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Start Date

April 2021

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Rebecca Davis Gibbons, PhD

Keywords

International Space Treaty, International Norms, International Space Law, International Relations, Astropolitics, Space Policy

Abstract

Humanity’s future in space, whether a cooperative or competitive endeavor, depends significantly on modern interpretations of the International Space Treaty. The purposely vague language of the 1967 treaty allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to reach an agreement during the Cold War, but with little consideration for what roles other states would play or what multilateral management of space and its resources would look like in the future. International relations theories can help assess whether the current actions of individual space-faring nations and commercial actors look to uphold standards and norms set forth by the 1967 treaty, allowing space activities to be “...carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries” or if they are choosing different interpretations limiting the benefits of space to the most affluent. A case study on international space norms will examine how ambiguities regarding space debris, commercial activity, settlement, traffic, and military activities are being interpreted by major space actors. The study will determine what new norms are emerging and if they result in a space race or space for all humankind.

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Modern Interpretations of the International Space Treaty: The Future of International Space Relations - transcript

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

Modern Interpretations of the International Space Treaty: The Future of International Space Relations

Humanity’s future in space, whether a cooperative or competitive endeavor, depends significantly on modern interpretations of the International Space Treaty. The purposely vague language of the 1967 treaty allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to reach an agreement during the Cold War, but with little consideration for what roles other states would play or what multilateral management of space and its resources would look like in the future. International relations theories can help assess whether the current actions of individual space-faring nations and commercial actors look to uphold standards and norms set forth by the 1967 treaty, allowing space activities to be “...carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries” or if they are choosing different interpretations limiting the benefits of space to the most affluent. A case study on international space norms will examine how ambiguities regarding space debris, commercial activity, settlement, traffic, and military activities are being interpreted by major space actors. The study will determine what new norms are emerging and if they result in a space race or space for all humankind.

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