But there could be a loophole.
During negotiations in 1966, the US delegation pushed for all facilities on celestial bodies to be open to all parties, akin to the 1958 Antarctic Treaty, but the Soviets resisted on the grounds that such access could be unsafe, and that access should only be permitted on a pre-arranged, reciprocal basis. The treaty does not include an explicit permission for inspection of spacecraft to ensure compliance.
The Outer Space Treaty, now 50 years old, has so far never been violated.
“International law was not left out of the text.”.
The goal, the law says, is to “facilitate commercial exploitation for, and commercial recovery of, space resources by United States citizens.” The act defines space resources as including water and minerals. The first incident was in response to a June 1967 New York Times article reporting alleged Pentagon plans to develop a nuclear-tipped orbital ABM system. This interpretation owed more to the administration’s other needs—in particular, the need for Soviet cooperation to finalize the far more consequential Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty—than to a close reading of the text or concern about space-based weapons. Dean Rusk to US mission NATO, November 1967, National Security File, Files of Charles E. Johnson, Box 11, Folder 4 “Bombs in Orbit – General (Ballistic missiles in orbit, FOBS, MOBS, etc),” LBJ Library. The Outer Space Treaty entered into effect in October 1967. The status of international agreements relating to activities in outer space is compiled and distributed every year by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. John S. Foster, “Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary, ISA,” February 2, 1967, Legislative Background Outer Space Treaty History Box 1, Folder 12, “The Treaty is Open for Signature and Goes to the Senate for Advice and Consent,” Folder #2, LBJ Library. There are lots of opinions on this.”. Arthur Goldberg to State Department, 4-7 October 1966, LBJ Library. Wagramerstrasse 5, It really is pushing the boundaries.”. Verification and violation under the Outer Space Treaty, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Department Press Briefing – March 1, 2018, “Close encounters of the top secret kind.”. None of these companies has raised anywhere near the financing needed to start commercial mining, but the law’s passage excited enormous discussion on social media networks, including allegations that it was a “criminal” appropriation by the United States of the global commons. If you find materials on our site that violate the copyright of you, your company or organization, please let us know.
Despite technical limitations, the administration concluded in 1966 that they maintained capabilities sufficient for national security because ultimately: A single weapon in space would not upset the [strategic] balance.
Soucek made his remarks during a regulatory and legal briefing organized by the international Bird & Bird LLP law firm.
Status of International Agreements relating to Activities in Outer Space. The site administration is not responsible for the content of the material. The Moon Agreement accords nations the right to use outer space resources “in quantities appropriate” to sustain space exploration efforts. var idcomments_post_id = '3454';
LONDON — European specialists in space law on Dec. 4 said the recently enacted U.S. Commercial Space Act may contravene international treaties and will inevitably stir up a hornet’s nest of opposition.
The law confers on U.S. citizens the right to engage in commercial exploitation of outer space minerals, a right that might be viewed as violating the United Nations Outer Space Treaty …
As a result of this omission, the US had to establish that the treaty did not prohibit inspection of spacecraft for the purpose of verifying treaty compliance. This is clearly within U.S. capabilities.17, A later memo to the Secretary of Defense asserted more directly that national capabilities would ensure that compliance with the treaty could be effectively monitored and admitted that while a small number of nuclear weapons could be orbited without detection, a large number could be easily detected.18.
“Is the Commercial Space Act a violation of the Outer Space Treaty’s prohibition of national appropriation?” asked Alexander Soucek, head of the legal services department at the 22-nation European Space Agency.
Foster, “Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary, ISA,” LBJ Library.
Rights to the contents belong to their owners. Telephone: +43-1-260 60 4950 When viewed in this light, it is clear that our national capabilities will provide us the necessary information for protecting our security interests.
‘News Conference of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara at Pentagon,’ 3 November 1967, National Security File, Files of Charles E. Johnson, Box 11, Folder 4 “Bombs in Orbit – General (Ballistic missiles in orbit, FOBS, MOBS, etc),” LBJ Library.
Joanne Wheeler, a Bird & Bird partner, declined to state a firm opinion on the U.S. act’s legality beyond saying: “That’s a really good question. One possible way around the apparent ban on outer space resource ownership would be to assert that the exploitation of resources on international territory, such as the moon, does not constitute “national appropriation” of the territory, any more than commercial activity in international waters implies a claim to ownership of the oceans. The views reflected here are his own. U.S. citizens “shall be entitled to an asteroid resource or space resource obtained, including to possess, own, transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space resource obtained, in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States,” the law says. The Outer Space Treaty was followed, in 1979, by the United Nations Moon Agreement, which applies to other planets and asteroids as well and refers to “the benefits which may be derived from the exploitation of the natural resources of the moon and other celestial bodies.”. But things could be about to change. In fact, the Soviets only agreed to the 1963 proposal on the condition that measures such as pre-launch inspection of payloads would not be required, and that the US would be satisfied by using its own national technical means for verification. The US delegation eventually accepted this limitation under the belief that any effort to evade inspection on these grounds would be obvious.8.
But technology advances since then and the recent revival of private-sector interest in space commercialization spurred by cash-rich Silicon Valley investors may provide the necessary push for the creation of international rules of the road as called for in the Moon Agreement. Any state would be entitled to challenge a state suspected of violating the treaty, and if doubts could not be addressed, “to take appropriate steps to protect itself against the effects of a Treaty violation.”10. SpaceX reaches 100 successful launches with Starlink mission, Axiom Space finalizing first commercial ISS mission, Space Force official: Launch scrubs are no reason to despair. var idcomments_acct = 'd4715bbd82118c3d9cefeb8bde342467';
The law was applauded by commercial space advocates in the United States as removing an obstacle to capital investment in companies planning to mine resources on the moon or elsewhere. AUSTRIA US allies also privately raised concerns, and US the intelligence community suggested it could presage development of a multi-orbit bombardment system. A February 1967 memo to prepare for questions from Congress noted that the US could detect all satellites, including a “bomb-in-orbit,” very easily at low orbits, and that higher orbits such satellites would have comparatively long time de-orbiting times. Although the Outer Space Treaty prohibits nations from claiming sovereignty over the Moon or other celestial bodies, the treaty is silent as to whether private entities are permitted to mine or otherwise remove natural resources. The administration maintained publicly that the US possessed capabilities for verifying compliance with the treaty that were “sufficient for national security.”11 But the Joint Chiefs of Staff dissented in 1966, noting that while they accepted the treaty, “the United States does not now have the capability to verify the presence of weapons of mass destruction in orbit. Since the emergence of space law in the second half of the 20th century, deployment of military equipment in outer space has been the subject of intense debates in legal circles. 1 Why?
No action taken so far after Putin’s address suggests that the current administration has adopted a more restrictive stance.
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