Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)

The differences between COPUOS, UNOOSA and COSPAR

The United Nations has been involved in space activities since the very beginning of the space age. Since the first man-made satellite orbited Earth in 1957, the United Nations has committed itself to secure outer space. What are the differences between COPUOS, UNOOSA and COSPAR?

The Homestead Act of 1862

In our research on Space Law and Public International Law, concerning the non-appropriation principle and the hot topic of mining legal resources, such as asteroids or the Moon, let’s look at the homestead principle, by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation, and the Homestead Act of 1862.

The 1972 Liability Convention

Elaborating on Article VII of the Outer Space Treaty, the 1972 Liability Convention provides that a launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space objects on the surface of the Earth or to aircraft, and liable for damage due to its faults in outer space. The Convention also provides for procedures for the settlement of claims for damages.

Industrial commitments on legal aspects of active debris removal

Among the several issues related to the space activities, the one concerning the space debris removal has now become one of the most urgent to address: the number of space objects orbiting around our planet is likely to increase and threaten the safety of the present and future space activities.

The Skylab strike and the need for an outer space labour law

The Skylab strike, a one-day sit-down strike in outer space, is a work slowdown instigated by the crew of the American Skylab 4 mission. With the privatisation of outer space, is there a need for an outer space labour law?

The Iranian space program

Iran, one of the twenty-four founding members of the COPUOS, is one of the few countries in the world capable of putting satellites into Low Earth Orbit using its own launch vehicles. The Islamic Republic’s space program is young but is rapidly making progress.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the main principles of Space Law

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, an international treaty binding the parties to use outer space only for peaceful purposes, is draft treaties on the uses of outer space reconciled during negotiation in the Legal Subcommittee of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.


Intelsat, one of the world’s largest fleet of commercial satellites, is a communications satellite services provider. Originally formed as International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO), Intelsat was founded in 1964 to own and operate the worldwide commercial satellite communications system.

Starfish Prime or the legality of high-altitude nuclear explosions

High-altitude nuclear explosions are the result of nuclear weapons testing. Starfish Prime was a 1962 high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States of America. Are those high-altitude nuclear explosions still legal?

The 1963 Declaration of Legal Principles

The Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, RES 1962 (XVIII), General Assembly eighteenth session, December 13, 1963, is the second important text concerning Space Law.

Planetary defense

A collision sixty-six million years ago between the Earth and an object approximately ten kilometres wide is thought to have produced the Mexican Chicxulub crater and the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, widely held responsible for the extinction of most dinosaurs. Asteroid impacts are a continuously occurring natural process. Could this happen again? How are we protecting ourselves?

The General Assembly Resolution 1721

The General Assembly Resolution 1721 (XVI), December 20, 1961, recognized the common interest of mankind in furthering the peaceful uses of outer space and the urgent need to strengthen international co-operation in this important field. It also represented the effort of COPUOS to set aside any statements that outer space could eventually constitute a form of res nullius, therefore subjected to sovereignty claims.

International liability for damage caused by space objects

When damage is caused by a space object in outer space, typically through a collision with another space object, international space law’s Liability Convention provides a mechanism for compensation for the injured state. Let’s study the international liability for damage caused by space objects.

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development. The Committee was instrumental in the creation of the Five Treaties and Five Principles of outer space.