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International Space Law: A Hindrance to Space Activities or a Resolute Action for Change

Space has changed immensely in both the 20th and 21st centuries, but the law has not. The law governing space activities, is the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies resolution 2222 (OST). The OST creates international legal clarity in which domestic law enhances the state's obligations and builds upon the OST. While the OST has undoubtedly laid the foundations for space activities and remains valid in the 21st century, it has left gaps in enforcement, legal advancement and the suitability of space governance. The creation of space governance and the proactive nature of such is a topical question which requires clarity in the 21st century. The activities and suitability of space governance for non-governmental organizations presents an international development gap in light of present-day activities. It may be argued that the OST was not prepared for the likes of commercial activities or the environmental impact of scientific missions. But the framework provided by the OST allows for a simple view of space. It is, therefore, left to the current governance structure to examine the productivity of these groups within the state or under article VI of the OST. Therefore, the hindrance of international law would fall upon current measures and whether space governance can produce a sustainable agreement that benefits the state and space under the OST. This article will consider the premise of the OST’s ability to act within the 21st century and the suitability of space governance. Moreover, elements of non-governmental influences will be explored throughout to determine whether a hybrid approach could be formed by using the OST as a legal foundation for which space governance, through non-binding agreements, international agencies and domestic actors, can create a basis for the future of space. The developments from international law, state practice and space law will feature throughout. Ideas from private actors' philosophies and mandates awarded to international and regional agencies, will form a basis on space law which could be accepted in the international community.

International Law, Soft Law, NASA, ESA, UNCOPUOS, COSPAR

Scott Michael Steele. (2022). International Space Law: A Hindrance to Space Activities or a Resolute Action for Change. American Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 9(1), 1-13.

Copyright © 2022 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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