2What is Space Law?Space law is an area of the law that encompasses national and international law governing activities in outer space.
3Early developmentBeginning in 1957, nations began discussing systems to ensure the peaceful use of outer space. Bilateral discussions between the United States and USSR in 1958 resulted in the presentation of issues to the UN for debate. In 1959, the UN created the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
4TreatiesFive international treaties have been negotiated and drafted in the COPUOS: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 (the "Outer Space Treaty").The 1968 Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the "Rescue Agreement").The 1972 Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the "Liability Convention").The 1975 Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the "Registration Convention").The 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the "Moon Treaty").
5Why it is important■The development and/or strengthening of international agreements, laws, regulations, and codes related to space activities is essential to a sustainable space future.
6National LawsSpace law also encompasses national laws, and many countries have passed national space legislation in recent years. The Outer Space Treaty requires parties to authorize and supervise national space activities, including the activities of non-governmental entities such as commercial and non-profit organizations.
7ConcernsStates have considered development of anti-satellite weapons, and ASAT tests have been conducted by the Soviet Union, the United States, and China. Because all space systems, whether civil or military, are subject to the threat of damage from orbital debris, States need to consider what international laws, agreements, or codes may be needed to protect all space systems.
8End?Today the only traffic rules in space cover the siting of satellites in geo-stationary orbit, in which orbital "slots" are agreed at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). But eventually low Earth orbit ( LEO) is going to get busy too - perhaps sooner than most people guess - and then there will be a need for traffic rules, probably initially around orbiting hotels, and then extending to form "spacelanes" analogous to controlled airspace in aviation today.