PROTECTION OF SPACE ENVIRONMENT – REMARK ON LEGAL REMEDIES INCLUDING INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS REGARDING SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES IN SPACE
Prof. Nagendra Murthy M.P, Mahesh B. P.1, B. Bhavya Chengappa, Dechamma M.C. | JSS Law College, Mysore, Karnataka.
The recent years have seen a phenomenal increase in the magnitude and pace at which environmental laws are being analysed as well as being enacted. The preceding statement would not only apply to the territory of India or to the planet Earth at large, but to the final frontier: Space. The Outer Space Treaty, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization (and subsequently ratified by India) emphasizes on global security by prohibiting the placement of nuclear warheads or weapons of mass destruction in orbit, in outer space or on any celestial body. In addition to this, it regards astronauts as “envoys of mankind” guaranteeing that it shall be the obligation of acceding States to come to their aid. Liability for all damages caused by objects that have been positioned or lost in space shall be borne by the launching States themselves. The biggest challenge with regard to space environment is space debris. The February 2009 collision between the Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251 communications satellites over Siberia offers proof that a solution for such mid-space high-velocity collisions is dire. The launching states must ensure retrieval and subsequent safe disposal of decommissioned space objects or as a last resort, place such decommissioned objects in a graveyard orbit. This would prevent further addition to the already existing plethora of space debris and at the very least prevent such collisions that adversely affect the security and environment of space. An analysis of the current international legalities related to outer space would aid in reforming and ensuring execution of existing agreements while allowing insight into this relatively uncharted field of law.
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