According to abbreviationfinder, the Outer Space Treaty (OST) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1967, and entered into force in October 1967. It is one of the most important international treaties governing space exploration and activities. The OST sets forth principles that are intended to ensure that space exploration and activities are conducted for the benefit of all humankind, while at the same time ensuring that space exploration and activities do not lead to an arms race or other forms of conflict in outer space.
The OST is comprised of three main parts: the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing Activities in Outer Space (the “Declaration”), which sets forth general principles governing activities in outer space; the Agreement on Principles Governing the Activities of States in Exploration and Use of Outer Space (the “Agreement”), which sets forth specific rules for states engaging in outer space activities; and a Protocol on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the “Liability Protocol”) which establishes rules regarding liability for damage caused by objects launched into outer space.
The Declaration begins with a statement that “[a]ll mankind shall have free access to outer space” and sets out several principles governing this access. These include the principle that outer space should be used for peaceful purposes only, as well as prohibitions on weapons testing, placing weapons of mass destruction into orbit, or stationing them on celestial bodies. The Declaration also states that celestial bodies may not be subject to national appropriation by any means, including through claims of sovereignty or through military occupation. It also provides for freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, as well as declaring that states should take measures to ensure their nationals comply with international law while conducting activities in outer space.
The Agreement contains further provisions regarding state responsibilities with respect to use of outer space resources and technology transfer. States must agree not to place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction into orbit or station them on celestial bodies, nor shall they use such weapons against objects located beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Additionally, states must agree not to use force against objects located beyond Earth’s atmosphere without prior authorization from a competent international body such as the United Nations Security Council. States must also agree not to interfere with another state’s exploration or use of outer space resources or technology transfer related thereto without prior authorization from a competent international body such as the United Nations Security Council.
The Liability Protocol establishes rules regarding liability for damage caused by objects launched into orbit around Earth by states parties to this treaty. Under this protocol, each launching state is liable for damages caused by its own objects launched into orbit around Earth regardless if it has been negligent or at fault; however, it can be relieved from liability if it can prove that it has taken all necessary steps to prevent damage from its object being caused prior to launch and during flight operations thereafter. Furthermore, if two states are responsible for causing damage due to their respective objects then each state shall bear responsibility based upon their degree of fault determined by an appropriate international tribunal established under the auspices of an appropriate international organization such as the United Nations General Assembly or International Court of Justice.
In conclusion, The Outer Space Treaty is one of the most important international treaties governing activities related to use and exploration in outer space today. Its purpose is twofold: firstly it seeks to ensure peaceful uses only are conducted within this region; secondly it seeks both prevent an arms race occurring within this region whilst establishing rules which govern liability should damages arise due either directly or indirectly from activity conducted hereunder its jurisdiction.. By setting out these general principles along with specific obligations upon signatory nations this treaty provides both a framework within which nations may legally explore our universe yet at same time provide protections against potential conflicts arising due such activity taking place.