The United Nations and Outer Space

Bin Cheng

in Studies in International Space Law

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780198257301
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681745 | DOI:
The United Nations and Outer Space

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This chapter provides from the legal point of view a general survey of the work of the United Nations in the space field, as well as an examination of certain related and very specific issues and disputes which the United Nations was dealing with at the time. Among these were the problem of the allocation and control of radio frequencies, the legality of the use of reconnaissance satellites, which was related to the question of the definition and delimitation of outer space, and the military use of outer space. The dispute in and outside the United Nations between the Soviet Union and the United States over two aerial incidents which occurred in 1960 provided the basis for a clear and fundamental distinction being drawn between the legality of peripheral and penetrative reconnaissance in international law. This distinction is crucial in determining the legality of reconnaissance by means of satellites, provided of course that it is possible to define the boundary between national airspace and outer space.

Keywords: United Nations; radio frequencies; reconnaissance satellites; outer space; Soviet Union; United States; international law

Chapter.  13971 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public International Law

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