Reconsidering the Rules for Space Security

Origins of the Rules for Space

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Nancy W. Gallagher and John David Steinbruner
Reconsidering the Rules of Space

A 1950 RAND report that has been called “the birth certificate of American space policy” underscored the practical importance of legal justification.3 The report emphasized the “vital necessity” of improved intelligence about the closed Soviet Union but cautioned that because the existence of spy satellites could not and should not be kept secret for long, creating a favorable context in which to use the new technology would be just as important as developing the capability itself. The authors recognized that reconnaissance satellites would pose a dilemma for Soviet leaders, who would see the loss of secrecy as a major violation of sovereignty and a quasi-permanent threat to security. But U.S. satellites would be too high to shoot down, at least initially, so Soviet response options would be limited to legal and diplomatic protests, attacks on ground stations, or total war. If the United States paid careful attention to political and psychological issues associated with space technology, the RAND report argued, it could constrain the Soviet counterreaction, strengthen deterrence, reduce Politburo resistance to international inspections of atomic installations, and possibly elicit a radical reorientation of Soviet behavior along more cooperative lines.4

To establish a favorable political context and set a precedent that could be used to legitimize future reconnaissance satellites, the Eisenhower administration decided to start by launching a scientific satellite even though military alternatives would have been ready sooner. The launch coincided with the International Geophysical Year, and the satellite, launched using a modified research rocket, was placed in an orbit that would not traverse the Soviet

Union.5 The U.S. decision to wait until it could launch a scientific satellite allowed the USSR to create a public sensation by being the first country to launch a man-made satellite, but one of Eisenhower’s military advisors remarked that the Soviets “had done us a good turn, unintentionally, in establishing the concept of freedom of international space.”6 That judgment reflected an appreciation that space could not be physically controlled by military force in the manner that territory on Earth or the airspace over it is con- trolled.7 Some accommodation in space for mutual benefit would be necessary even in the context of global confrontation. Khrushchev appeared to have recognized this logic, as well. After the Soviets shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane in May 1960, Charles de Gaulle asked about cameras in the Sputnik orbiting over France, and Khrushchev said that he object- ed to airplane overflights, not satellite-based surveillance.8

In the Cold War atmosphere that prevailed at the time, Eisenhower’s judgment was initially subjected to political attack.9 Senator Lyndon Johnson called the Soviet accomplishment a grave threat to national security and a challenge even greater than Pearl Harbor, evoking images of warfare in space that resonated with public fears.10 The administration tried to allay those fears by releasing a space primer in which the President’s Science Advisory Committee explained that space was inherently better suited for collecting and transmitting information than for direct weapons applications. Even if one could develop the technology to use satellites as bombers, for example, such schemes would be “clumsy and ineffective ways of doing a job.”11

Those technical assurances did not immediately assuage the sense of alarm stimulated by the Soviet satellites and the perceived missile gap, and Senator John Kennedy successfully appealed to that alarm in winning the 1960 presidential election. Once in office, however, the Kennedy administration quickly developed a strong interest in generating rules not only to protect those national security uses of space that it found attractive but also to prevent the Soviets from pursuing military space capabilities that the United States did not want either side to have. To preclude the political problems that would be caused by Soviet nuclear weapons perpetually orbiting overhead, the Kennedy administration orchestrated a 1963 agreement renouncing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in space as one of the first superpower arms control accords.12

That initiative was elaborated by the Johnson administration to produce the 1967 OST, which remains the basic legal foundation for the regulation of space activities. As president, Lyndon Johnson was personally interested in formalizing the principle that outer space, unlike air space, should be free for access and peaceful use without the permission of other states. To secure broad agreement on the OST in the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), the United States had to accept Brazil’s proposal to precede this freedom-of-use principle with the commitment that the exploration and use of space shall be for the benefit of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development (art. I.1). The freedom-of-use principle is strengthened by article II’s prohibition on national appropriation, echoing a post-Sputnik declaration made by then Senator Johnson: “We of the United States do not acknowledge that there are landlords of outer space who can presume to bargain with the nations of the Earth on the price of access to this domain.”13 The principle is qualified, however, by article IX’s insistence that one country’s use of space should neither interfere with other countries’ current space activities nor degrade the space environment for future users, and by article VII’s assignment to launching states of liability for damage to other states parties. Thus, to gain the legal right to orbit reconnaissance satellites over other countries without their permission, the United States accepted a package of provisions that together “established a fair balance between the interests and obligations of all concerned, including the countries which had as yet undertaken no space activities.”14

