, Article 5(2) 1363 UNTS 3, art.7] This also, creates a new set of obligations concerning the preservation of the balance of celestial bodies. [United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea, supra note 75, art. The bigger problem of destruction of that environment is as true as the possibility of asteroid mining. But the act now includes all ‘space resources’ not just those from asteroids; the bill defines ‘space resource’ as ‘an abiotic resource in situ in outer space’ that explicitly includes water and minerals. And the opportunity for the next generation to state their claim is right here, right now. The solutions for the present situation are threefold: firstly, a fresh look at the outer space treaty system by the General Assembly, to adopt a more comprehensive treaty which clarifies in detail various situations arising out of space exploration and use, secondly, establishment of a forum for quick and effective implementation, drawing on the likes of ICSID for investment disputes and thirdly, expansion of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs(UNOOSA) to include outer space environmental conversation in its mandate. The treaty is, however, expressed in broad statements of principle; such as, that the exploration and use of outer space “shall be the province of all mankind” – or “humanity” in more gender-enlightened times. Reference: http://www.spacelaw.olemiss.edu/events/pdfs/2010/galloway-hitchens-presentation-2010.pdf. Fast-forward 50 years, and the treaty is not nearly as adequate. Also look at it this way, will the US government not tax the companies involved in space resources business? No country having yet landed a man on the Moon, the treaty provided an adequate legal framework for the years to come. In 1967, when the Outer Space Treaty was signed, the Cold War was in full swing. Possible future commercial mining of the Moon and asteroids potentially involves trillions of dollars. These obligations have become the basis for something called planetary protection — an effort to protect the Solar System from contamination of Earth life, as well as protect Earth from any potential alien life. This article also amounts to the same and fails to make it a binding obligation. 145, (Necessary measures shall be taken in accordance with this Convention with respect to activities in the Area to ensure effective protection for the marine environment from harmful effects which may arise from such activities.)] 0000004862 00000 n However, they represent important stakeholders who, more than any state, have a moral mandate to champion changes to adapt the OST to the needs of the next 50 years. Various telecommunications companies have put numerous satellites in orbit around Earth, while companies have emerged that are dedicated to remote sensing — using satellites to scan the Earth and gather information about objects on the planet’s surface. 0000003461 00000 n In fact the problem is aggravated by the lack of precise definitions of various important terms. “That’s still an international open argument,” says Hertzfeld. Has technology outrun the international law governing outer space? Six decades later, we have thousands of satellites orbiting our blue marble. When the focus now turns to the Moon Agreement, it is seen that it only qualifies as a soft law, however is lauded by various academicians for its content. Keeping this in mind, the drafters of the OST have incorporated the principles of due regard, cooperation and mutual assistance into the wordings of Article IX. While we continue to have global political disagreements, space exploration is often considered a way for countries to collectively work for the advancement of human race. 0000007860 00000 n At the time, the Outer Space Treaty played a pivotal role in ensuring that the planet is protected from space-based nuclear weapons. The bill, though, does not include the litigation provisions for resolving disputes between US companies involving “harmful interference” accessing asteroid resources. Such a scenario is also not a hypothetical one. 0000002754 00000 n Perhaps, Article IX of Outer Space treaty calling for avoidance of harmful interference and the Moon Agreement forbidding alteration of environment on the moon and other celestial bodies, are the only widely recognized (but not accepted as binding) principles in the international community. , defines the fundamentals for forming the international space law. 0000007883 00000 n 0000002733 00000 n Space Force and the Flaws with the Outer Space Treaty, OP-ED: The road funding conversation needs a complete reset, OP-ED: Transparency long overdue in Michigan. The speed at which the private space industry is outpacing the relevance of the Outer Space Treaty has already caused some problems. Firstly, most space faring nations such as US or Russia are not parties to it. With the private sector playing an increasing role, the international community needs to have a discussion about what private industry should and should not be able to do—especially when it comes to harvesting natural resources. Even in the construction of the clauses, the article provides for an obligation (Is it an obligation?!) Just over 50 years ago, the Outer Space Treaty—the document that forms the basis of international space law—entered into force. Broad statements of principle were sufficient to regulate relations between space-faring states in the first several decades of space exploration and use, while allowing some flexibility to those same states. “It’s essentially the most important and most fundamental source of international space law,” Christopher Johnson, the space law adviser for the Secure World Foundation, tells The Verge.

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