In 1967, 112 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty, which established the basis of international space law. To date, there have been no reported cases of anyone being accused of committing a crime in space. Fortunately, none of the debris fell to the ground or caused any harm. The Ad Hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOUS) was created by the United Nations General Assembly a year after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957. Its purpose is to exchange information on space, monitor activities of governmental and non-governmental organizations in space, and promote international cooperation.
The concern was that the armed components of the system would breach the Outer Space Treaty. Although there are treaties that have been voluntarily signed by many countries, technological advances have enabled private companies to participate in space exploration, and these entities may not be covered by some of the existing treaties (depending on the legal interpretation). For the past 50 years, most people who have gone to space have been representatives of their countries' governments, such as NASA astronauts or Russian cosmonauts. Nations that carry out space activities have accepted a variety of policies and treaties related to space exploration activities.
In 1960, the International Institute of Space Law, a non-governmental organization, was established to promote international cooperation in drafting space laws. The treaty makes it very clear that governments are responsible for what their commercial companies and private entities do in space. Launch providers, satellite operators and insurance companies are concerned about the issue of space debris due to its impact on space operations. On the other hand, advocates for space sustainability argue that the space environment has value in itself and is at much greater risk of harm than people on Earth.
This treaty, which was signed in 1967 through the United Nations, is still considered today as the “constitution of outer space”. Under these laws, a country would not even need to prove that someone had done something wrong if a space object or its components caused damage to Earth's surface or to normal aircraft in flight. The United Nations describes this committee as the focal point where international entities negotiate how to use space peacefully. Since space is an area with no defined boundaries, there are many questions about the legal jurisdiction of spacecraft orbiting Earth and other celestial bodies.