The Evolution of space laws helps us to understand the different dimensions of outer space and the different phases of development about the existence of different laws of space The term space has never been defined, as it is indefinite. Space laws are very new concepts and they will keep changing with development and they will evolve with new technologies. Space law requires technology and advancement with time.
The evolution of Space Law can be traced back to 1957 when US President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the concept of Space Law in relation to disarmament negotiations at the United Nations.
“India has some policies and rules governing space law but still there is a need for proper legislation in India for outer space and for the regulation of that. As we know everything needs proper rules and laws for their working and regulation. Law is a set of rules and regulation which helps things to work properly.
Legal frameworks of space law and its status in international law –
ISRO plays active role in sharing its expertise and satellite data for the management of natural disasters through various multi-agency bodies like International Charter for Space and Major Disasters, Sentinel Asia and UNSPIDER
India continues to play active role in deliberation on Scientific and Technical and Legal sub-committees of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS). India also plays major role in other multilateral fora including United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), I
Legislations that are governing international space laws –
- The current space law consists of five international treaties which are governing space and generally space laws have two layers of laws and regulations in them.. The first layer is defined as the international laws that regulate the rights and obligations of state and intergovernmental organizations in outer space. And if we talk about the international fundamental legal framework of space laws. It is consisting of five treaties namely-
- The Rescue Agreement 1968-The Rescue and Return Agreement calls for the rescue and return of distressed astronauts and space objects to their launch authorities.
- The Liability Convention 1972-The Liability Convention defines the circumstances under which a launching State is liable for a space object, addresses the case of multiple ‘launching States’ in relation to the same space object, describes how a claim may be made within a one-year period, and provides for the establishment of an ad hoc Claims Commission to settle claims between two or more States
- The Registration Convention of 1975-The Registration Convention provides for the registration of space objects by the, or one of the, launching States in respect of a space object.
- The Moon Agreement of 1975- Australia is one of only 18 countries that have signed on to the Moon Treaty. It includes all celestial bodies, not just the Moon. It expands on several articles of the Outer Space Treaty, including Article I, which describes the exploration and use of outer space as a “province” of humanity on an equal footing, as well as the related provision in Article II that no State may claim sovereignty over any part of outer space (including the Moon and other celestial bodies), and Article IV, which significantly limits military activities on the Moon and other celestial bodies.
- Outer space treaties-The Outer Space Treaty lays the groundwork for all future space exploration and use. It is the broadest of all the space-specific treaties and the later space-specific treaties can be seen as supplements to the Outer Space Treaty.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space.
We no longer need any telescope to see the importance of outer space, now it’s possible with advanced and developed technologies and there is global space governance which is a collection of international, regional, or national laws. It also includes the instruments, institutions, and technologies.
What is space tech?
Space tech refers to space technologies that can be used to support space connectivity and in regarding space activities, space tech is the application of engineering principles to frame, develop, manufacture, and to the operation of devices and systems for the support of space travel and exploration. Technology plays a very vital role in outer space as it is used to explore other planets, provide communications, and navigate services to support human activities. As through technology, we can encompass everything from satellites to the human aspects of space traveling. Space tech also covers the research and development of new technologies and new applications for existing techs. And there will be improvements in technologies for the space system. Space tech is a very wide-ranging term and it describes any technological advances and tool that is created for outer space.
Current challenges in the space sector-
There are both technical and also A few current issues regarding Space Law, for instance, currently include the increasing role of the private sector in outer space, which calls for a review of current policies and legislation; the use of domestic laws, and the consequent need for their own legal reform, in order to encourage broader engagement with commercial space innovation; the adequacy of existing international liability regime to protect space tourists in the event of a space vehicle accidents; the increasing use of space for military activities; the challenges of scavenging space debris, with a focus on active remedial methods; the protection of space assets and the legal regime pertaining to Anti-satellite weapon (ASAT).
The main international rules applicable to human activities in outer space have been elaborated within the United Nations. A dedicated committee to deal with technical and legal issues connected to space activities exists, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). Although the law-making activity within UNCOPUOS has gradually slowed down, the committee remains the principal forum for discussion of space-related issues such as voluntary measures to decrease the creation of orbital debris and to pursue in a constructive way the sustainability of space.
Articles 51 and 73 of the Indian Constitution endorse respect for international law and treaty obligations, as well as the promotion of international peace and security, but these notions are merely laid out with no legal obligation attached to them.
Author: Ms. Himanshi Singh, Intern, CyberPeace