Consolidating Space: A Proposal to Establish a Central Forum for the Settlement of Space-Related Disputes

Matthew JP Horton · 22 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. 627

Abstract

Over sixty years have passed since the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into Earth’s orbit. In that time, humanity’s presence in space has flourished as technology advanced and new actors entered the scene. Despite this progress, the regime upon which the world relies to resolve space disputes has hardly changed in the fifty years of its existence. As private enterprise floods into the final frontier, how humanity will resolve the inevitable, extraterrestrial disputes is becoming a pressing concern.

The Outer Space Treaty establishes three fundamental principles of space law: (1) space is sovereignless, (2) space exploration and use must be collaborative, and (3) the use of space must benefit all humankind. Although individuals have access to a variety of forums for the resolution of space-related disputes, these forums each possess strengths and weaknesses in light of the fundamental principles of international space law. Therefore, to promote the sovereignless and cooperative resolution of outer space disputes, preserving the ability of all states to access outer space, this Note proposes that a three-pronged Global Space Organization be established to settle disputes, centralize collaboration, and ensure the sharing of research and discovery.