The portions of the OST that specifically addressed military activities balanced the general interest in peaceful uses of space with the superpowers’ particular interests in using space to help stabilize deterrence while foreclosing unattractive avenues for military competition. Arms control verification, early warning, and crisis management were generally accepted as peaceful national security space activities. Article IV turned the superpowers’ 1963 declarations of intent into a legal ban on WMD in orbit and also prohibited using celestial bodies for any military purpose. The treaty said nothing about putting conventional weapons in orbit, sending ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads through space, or deploying most types of anti-satellite weapons (ASATs). Article III, however, established the requirement that all space activities be conducted in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, thus presumptively limiting the legitimate use of force in or from space to self-defense and other operations authorized by the Security Council.15 The vague formulation of article III leaves much leeway for space-based military support operations to enhance deterrence, but it belies claims that anything not explicitly prohibited in article IV is permitted.

The OST was supplemented by other agreements expanding on the idea that some uses of space were stabilizing while others would be destabilizing. The 1972 ABM Treaty formalized an understanding that deployment of a missile defense system by one superpower would compel the other to increase its offensive weapons to preserve deterrence, leaving both worse off than before. The treaty allowed only limited missile defense, explicitly outlawed space- based ABM systems or components, and implicitly protected the use of satellites for monitoring compliance by banning interference with so-called national technical means of verification (NTM). The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) and the 1977 Environmental Modification Convention listed space among the places where specific military activities were banned.16 Other accords protected or promoted space-based information and communications systems that supported arms control and crisis management.17 Multilateral agreements to rescue astronauts, to assign liability for damage caused by space objects, and to register satellites launched into space addressed inadvertent problems that might be caused by space activities.

Although ASATs were technically feasible during this period, neither superpower made a sustained effort to develop and deploy a large-scale ASAT system or space-based weapons that could hit terrestrial targets. The United States generally pursued a policy of contingent restraint—that is, it sought to signal that it would keep its own ASAT efforts at a low level so long as the Soviets did likewise, and that it was prepared to accelerate its nascent ASAT programs if the Soviets deployed space weapons.18 The United States initially considered using nuclear-tipped missiles as ASATs but learned that the electro-magnetic pulse from the explosion would damage American satellites as well as Soviet ones, making nuclear ASATs impractical for most uses.19 When the USSR initiated tests of a nonnuclear co-orbital satellite interceptor system in 1968, the United States assessed that this primitive system did not pose an immediate threat. Because ramped-up U.S. efforts to develop nonnuclear ASATs would not have much use as a deterrent, but could stimulate the Soviets to develop a more capable anti-satellite system, the Nixon administration increased passive protection for its satellites and preserved its own rudimentary ASAT system but reduced its funding for research projects on nonnuclear ASAT technology.20 The United States interpreted the Soviet decision to stop ASAT testing in 1971 as acceptance of reciprocal restraint in space consistent with the general spirit of détente and the underlying principles of the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the ABM Treaty.

As doubts grew in both countries during the mid-1970s about the other side’s commitment to détente, ASAT-related allegations resurfaced. The Soviets were accused of using lasers to temporarily blind several U.S. satellites in 1975, although the Department of Defense (DOD) subsequently concluded that a gas pipeline fire was the most likely cause.21 In 1976 the United States deployed its first reconnaissance satellite capable of providing real-time digital imagery of Soviet military locations (the KH-11), and the Soviets resumed testing their co-orbital ASAT system.22 The Carter administration responded to the resumed Soviet ASAT tests by adopting a two-track policy of trying simultaneously to develop a more advanced type of kinetic energy (KE) ASAT—the Miniature Homing Vehicle (MHV)23—and also to negotiate an ASAT ban.24 Some parts of the administration viewed the MHV program as a bargaining chip, while others questioned the wisdom of strategic restraint in space now that the Soviets also had numerous military support satellites.25

