Do we need a Space Code of Conduct?

Posted: January 11, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , ,

Not To Scale

Note: space objects in this illustration are cartoonishly not to scale.

Does the United States need a space code of conduct?  That’s some sort of trick question, right? Aren’t we already the most legislated country on earth?

Here’s what I think: space needs a code of conduct like Dolly Parton needs more breast augmentation.

In other words, there’s already more than enough (wait for it) guidance as it is.

Now if you want to talk about how responsible space fairing nations will enforce existing agreements (like the Outer Space Treaty), that’s another issue.

So before the world-wide space bureaucracy start slathering on additional layers of requirements, shouldn’t they first attempt to honor the requirements that already exist from the 1967 Outer Space Treaty? 

Because if we can’t get the OST to work, the real issue would seem to be that treaties themselves don’t work.  And if treaties don’t work, the only point in having them is…well, there is no point (other than self-deception).

Consider if the OST’s guidance is sufficient as written:

The use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries (from Article I).

Parties to the Treaty shall carry on activities in outer space in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, in the interest of maintaining international peace and security (from Article III).

Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space (from Article VI).

Each Party to the Treaty that launches or procures the launching of an object into outer space and each Party from whose territory or facility an object is launched, is internationally liable for damage to another State Party to the Treaty or to its natural or juridical persons by such object (from Article VII).

A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object while in outer space (from Article VIII).

In the use of outer space, Parties to the Treaty shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty (from Article IX).

If a Party to the Treaty has reason to believe that its activity would cause potentially harmful interference, it shall undertake appropriate international consultations before proceeding with any such activity (still in Article IX).

A Party to the Treaty which has reason to believe that an activity planned by another State Party in outer space would cause potentially harmful interference with activities in the use of outer space may request consultation concerning such activity (yes, still it’s from Article IX).

Arms controllers take it as an article of faith that treaties, codes, agreements, accords, pacts, and the likes will be honored.  The evidence — history — suggests otherwise.

If the world (to include the United States) has been ignoring the OST since 1967, what purpose would be served to stack on more requirements? 

Conversely, if the OST is and has been honored, aren’t its broad requirements sufficient?

  1. […] Do we need a Space Code of Conduct? – Songs of Space and Nuclear War […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s