Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched in Outer Space (Launch Registration Convention)

Note: As of February 2008, this page will no longer be updated.

Overview

  • Opened for Signature: 14 January 1975
  • Entered into Force: 15 September 1976
  • Number of Parties: 43 States — Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia.
  • Number of Signatories: 4 States — Burundi, Iran, Nicaragua, and Singapore. Two international intergovernmental organizations (European Space Agency and European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) have declared their acceptance of the rights and obligations provided for in the Convention.
Treaty Text


Background

A registry of launches has been maintained by the UN Secretariat since 1962, in accordance with UNGA Resolution 1721 B (XVI). Since the Convention's entry into force in 1976, another registry of launches has been established for information received from Member States and intergovernmental organizations that are Parties to the Convention. The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 3235 (XXIX).

The Convention also supplements the Outer Space Treaty, as well as the 1972 Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects and the 1968 Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, both of which address technical and legal issues relating to international cooperation in the use and exploration of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Obligations

Under this Convention, all objects launched into earth orbit or beyond into outer space must be recorded with an appropriate national space agency. Information on the object launched into space, including the date and territory or location of the launch, essential orbital parameters, and the function or role of the object in space is to be communicated to the UN Secretary-General as soon as practicable.

Verification and Compliance

Verification

Whenever a space object launched into earth orbit or beyond is marked with a designator or registration number, the State of registry shall notify the UN Secretary-General of this fact when submitting the information regarding the space object. In such case, the Secretary-General shall record this notification in the Register.

Compliance

There are no compliance measures included in the agreement.

Developments

2002

Signature States of the International / Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC / HCOC) (signed by more than 90 states in the Hague on 25 November 2002), resolved to, inter alia, "ratify, accede to or otherwise abide by" the Launch Registration Convention.

2000

At its 39th session, which lasted from 27 March to 6 April 2000, the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) started consideration of a new agenda item, "Review of the Concept of the Launching State." This three-year work plan focuses on improving application of the "launching State" concept, as used in the Launch Registration Convention and the Liability Convention of 1972, in light of recent trends towards international launches, increased privatization of space activities, and new developments in space transportation.

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About

The Convention obligates Parties to register launches of all objects launched into earth orbit or into outer space with an appropriate national space agency.

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.