The Reagan administration laid the foundation for current U.S. space policy by emphasizing the relevance of space for warfighting over its role in stabilizing deterrence, by ending any serious pursuit of mutual ASAT restraint, and by intensifying U.S. efforts to acquire both offensive and defensive space weapons, most notably the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).26 The administration’s National Space Policy directed the DOD to develop and deploy an operational ASAT capability “at the earliest practical date,” both to deter threats to U.S. and allied space systems and, within the limits of international law, to deny hostile military forces the use of space-based support. The policy also gave DOD its first so-called space force application mission: to prepare, consistent with treaty obligations, “to acquire and deploy space weapons systems for strategic defense should national security conditions dictate.”27 The Reagan administration tried to reinterpret the ABM Treaty’s prohibition on space-based missile defenses to apply only to technologies that were in existence when the treaty was negotiated, not to “exotic technologies” such as the potential space-based lasers envisioned for SDI.28 The Reagan administration also conducted several tests of the MHV system, including one against an aging U.S. weather satellite in 1985.29 But even at the height of renewed superpower tensions, neither side used its rudimentary capabilities to attack its adversary’s satellites.

The mix of formal agreements and informal restraint created an environment in which space could be used by a growing number of countries for many purposes, and the United States played an active role in promoting some emerging civilian applications. The United States organized the first global satellite telecommunications consortium, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat), in 1964, to underscore U.S. interest in peaceful, widely beneficial uses of space. The initial interim arrangement was heavily dominated by the U.S. Comsat Corporation, but the definitive arrangement negotiated in 1973 shared managerial responsibilities and procurement contracts more equitably among members with relevant capabilities and greatly expanded the availability of satellite communications to developing countries.30 By then, France, China, and Japan could build and launch basic scientific satellites, while France and Germany had built an experimental communications satellite.31 Technology originally developed for military purposes also became available for civilian and commercial use. The United States launched the first civilian remote sensing satellite (Landsat) in 1972, making low-resolution multispectral data available at low cost, and by the end of the next decade France and the USSR were selling higher-resolution imagery. President Reagan made signals from the U.S. military’s fledgling Global Positioning System (GPS) available to commercial aircraft in 1983 after Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down when it strayed over Soviet territory.

Each development demonstrating the practical utility and political benefits of space activities increased other major countries’ desire for independent capabilities and stimulated commercial interest. India and Israel launched their first satellites in 1980 and 1988 respectively; Arianespace, a European consortium, began launches in 1979; and the U.S. space shuttle—the first reusable launch vehicle, intended to dramatically reduce launch costs and facilitate commercial access to space—started operations in 1981.

As more countries acquired space capabilities and concerns, they tried to elaborate and extend the general principles in the OST. The 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (or Moon Treaty) applied the new “common heritage of mankind” principle to all celestial bodies except the Earth. The treaty mandated that an international regime to govern the exploitation of natural resources should be established just before such exploitation became feasible, and it specified that this regime should give special consideration both to the contributions of spacefarers who made such exploitation possible and to the needs of less developed countries.32 The International Telecommunications Union, the organization
that allocates orbital slots and radio-frequency spectrum, prohibited interference with nonmilitary communications in its 1982 update to the International Telecommunications Convention (the Nairobi Convention). Discussion of rules for remote sensing began after the United States started to make Landsat imagery available and culminated twelve years later after France launched the first Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite. The 1986 UN General Assembly adopted a set of Principles on Remote Sensing that reaffirmed the right to collect satellite imagery without the permission of the sensed state but specified that primary and processed data should be made available to the sensed state on a timely and nondiscriminatory basis and at a reasonable cost.33 Throughout this sequence the United States used its dominant position to gain agreement on rules that served its own military, political, and economic interests while benefiting other countries as well.

The principles, legal obligations, and informal restraints built around the OST worked reasonably well when the superpowers had most of the space capabilities, when deterrence stability was the main strategic objective, and when the state of technology limited military satellites to passive support rather than warfighting applications. As the number of space-faring countries grew and the uses of space expanded, however, efforts to elaborate the OST principles failed to keep pace. The process of rule formation stagnated during the second half of the Cold War. Few immediate problems arose because the total amount of nonmilitary space activity was limited and the superpowers’ military space capabilities remained within the understanding of “peaceful” uses as ones that stabilized deterrence.34 Stagnation of the rule-making process nonetheless laid the groundwork for future difficulty as these conditions changed.


