Since 1962, the United Nations has maintained a Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space. Originally established as a mechanism to aid the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in its discussions on the political, legal and technical issues concerning outer space, the evolution of international space law resulted in space object registration becoming a means of identifying which States' bear international responsibility and liability for space objects.
Following multi-year discussion amongst States, the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space entered into force in 1976. States and international intergovernmental organisations that agree to abide by the Convention are required to establish their own national registries and provide information on their space objects to the Secretary-General for inclusion in the United Nations Register. Responsibility for maintenance of the Register was delegated by the Secretary-General to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. As required under the treaty, UNOOSA publicly disseminates the information provided as United Nations documents, which are available through its website and through the United Nations Official Document System.
To date over 92% of all satellites, probes, landers, manned spacecraft and space station flight elements launched into Earth orbit or beyond have been registered with the Secretary-General.