The United Nations Could Finally Create New Rules For Space

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    On Monday, A group of diplomats from the United Kingdom proposed that the United Nations set up a group to develop new norms of international behavior in space, with the aim of preventing the kinds of misunderstandings that could lead to war. Wired reports: As spacefaring nations advance their military satellite capabilities, including being able to disrupt or damage other satellites, such provocative behavior could escalate already-tense diplomatic situations — and create more space debris in low earth orbit, a crucial region that’s already chock-full of derelict spacecraft. This is the first significant progress in developing space rules in more than four decades. The most important piece of space law, the Outer Space Treaty, was negotiated by the fledgling space powers in 1967. Monday’s vote before the UN’s First Committee, which is focused on international security and disarmament, passed overwhelmingly, with representatives of 163 countries voting yea versus eight nays and nine abstentions. Considering the widespread support for the proposal, including backing from the Biden administration, Edmondson expects it to pass in the full UN General Assembly next month. The proposal would create a new working group at the UN that will meet twice a year in Geneva in 2022 and 2023. By the end of that time, the group must reach consensus on new rules and identify areas in need of further investigation. Crafting norms for the kinds of activities that escalate tensions or generate debris will likely be top priority for this group, says Cassandra Steer, an expert on space law and space security at the Australian National University in Canberra. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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