Outer Space Treaty of 1967

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Outer Space Treaty of 1967


Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, an international treaty approved on Dec. 19, 1966, by the 21st session of the UN General Assembly and signed on Jan. 27, 1967, in Moscow, Washington, and London by the depositary states—the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain. Other states began signing the treaty the same day. For the countries that sign it, the Outer Space Treaty becomes effective from the time the instruments of ratification are turned over to the depositary states for safekeeping. By May 1, 1971, 90 countries, including the USSR, the Ukrainian SSR, and the Byelorussian SSR had signed the treaty. The treaty is termless, open for signing to all states, and provides for every state’s right to withdraw from it at any time.

The Outer Space Treaty has a preamble and 17 articles. Article 1 stipulates that the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall serve the welfare and interests of all countries regardless of the degree of their economic or scientific development and that outer space and celestial bodies are open to all states on an equal basis without any discrimination. Article 3 of the treaty states that activities in outer space shall be in accordance with international law and shall promote international peace and security and the development of international cooperation and mutual aid. The treaty guarantees the protection of the legitimate interests of each state individually and of the whole international community against abuses of whatever rights have been granted. The states that have signed the treaty pledge not to place in outer space objects carrying nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction; to use the moon and other celestial bodies exclusively for peaceful ends; not to create military bases, installations, or fortifications on the moon or other celestial bodies, and not to conduct tests of any weapons or military maneuvers on them.

The treaty set forth the general principle that states that are party to the treaty have international responsibility for national activity in outer space, regardless of whether this activity is carried out by governmental agencies or by nongovernmental juristic persons. Parties to the treaty are also responsible for damage caused by space objects or parts of the objects to another party to the treaty or to its natural or juristic persons, regardless of the place where the damage takes place: on earth, in the atmosphere, or in outer space. States are obliged to be especially careful in conducting space experiments that could disturb the activity of other states or adversely affect the environment of the earth. The treaty banned the use of outer space for war propaganda.

With respect to cooperation in outer space, the treaty states that astronauts of one state must give all possible assistance to astronauts of other states in their activity in outer space and on celestial bodies; all stations, installations, equipment, and spaceships on the moon and on other celestial bodies are open to representatives of other parties to the treaty on the basis of reciprocity. Astronauts are considered envoys of mankind in outer space, and all possible assistance must be extended to them in case of accident, distress, or forced landing.


Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1967, no. 44, p. 588.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
But the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is very explicit: "Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means."
While there hasn't been any conflict in space itself and establishing weapons in space is proscribed as per the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, strategic applications of space technology are nevertheless widespread.
Currently, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which was signed by 107 countries, prohibits countries from claiming any sovereignty over celestial bodies.
While the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 bans weapons of mass destruction in space, there has been little success in controlling conventional space weapons in spite of substantial efforts led by Russia and China over the last 50 years.
PM: The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 represents one of the greatest achievements of preventive diplomacy.
Despite these developments, few new space treaties have emerged since the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, (2) and even fewer have been widely signed and ratified.
Any legal analysis of space activities must begin with the UN's Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which establishes the basic legal principles and prohibitions relevant to space.
Albeit a complicated undertaking with many interests to protect, they suggest crafting a "non-armament" agreement for space akin to the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 and, perhaps, built upon the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. This might be the only way to prevent a costly, destabilizing "weaponized space free-for-all" that would destroy the foundations previously laid for a comprehensive, treaty-based arms control and disarmament regime.
Caldicott (co-founder, Physicians for Social Responsibility) and Eisendrath (chair of the Project for Nuclear Awareness and a co- author of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967) warn of the dangers of the militarization of space.
(19) The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 bans the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in orbit, on the moon, or otherwise in outer space; and limits the use of the moon to peaceful purposes.