and editor-in-chief of ‘ROOM:
The Space Journal’
and chairman of the Moscow-based International Expert Society on
Space Threat Defence, has proposed that nations should co-operate to
build an armed space station capable of tackling both natural and
man-made threats to the planet.
was delivering the keynote address at the 4th Manfred Lachs
International Conference on Conflicts in Space and the Rule of Law in
to this meeting of lawyers from around the world he said that a new
international approach to space, which he dubbed ‘astropolitics’,
would be required to bring this concept to reality. Astropolitics
would also be needed to deal with other potential issues such as
defining who would be responsible for trying, convicting and
punishing someone who commits a murder in space.
highlighted space-derived threats to mankind ranging from asteroids
to sun storms as well as threats arising on Earth from human activity
including war and global warming.
defence against some of these threats, he suggested, was what he
termed ‘URBOCOP’ – a Universal Robotic Battle Cosmic Platform.
would be an armed, unmanned space station capable of monitoring Earth
and space. It would have on-board weapons capable of destroying both
natural and man-made objects threatening Earth - including ballistic
missiles launched by one national against another.
control system would be entirely automatic and free from human bias,
allowing it to make decisions about striking dangerous military
launches, regardless of their country of origin.
be acceptable to governments around the globe it must be an
international platform with completely transparent intellectual
property rights and open architecture. Funding
and the right to use it must belong to all mankind - encompassing
advanced nations and developing countries alike, with no restrictions
will require a new approach to international politics which
Ashurbeyli named ‘astropolitics’ – something which would need
to encompass not just major aspects of international relationships
but legal matters of a much more human scale.
our history, the question I now pose is inevitable and perhaps a
little sad – but is key for international law makers. At some point
the first murder of a person, either from space or in space, will
or rather when, this happens - will a legal framework to deal with it
already be in place – before it is unavoidably
popularised by a bestselling
and a Hollywood blockbuster?
the fact that space development is currently largely the domain of
around ten countries from more than 200 across the globe, I maintain
that space law should not be the law of the rich and powerful.
do not need space cowboys in space saloons
or a new gold rush in pursuit of the natural resources of space.
“We all share responsibility for a world of 8 billion people and as we move into a new era of space exploitation and exploration we will need steadfast and robust laws and treaties – much like the laws we already have governing our oceans and land masses.”