In 1800 B.C. Mesopotamian astronomy philosophers discovered 5 new shiny
stars that could change their position, while the ones already known - the Sun
and the Moon - could not develop the same behavior. Those planets were Mercury,
Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Human brain has never stopped trying to figure
out what is happening out there. In the late 1920s Konstantin Tsiolkovski, a Soviet Union origin scientist said: “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but
the mankind can’t stay in the cradle forever”. His research made him a
pioneer of rocketry and astronautic theory.
The most distant frontier, the outer space, got surrounded by the installation of satellite systems in order to include the technology of telecommunications and meteorology research under the legislation regimes conducted by the International Telecommunications Union/ITU in 1949. Since then many additional law texts have been created.
On the 4th of October 1957, the Soviet Union’s first attempt to launch a rocket is successful. An artificial Earth satellite named Sputnik 1 was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit. As a result, a year later, the USA founded the National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA), which came as an answer to their opponent. In the fear of a new conflict between these two powers, the international community got to work. In every field of activity where players make their appearance and relations develop among them, some legislative restrictions must be created.
Thus, in 1957 the first Resolutions of the United Nations came into force in order to retain the vigorous entrance of scientific activities in the outer-space. During a whole decade, the UN did not make any progress, although the institutional legislation states in the 13th article that the UN can produce law in every new field and codify it. Not difficult to understand it. The preparation phase, in other words, non-obligatory legislation, was created by those who did not raise any objection to the use of the air for such operations.
However, the nations soon realized the urgent necessity of creating an obligatory law framework and so they did: the Convention of Outer Space (1967). Since then, national, international and individual initiatives have been regulated by this law and also bythe additional papers of 1968, 1972, 1975 and 1979.
Looking at the entire range of outer space affairs, we can see that it promotes the development of a peaceful spirit of collaboration among the parties involved. More precisely, this spirit is quite visible through the 1st and the 2nd article of the Convention, which make references to two basic principles which provide for non-appropriation of outer space by any one country, the prevention of any national claim of sovereignty over outer space or any celestial body, the freedom of exploration and the use of peaceful purposes for the benefit of humanity.
Even in national space policies it’s easy to point out this spirit of collaboration. It is worth mentioning the National USA Space Policy, which aspires to the values mentioned above. And so does the Law of the Russian Federation about Space Activity in Section VI, article 26, paragraph 3. The European Space Agency (ESA) is also in accordance with these legal values, if we consider, for example, the ESA’s Convention of Establishment Article III on the purposes promoted among European States. In my opinion, the ultimate proof of this spirit of cooperation is the existence of the International Space Station - an artificial satellite orbiting the Earth. Its complexity is underpinned by coexistence and partnership working among space agencies of different flags (USA, Russia, Europe, Japan, Canada) offering processing facilities for launching operations and development research.
However, it is disappointing to know that since 1967 the global community has not shown any sign of progress. The absence of national will to consent on a refreshed regime is obvious. There is no prospect for an arbitration mechanism. The stability and sustainability of the outer space use is not as safe as it should be. In 2010, an individual operation for exploitation and digging up in space surface began without national partnership. Is there any provision concerning this action in the Private International Law? Is it possible to reassure the prevention of severe consequences after a conflict like the one that occurred in 2009 between Turkey and Israel over the satellite Goktuk? Nowadays, over 60 nations and international alliances take over several satellites for commercial, political and military purposes, as the European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP) does.
So it is clear that the existing legislative framework is not capable of keeping up with the achievements of global technology, nor is it compatible with the incessant geostrategic changes. William Lynn, a former United States Deputy Secretary of Defense has cited in a speech that outer space is a jostled, insecure and competitive terrain. The legal security net is turning to be worn-out after so many decades without being looked after. It is impossible to bear the burden of these achievements and the changes occurring.