When it comes to the legal status of space, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Many people have the basic idea that the high seas don't belong to anyone, and that everything in space essentially counts as international waters. But is this really the case? In this article, we'll take a comprehensive look at the legal status of space and how it relates to maritime law. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is one of the most relevant documents when it comes to dealing with alleged crimes in space. This treaty states that any State Party to the Treaty in whose registry an object launched into outer space is recorded shall retain jurisdiction and control over that object and over all its personnel while it is in outer space or on a celestial body.
The Outer Space Treaty also incorporates the Charter of the United Nations as a reference and requires parties to ensure that activities are carried out in accordance with other forms of international law, such as customary international law (the custom and practice of states).Space, like the high seas, is considered res communis: it belongs to everyone and to no one, nor any country can claim it. This means that no State can claim sovereignty over any natural object in space. However, this does not mean that space is subject to maritime law. While maritime law does not apply in space, it does provide an easy way to translate the concept of res communis to an unlawful public. In recent years, the Legal Subcommittee has not been able to reach a consensus on the debate on a new global space agreement (the idea of which, however, was only proposed by a few member States).
The launch by the Soviet Union in 1957 of the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, directly prompted the United States Congress to pass the Space Act, thus creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).The Rescue Agreement, the Liability Convention and the Registration Convention detail the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty. In addition, Watney remains under the jurisdiction of the United States through NASA under Article VIII of the Outer Space Treaty and implicitly has the right to enter the Ares IV return vehicle, which means that he cannot requisition or acquire the Ares IV return vehicle by other means of deception. The Outer Space Treaty gives responsibility for regulating space activities, including both governmental and private sectors, to individual countries in which such activities take place. If commercial space transport becomes widely available with substantially lower launch costs, all countries will be able to directly benefit from the benefits of space resources. More difficulties arise when trying to define the upper limits of space, since it would require further research on the nature of the universe and the role of Earth as a planet. It is also unlikely that the Subcommittee will be able to agree to modify the Outer Space Treaty in the near future. In conclusion, while maritime law does not apply in space, it does provide an easy way to translate res communis into an unlawful public.
The Outer Space Treaty is one of the most relevant documents when it comes to dealing with alleged crimes in space. It gives responsibility for regulating space activities to individual countries in which such activities take place. If commercial space transport becomes widely available with substantially lower launch costs, all countries will be able to directly benefit from its benefits.