Delegates at the United Nations Have Begun Forging New Rules for Space

Ploughshares News, Research in Action, Space Security

“There’s a good display of goodwill and broad engagement. I think there’s points of consensus on what needs to be done. We need to find common understandings of how international laws apply in space,” says Jessica West, a senior researcher at the research institute Project Ploughshares based in Waterloo, Ontario, who’s attending the meeting.

Astronauts and astronomers need better space governance

Jessica West Analysis and Commentary, Featured, News, Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

On November 15, 2021, seven astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) were ordered to take shelter because of the possibility of catastrophic collisions as the station passed through a cloud of debris. The astronauts remained in lifeboats while the ISS passed through the cloud multiple times.

Arms control in outer space: Status, timeline, and analysis

Jessica West Featured, Reports, Space Security

Contrary to popular imagination, outer space is not a “Wild, Wild West” of lawlessness. Human activities in outer space are governed by international law, including the United Nations Charter, international humanitarian law (IHL), and, most critically, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST), which sets out broad principles on how states are to conduct themselves in this domain, including commitments to registration, due regard, responsibility, liability, and non-contamination.

Consulting Canadians on a framework for future space exploration

Jessica West Featured, News, Reports, Space Security

The following response to the Canadian consultation on a framework for future space exploration is submitted by Project Ploughshares, a Canadian peace research institute with a focus on disarmament efforts and international security. Project Ploughshares has been engaged in space security and international policy governance for almost 20 years and leads the Space Security Index project.

The role of the U.S. Space Force in the future of warfare in outer space

Jessica West Featured, Ploughshares Monitor

The United States Space Force is taking shape. A uniform of camouflage fatigues and an insignia that looks like something from Star Wars have been designed. A contest is under way to name its troops (both “space cadets” and “spacemen” are off the table). There are suggestions that the Force will be modeled after the U.S. Navy.

Preserving the peace

Jessica West Ploughshares Monitor, Space Security

A new space race is on. Symbolized by the historic landing of China’s robotic explorer on the far side of the Moon, the goal this time is to create a permanent human presence on the Moon and beyond.