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  Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities

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Author Topic:   Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-17-2012 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For several years, the European Union has been working on a voluntary code of conduct for international activities in outer space, including operating satellites and other space vehicles, with a special focus on debris mitigation.

Last week, Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said the U.S. would not adopt the EU code of conduct as it was written because it was "too restrictive."

Today (Jan. 17) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement saying that the U.S. would join with the European Union to (further) develop a code of conduct.

The long-term sustainability of our space environment is at serious risk from space debris and irresponsible actors. Ensuring the stability, safety, and security of our space systems is of vital interest to the United States and the global community. These systems allow the free flow of information across platforms that open up our global markets, enhance weather forecasting and environmental monitoring, and enable global navigation and transportation.

Unless the international community addresses these challenges, the environment around our planet will become increasingly hazardous to human spaceflight and satellite systems, which would create damaging consequences for all of us.

In response to these challenges, the United States has decided to join with the European Union and other nations to develop an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. A Code of Conduct will help maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, stability, and security of space by establishing guidelines for the responsible use of space.

As we begin this work, the United States has made clear to our partners that we will not enter into a code of conduct that in any way constrains our national security-related activities in space or our ability to protect the United States and our allies. We are, however, committed to working together to reverse the troubling trends that are damaging our space environment and to preserve the limitless benefits and promise of space for future generations.

Jay Chladek

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 01-24-2012 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even if the US accepted this code of conduct openly, given that it is still voluntary and not mandatory, it would have no teeth for enforcement and there would be nothing to stop someone from doing something similar to what China did with their ASAT test.

The way I see it, it is more like a feel good "I pledge not to clutter the sky with space junk..." verbal commitment than a treaty with teeth aimed at coming up with some decent practices for abatement of space debris. But, at least politicians are taking an interest in these matters.

All times are CT (US)

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