• Home
  • Current congress
  • Public Website
  • My papers
  • root
  • browse
  • IAC-08
  • E8
  • 3
  • paper
  • Legal aspects relating to Disarmament, Space Control, Space Situational Awareness and International Space Traffic Management

    Paper number



    Ms. Johanna Catena, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), United Kingdom



    Two major Commissions, chaired by the then secretary for Defence Donald Rumsfeld, were set up to assess ballistic missile threats in 1998 and security space management in 2000 to 2001. The Commission assessments revived the Strategic Defence Initiative commonly referred to as Star Wars during the Reagan years and warned of a future space Pearl Habour. The US subsequently pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty 1972 to enable the development of National Missile Defense System in December 2001. 
    In 2003 the US Air Force published the Transformational Flight Plan highlighting future research in space, for example the media reported Hypervelocity Rod Bundles, which earned the nickname "Rods from God". A new US Space Policy announced by President Bush in October 2006 included denying adversaries space capabilities hostile to US interests. This included developing and deploying space capabilities with transformational capabilities, particularly missile defence warning systems. Ground to midcourse Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems, space based defence systems and relay mirror directed energy weapons are examples of weapons using space capabilities that are currently under development.  
    Deployed aboard trial ship USS Lake Erie is the US Navy’s sea-based midcourse Aegis BMD system, which successfully intercepted a failing US 193 satellite in February 2008 using a Standard Missile-3
    This followed China’s January 2007 successful anti-satellite weapon test, which destroyed Fengyun-1C weather satellite. Tentatively one would need to clarify the nature of the weapon system between defensive and hostile capabilities’ including the potential to act has a dual nature weapon. Also, both tests resulted in space debris. 
    This paper will take a two-fold approach highlighting international law and treaties relating to disarmament in light of Articles I, IV, and IX of the Outer Space Treaty (OST) 1967, with particular reference to the work Conference on Disarmament to assess traditional methods of prevention. The second is a pragmatic approach, highlighting, international liability and responsibility with particular respect VI, VIII and IX of the OST and the Liability Convention, as well as the work of the Legal Sub-Committee of UN COPUOS regarding space debris. A collective method and measure will be recommended to mitigate space debris including initiating alternative measures with regard to space control. For example introducing an appropriate international system to regulate space traffic in order to safeguard space assets and maximise the use of outer space without interference from other space objects.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.E8.3.4.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.