3.Walter A.McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 108.

4. Paul Kecskemeti, "The Satellite Rocket Vehicle: Political and Psychological Problems," RAND RM-567 (October 1950).

5. McDougall, Heavens, 122–123. The key policy document is "Statement of Policy on U.S. Scientific Satellite Program," National Security Council (NSC) doc. 5520 (May 20, 1955), 6–20 in Presidential Decisions: NSC Documents, ed. Stephanie Feyock (Washington, DC: The George C. Marshall Institute, 2006) (hereinafter referred to as NSSP, NSC Documents). The history of the CIA's role in shaping early U.S. space policy to promote the "freedom of space" principle is detailed in Dwayne A. Day, "Tinker, Tailor, Satellite, Spy," The Space Review, October 29, 2007,

6. The adviser was Donald Quarles, Eisenhower's assistant secretary of defense for research and development. A. J. Goodpaster, "Memorandum of Conference with the President," October 8, 1957, 2, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, http://www.eisenhower.

7. In response to several Sputnik launches, President Eisenhower approved policy guidance that was concerned primarily with countering the potential psychological and political effects of Soviet space superiority and with using space for reconnaissance and verification purposes. Manned or unmanned space weapons were mentioned only as a distant possibility. Eisenhower approved four objectives to guide evolving U.S. policy along lines that were more cooperative than competitive: 1) devote a sufficient level of effort to developing and using U.S. space capabilities to achieve U.S. scientific, military, and political purposes and to demonstrate U.S. leadership; 2) increase international cooperation; 3) achieve agreements to assure the orderly development of national and international programs for the peaceful uses of space; and 4) use space to assist in "opening up" the Soviet bloc through intelligence and scientific cooperation. See "Preliminary U.S. Policy on Outer Space," NSC5814/1 (August 18, 1958), in NSSP, NSC Documents.

8. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Waging Peace (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965), 556; and George B. Kistiakowsky, A Scientist at the White House (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976), 334. In other settings, the Soviets did not initially distinguish between satellite and aerial overflights and denounced both as an illegal infringement on national sovereignty. See Gerald Steinberg, Satellite Reconnaissance: The Role of Informal Bargaining (New York: Praeger, 1983), 26–29. Steinberg asserts that Soviet threats to shoot down reconnaissance satellites were credible because they used a high-altitude surface-to- air missile to bring down the U-2, but a National Intelligence Estimate done in conjunction with NSC 5814/1 did not put much weight on this possibility. "Soviet Capabilities in Guided Missiles and Space Vehicles," National Intelligence Estimate, August 19, 1958, 9, doc. SE00218, Digital National Security Archives,

9. Within three years of Sputnik's launch, the United States had launched its first photo- graphic reconnaissance, weather, navigation, signals intelligence, missile warning, and communications satellites, reflecting the president's emphasis on military support applications that could be given little publicity. See Bob Preston et al., Space Weapons, Earth Wars (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2002), 9.

10. Senate Committee on Armed Services, Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, Inquiry into Satellite and Missile Programs, 85th Cong., 1st and 2nd sess., 1958, Committee Print, 1–3.

11. "Introduction to Outer Space" (1958), in James Killian, Sputnik, Scientists, and Eisenhower (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1977), 288–299. The primer was originally released by the White House on March 26, 1958.

12. For domestic political reasons, this agreement took the form of parallel U.S. and Soviet statements of intent that were formally endorsed on October 17, 1963, by UN General Assembly Resolution 1884, "Stationing Weapons of Mass Destruction in Space." See Raymond L. Garthoff, "Banning the Bomb in Outer Space," International Security 5, no. 3 (Winter 1980/1981): 25–40.

13. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, "Treaty on Outer Space, Message from the President of the United States," in Treaty on Outer Space, Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, 90th Cong., 1st sess., March 7, 13, and April 12, 1967, 105–106.

