Report: No U.S. Decision Yet on Adopting EU Space Code

The United States has yet to determine whether it will adopt European Union rules with possible bearing on the use of orbital armaments, a high-level U.S. State Department told Arms Control Today in late February (see GSN, Jan. 28).

A panel of representatives from multiple federal entities has examined the Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, and the group would pursue related dialogue with the European Union upon receiving an administration go-ahead, the insider said on February 23.

The Obama administration should "immediately consult" with relevant Senate panels and other lawmakers on Washington's possible adoption of the EU code, 37 GOP senators told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a February 2 letter.

The group led by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) indicated it was “deeply concerned” by the possibility of Washington seeking “a multilateral commitment with a multitude of potential highly damaging implications for sensitive military and intelligence programs (current, planned or otherwise).”

The lawmakers urged the administration to specify if the code would constrain U.S. options for fielding orbital missile interceptors or technology capable of neutralizing foreign antisatellite armaments.

An administration reply to the request was pending, the State Department official said, adding the EU rules would not conflict with the National Space Policy. The U.S. space policy does place additional constraints on space-based weapons or other technology, according to Arms Control Today (Abramson/Gebben, Arms Control Today, March 2011).

Meanwhile, the first geosynchronous satellite for the planned U.S. Space-Based Infrared System has been transferred to an Air Force facility in Florida to undergo fueling, vetting and other procedures ahead of its launch scheduled in May, Lockheed Martin Corp. announced on Monday (see GSN, Dec. 2, 2009).

The GEO-1 satellite's "delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station represents the program’s most significant milestone to-date and I am proud of the entire SBIRS team dedicated to delivering this cutting edge missile warning spacecraft,” Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS vice president and program director, said in a press release. (Lockheed Martin Corp. release, March 7).

March 8, 2011
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The United States has yet to determine whether it will adopt European Union rules with possible bearing on the use of orbital armaments, a high-level U.S. State Department told Arms Control Today in late February (see GSN, Jan. 28).