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Proceedings Paper

Need for an international legislation on space debris
Author(s): Catherine E. Smith
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Paper Abstract

Since the launch of the first Sputnik in 1957, the number of space debris in orbit is progressively increasing, up to a point that is today considered serious. Scientists quickly became aware of this phenomena and started studying the evolution, mitigation, and characterization of space debris. But jurists are today confronted with a situation that the United Nations Outer Space Treaties did not foresee. The purpose of the presentation is to look at the existing international public law and examine how it may help to characterize and/or mitigate the space debris population. After having briefly described the problem caused by space debris, the first part will study the United Nations Space Treaties and in particular the principles of responsibility and liability as laid down in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1972 Liability Convention, which should allow us to conclude that there is an urgent need for a new international convention of space debris. The second part will then focus on the several proposals made concerning space debris and will lay down a set of general principles of the legislation on space debris.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 1995
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2483, Space Environmental, Legal, and Safety Issues, (23 June 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.212569
Show Author Affiliations
Catherine E. Smith, Univ. Jean Moulin/Lyon III (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2483:
Space Environmental, Legal, and Safety Issues
Timothy D. Maclay, Editor(s)

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