Meaning of SPACE LAW in English


the body of regulations that governs international conduct in and related to areas of space beyond the lower strata of the Earth's atmosphere. The evolution of space law began with the U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower's introduction of the concept into the United Nations in 1957, in connection with disarmament negotiations. Following the successful launchings of the Soviet satellite Sputnik I in 1957 and the U.S. satellite Explorer I in 1958, both the United States and the Soviet Union took an active interest in the development of international space policy. It was established that traditional laws of sovereignty which allow any nation to claim for itself uninhabited and uncivilized lands are not viable in space territories and that countries cannot extend the boundaries of their dominion indefinitely into the space regions above them. In late 1959 a permanent Outer Space Committee was formed for the purpose of maintaining the United Nations Charter and other international law in space, which opened the way for peaceful exploration. In 1963 the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed, followed by an Outer Space Committee resolution to prohibit nuclear weapons testing in space. Later that same year a General Assembly declaration acknowledged a free international interest in space development and outlined rules assigning each nation individual responsibility for dealing with transgressions of international law and for any resulting destruction. International cooperation, however, was recommended for the safeguarding of all astronauts in crisis situations. In 1967 an Outer Space Treaty was ratified by 63 participants in the United Nations. This agreement reasserted all earlier guidelines for international space conduct and, in addition, banned military activity from space territory, established each state's ownership of and responsibility for its space projectiles and components, urged common participation in the protection of space and terrestrial environments, and provided for the open observation and inspection of each state's activities and installations by others. This document has been noted as a landmark in the development of international space law; and, like most of the space-law agreements generated by the United Nations, it remains effective at present among participating countries. In 1968 this treaty was followed by an Agreement on the Rescue and Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space, which reinforced international commitment to the safety of astronauts, assigned economic responsibility to each nation for the recovery of its equipment, and confirmed the control of each space power over the vehicles it launches. Though international diplomacy continues to play an active role in the codification of acceptable space conduct, several issues remain the subjects of debate. Because nations are prohibited from laying claim to space territories, for instance, there is still a need to establish regulations governing the apportionment of usable resources that space may eventually provide. A method for determining the extent of each nation's control over the air above it has not yet been agreed upon. Among the areas of greatest current interest in space law is the use of the upper atmosphere and orbital zones for purposes of communications. Satellite technology has expanded the range and lowered the expense of international communication, under the management of such entities as the Communications Satellite Corporation, or Comsat, founded by the United States in 1962 under the Communications Satellite Act. Owned by both private and public communications concerns, Comsat's international service is linked with a larger organization, Intelsat (International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium), which channels about 90 percent of all international satellite communications. Recent pressure has been exerted on Intelsat to decrease U.S. control of the international satellite industry; and, similarly, Comsat has been attacked for its complete domination of the American market.

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