14. Official Records of the General Assembly, 21st sess., 1st comm., Summary Records of Meetings, September 20–December 17, 1966, 427–428. On the principles outlined in the Outer Space Treaty, see Ram Jakhu, "Legal Issues Relating to the Global Public Interest in Outer Space," Journal of Space Law, Fall 2006, 37–55.

15. David A. Koplow, "The Law Regarding Military Uses of Outer Space" (paper, George Washington University Space Policy Institute, Washington, DC, November 13, 2002).

16. The LTBT prohibits nuclear explosions in any environment except underground, which is understood to include tests of nuclear-tipped anti-satellite weapons or missile defense interceptors during peacetime but not nuclear weapons used during war. Article I of the Environmental Modification Convention banned the deliberate manipulation of natural environmental processes having "widespread, long-lasting or severe effects as the means of destruction, damage, or injury to any other State Party."

17. Superpower arms control agreements routinely included provisions banning interference with NTM. The 1971 Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War committed the superpowers to consult immediately in the event of interference with communications or early-warning satellites, while the 1971 Hot Line Modernization Agreement specified the use of Soviet Molniya and American Intelsat satellites for crisis communication and committed both sides to ensure their continuous and reliable operation.

18. See Steven Weber, Cooperation and Discord in U.S.-Soviet Arms Control (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 204–272; and Steven Weber and Sidney Drell, "Attempts to Regulate Military Activities in Space," in U.S.-Soviet Security Cooperation, ed. Alexander George et al. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 373–431.

19. U.S. and Soviet high-altitude nuclear tests before the LTBT generated artificial radiation belts that damaged or destroyed satellites and persisted for an extended period of time in addition to causing problems with electronic devices on Earth. The 1962 "Starfish Prime" test burned out streetlights in Hawaii, destroyed seven satellites in seven months, and left an artificial radiation belt that lasted until the early 1970s. See Barry D. Watts, The Military Uses of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, 2001), 19.

20. Weber and Drell, "Attempts to Regulate Military Activities in Space," 390–393. Presi- dent Ford codified the policy to rely primarily on "international treaty obligations and political measures to foster free use of space" and on passive protective measures rather than on more offensive options in "Enhanced Survivability of Critical Space Systems," NSDM 333 (July 7, 1976), in Presidential Decisions: NSC Documents Supplement: Newly Declassified Excerpts, ed. R. Cargill Hall (Washington, DC: The George C. Marshall Institute, 2006) (hereinafter referred to as NSSP, NSC Documents Supplement), 5.

21. In his first stint as defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld told reporters the Pentagon had no evidence to support claims that U.S. satellites had been blinded by Soviet lasers. DOD provided background material attributing the satellite problems to a gas pipeline fire. Another possible explanation was that the Soviets were using lasers to track U.S. satellites, something that the United States had been doing for years. When a group of American scientists and arms control experts were able to visit the Soviet laser ranging facility alleged to have been involved, they assessed the technical characteristics of the site as posing no ASAT threat. See Phillip J. Klass, "Anti-satellite Laser Use Suspected," Aviation Week and Space Technology, December 8, 1975, 12; "DOD Continues Satellite Blinding Investigation," Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 5, 1976, 18; and "A Visit to Sary Shagan and Kyshtym," Science and Global Security 1, nos. 1–2 (1989): 12.

22. After reviewing numerous theories about Soviet motives for resumed ASAT testing, Paul Stares assessed that countering U.S. military capabilities was the most likely motive but noted that press reports indicating that the United States was going to embark on a new ASAT program also might have played a role. Other experts placed more weight on internal technological motivations than action-reaction dynamics. See Paul Stares, Space Weapons and U.S. Strategy: Origins and Development (London: Croom Helm, 1985), 146–155; and Herbert York, Making Weapons: Talking Peace (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 275.

23. The Soviet co-orbital ASAT system involved launching a missile when the target satellite was over the launch site, then maneuvering the interceptor close to the target before detonating and destroying the target with shrapnel fragments. Although the system was eventually declared to be operational, its test record had more failures than successes, it would be effective only against satellites in relatively low orbits, and it required significant time to launch and maneuver into position. The proposed U.S. ASAT system, by contrast, used an air-launch missile that would ascend directly to the target and destroy or disrupt it by force of impact, so the time between decision, launch, and impact would be greatly reduced. See Laura Grego, "A History of Anti-Satellite Weapons Programs," Union of Concerned Scientists, 2006, programs.html.

