Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies
- Type: Convention
- Date of signature: 27/01/1967
- Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
- Depositary: Government of the United Kingdom, the United States and the Russian Federation
- Date of entry into force: 10/10/1967
What is it about?
From the beginning of the space age, deliberate efforts to create a coherent body of law for outer space and space activities were undertaken at the United Nations. The General Assembly adopted three UN Resolutions stating general rules on the law of outer space: - Resolution 1962 on the declaration of legal principles governing the activities of States in the exploration and use of outer space (13 December 1963); - Resolution 1884 calling upon States from placing in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kind of weapons of mass destruction or from installing such weapons on celestial bodies (17 October 1963); - Resolution 110 condemning propaganda designed or likely to provoke or encourage any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression (3 November 1947). The conclusion of multilateral treaties has become the principal means of enacting pertinent legal rules. Considering the fundamental statements of the Resolutions and desiring to contribute to the development of mutual understanding and to the strengthening of friendly relations between States and peoples, the Treaty governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty) affirms the freedom of exploration and use of outer space and prohibits all claims of sovereignty. It also proscribes the establishment of military bases, installations or fortifications on celestial bodies and the placement in orbit around the earth of objects carrying weapons of mass destruction. It constitutes a legal hindrance to the installation of nuclear explosives in space. Carriage of weapons through space and exploration by artificial satellites remain authorized.
Why is it relevant?
The Outer Space Treaty provides the basis for all subsequent treaties and other legal instruments relating to space activities. The exploration and use of outer space is a global problem affecting the entire international community. Recognizes this fact, the Treaty stresses "the common interest of all mankind" in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. This provision provides sufficient legal grounds for claims to full and effective participation by all members of the internationalcommunity in the decision-making process relating to outer space. Consequently real progress in the development of legal norms applicable to the use and exploration of outer space can only be made when as many states as possible, including all states having the capability to engage in outer space activities, are actively in agreement.
The present instrument does not contain provisions to ensure its enforcement, but foresees a consultation procedure while a State Party assumes that the activities of another State Party may cause a negative impact on the peaceful exploration and use of space.
- Agreement governing the Activities of States on the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (New York, 18 November 1979)
- Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (New York, 12 December 1974)
- Convention on the International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (London, Moscow and Washington D.C., 29 March 1972)
- Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (London, Moscow, and Washington D.C., 22 April 1968)