For information only - not an official document

24 March 2014

Laws governing the use of outer space discussed in Vienna

VIENNA, 24 March (UN Information Service) - The 53 rd session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) opened today at the Vienna International Centre. The session, which will last until 4 April, considers all aspects of space law and the legal framework underpinning activities in space.

Delegates will debate topics including the status and application of the United Nations treaties on outer space, definition and delimitation of outer space, the character and utilization of the geostationary orbit, legal mechanisms relating to space debris mitigation measures, international mechanisms for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space and capacity-buidling in space law. The Subcommittee will also review national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space and will review the principles relevant to the use of nuclear power sources in outer space.

Three working groups will meet at this session: Working Group on the Status of the Treaties, Working Group on the Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space and Working Group on International Mechanisms for Cooperation.

On 24 March, the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) will hold a symposium on the theme "Regulatory needs for very small satellites".

The official launch of the first United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs Space Law Curriculum will take place during the session. Capacity-building, training and education in space law helps to promote international development and cooperation in space activities and provides the means for a deeper understanding of the interdependent roles of science, technology and law in this area. The Curriculum provides a basic course on space law that can be used in regional centres on space science and technology education affiliated to the United Nations and other educational institutions and training initiatives. It can be found through the link below.

For more information about the 53  rd session of the Legal Subcommittee, see the sessions' page at

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For further information, please contact:

Sinead  Harvey
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) 
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-8718 
Email: sinead.harvey[at]

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