24. The Carter administration's two-track ASAT decision is laid out in "Arms Control for Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Systems," PD/NSC-33 (March 10, 1978), 153, in NSSP, NSC Documents; and "National Space Policy," PD/NSC 37 (May 11, 1978), sec. 2.D, 6, in NSPP, NSC Documents Supplement.

25. Ashton Carter, "Satellites and Anti-Satellites: The Limits of the Possible," International Security 10, no. 4 (Spring 1986): 46–98.

26. The Reagan National Space Policy was established in NSDD 42 (July 4, 1982) and revised in NSDD 293 (January 5, 1988). A declassified version of NSDD 42 is available in the NSSP collection and an unclassified summary of NSDD 239 is available at http://www. NSDD 42 includes a basic principle stating that the United States will study specific arms control options that might serve national security but will "oppose arms control concepts or legal regimes that seek general prohibitions on the military or intelligence use of space," but this principle is not in NSDD 293.

27. These quotes are from the unclassified summary of NSDD 293. The corresponding section of NSDD 42 is redacted in the declassified version, so it is not known whether the same language was used in the initial version of the Reagan National Space Policy.

28. The central articles of the ABM Treaty prohibit testing, development, or deployment of any ABM system except at each side's two (later one) declared land-based ABM sites. Agreed Statement D specifies that to ensure fulfillment of this general obligation, in the event of new technologies, the parties will consult about additional specific limits that might be needed. Proponents of the "broad" interpretation used Agreed Statement D in isolation to argue that the parties were free to develop and deploy ABM systems based on "other physical principles" unless additional limits were added to the ABM Treaty, but this interpretation is contradicted by the negotiating history, the ratification record, and subsequent practice by the two parties prior to the Reagan administration's unilateral reinterpretation. The controversy is reviewed in Matthew Bunn, Foundation for the Future: The ABM Treaty and National Security (Washington, DC: The Arms Control Association, 1990), 58–73; and Peter L. Hays, "United States Military Space: Into the Twenty-First Century," INSS Occasional Paper no. 42, USAF Institute for National Security Studies, 2002, 77–79,

29. Congress viewed such destructive tests as provocative after the Soviets had voluntarily ceased their ASAT tests, and it voted to withhold funding unless the Soviets resumed their testing program. There were also major concerns about the projected cost of the F-15 ASAT program, which had risen from $500 million at the outset of the program to $5.3 billion by1985. See Dwayne Day, "Blunt Arrows: the Limited Utility of ASATs," The Space Review (June 6, 2005),

30. In the years before Intelsat was formed, overseas telephone calls were rapidly increasing but still had to be carried by expensive underwater cables or unreliable shortwave radio. The Soviet bloc chose not to participate in Intelsat and instead organized their own small satellite communications organization, Intersputnik, in 1972. On the governance of Intelsat, see William J. Drake, "Communications," in Managing Global Issues, ed. P. J. Simmons and Chantal de Jonge Oudraat (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2001), 35–36.

31. The United States helped its allies' early space programs but often on terms that the partners found onerous. For example, France convinced other European countries to sup- port the development of an independent launch capability (the Ariane program) after the United States insisted that it would launch the Franco-German communications satellites only if they were not used to compete with Intelsat.

32. As of December 2007, only thirteen countries, not including any space-faring states, have ratified the Moon Treaty, partly due to concerns about the "common heritage of mankind" language and partly due to the fact that large-scale exploitation of space resources is still not economically or technically feasible. Treaty status is at

33. UN General Assembly, Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Space, UN

34. In 1980, for example, 105 out of 109 orbital launches were by the United States or the Soviet Union and no recognizable commercial launch industry existed. See Futron Corporation, The Declining U.S. Role in the Commercial Launch Industry (Bethesda, MD: Futron Corporation, 2005), 1, US_Commercial_Launch_Industry_White_Paper.pdf.