Author(s): Cassandra Steer
There is some notion that outer space is a “Wild West”, or a lawless “final frontier”, but nothing could be further from the truth. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and the other core space treaties, apply to all activities in outer space, whether governmental or non-governmental. It is true that these treaties provide general principles, rather than detailed regulation of specific activities. However, together with national laws regulating space activities, these treaties provide a very clear legal framework for both military and civilian space activities. This chapter provides an overview of how this general legal framework ensures that space is well regulated for civilian and military uses of outer space, including how existing branches of international law also apply to activities in space. For military operations, the most important ones are the law on the use of force, the law of armed conflict, human rights law, and environmental law. The imperative is upon States to ensure a stable, secure environment, and to ensure the rule of law prevails, just as in all terrestrial environments.
Research theme: International Law