Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects launched into outer Space

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: London, Washington, Moscow
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 03/12/1968


Transport and telecommunications

Sub category



What is it about?

This instrument establishes an international system of assistance to astronauts in cases of emergency and provides for the return of space-launched objects having had an accident. According to the provisions of the 1968 Convention, a State Party discovering that personnel of a spacecraft have suffered accident, are experiencing conditions of distress or have made an emergency or unintended landing in territory under its jurisdiction has to notify immediately the launching authority or has to make a public announcement if it cannot identify the latter. Further it has to take all possible steps to ensure the rescue and return of the personnel, if necessary assisted by the launching authority. The rescue obligation also applies while the personnel of a spacecraft have been found on the high seas or in any other place not under the jurisdiction of another State. In such a case all State Parties capable to do so have to assist the research and rescue operation. Each State Party having jurisdiction over the territory where a space object or its component parts have been discovered has to inform the launching authority as well as to recover and return these objects.

Why is it relevant?

The 1968 Agreement implements the principles on the assistance to astronauts and the return of space objects according to the Treaty governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (London, Moscow and Washington D.C., 27 January 1967).

Additional Information



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