For information only - not an official document

30 March 2012

Growing pace of space activities calls for further development of space law

VIENNA, 30 March (UN Information Service) - Further development of international space law governing the activities of States in the exploration and peaceful use of outer space was discussed at the 51st session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that closed today at the Vienna International Centre.

The Subcommittee addressed numerous challenges posed by the heightened pace of the activities in outer space as well as the increased participation of various actors, both public and private, in the conduct of space activities. Topics of discussions included review of national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, use of nuclear power sources in outer space, information on national mechanisms relating to space debris mitigation measures as well as other initiatives in the development of international legal regime of outer space that complement five treaties and five sets of declarations and principles of the United Nations on outer space activities.

A symposium, organized by the International Institute of Space Law and the European Centre of Space Law during the session this year addressed the transfer of ownership of space objects, including issues of responsibility, liability and registration.

The Working Group on National Legislation Relevant to the Peaceful Exploration and Use of Outer Space finalized its report on national space legislation that offers a comprehensive overview of the current status of national space laws and regulations. In addition, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), that serves as the secretariat to the Subcommittee, made available at its website ( the updated database on national space legislation.

Stressing the importance of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, a new agenda item will be discussed at the 2013 session of the Subcommittee on the review of international mechanisms for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space under a five-year workplan, aimed at identifying the legal issues commonly addressed in existing agreements on international space cooperation.

Digital recordings of the Subcommitee's deliberations are available at

* *** *

For further information contact:

Romana Kofler
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962
Email: romana.kofler[at]