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Part II Practice—Scholarly and Practitioner Accounts of UN Treaty-Making, A International Peace and Security, Ch.9 The Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Tanja Masson-Zwaan, Roberto Cassar

From: The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Treaties

Simon Chesterman, David M. Malone, Santiago Villalpando

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 February 2024

Outer space

The creation of space law is rooted in the aftermath of the Cold War. The two world powers of the time—the United States and the USSR—joined forces in the UNCOPUOS (UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space) to introduce law to outer space and ensure that the use and exploration of this domain was conducted for peaceful purposes. Against this backdrop, the negotiations underlying the drafting of the Magna Carta of outer space—the Outer Space Treaty—demonstrate how these two world powers set aside various political differences in order to reach a legal compromise for the benefit of the world as a whole. Today, half a century after this milestone, the landscape of the use and exploration of outer space has changed dramatically, particularly in terms of the technology involved. As a result, the question is whether international space law and UNCOPUOS are still able to provide a relevant framework within which the peaceful use and exploration of outer space can progress.

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