Rules for activities in outer space are agreed upon in the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space of the United Nations. Several international treaties have been adopted in the 1970s, that is, at a time before space debris became a concern for the international community. In the years 1979–1988 numerous documents were prepared by the UN Secretariat on space debris, but no official discussions of the problem were initiated by states members of the COPUOS. First proposals for introducing the matter to the UN appeared around 1988, after important studies on the subject were published by states and leading intergovernmental organizations. Also the International Telecommunication Union became concerned about the proliferation of space debris in the geostationary orbit and adopted in 1993 a recommendation to restrict the generation of debris and to re-orbit satellites approaching the end of their active lives into disposal orbits beyond the belt populated by active satellites. In 1994, the UN started discussing scientific and technical aspects of space debris. In the following years, with the assistance of experts from prominent space agencies, it elaborated a Technical Report on space debris. Legal aspects of the problem have not yet begun being discussed because the necessary consensus among states members of the COPUOS has not yet been achieved. Very recently, the UN received first information on a wider subject, space traffic management.
Space Debris – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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