Several multilateral treaties have been adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to enable the orderly conduct of activities in outer space.

The cornerstone of these governance instruments is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Among the principles embodied in the Treaty are the freedom of exploration and use of space for the benefit and interest of all countries, the non-appropriation of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and the prohibition of the deployment of nuclear weapons or other kinds of weapons of mass destruction in outer space.

Four other treaties were adopted to reinforce the framework set by the Outer Space Treaty.

The Rescue Agreement of 1968 requires States to assist an astronaut in case of accident, distress, emergency or unintended landing.

The Liability Convention of 1972 establishes the standards of liability for damage caused by space objects.

The Registration Convention of 1975 requires States to register all objects launched into outer space with the United Nations.

The Moon Agreement of 1979 elaborates on the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty as they apply to the Moon and other celestial bodies.

Five sets of principles support that body of law. These are the declaration of legal principles governing the activities of States in  Outer Space (1963), the principles relating to international direct television broadcasting (1982), the principles relating to remote sensing of the Earth (1986), the principles on the use of nuclear power sources (1992) and the declaration on international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space (1996).

Other resolutions adopted by the Assembly to strengthen the framework include a means for States that are not party to the Registration Convention to provide information on their satellites (1721 B of 1961) and recommendations to facilitate the application of the concept of the "launching State" (59/115 of 2004) and for the enhancement of registration practices (62/101 of 2007).

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