The UN Security Council as the final arbiter for Outer Space claims

As the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) already serves as the final arbiter, and ultimate enforcer, of all claims in international waters it would be natural to suppose that claims above the Karman Line, i.e. outer space, could be settled in a likewise fashion.

The need becomes more prominent every year due to the unique characteristics of the environment where there are no fixed boundaries and where one rogue actor can severely damage and impair the activites of everyone else. A prominent example is the possibility of ‘Kessler syndrome’, arising from fundamental orbital dynamics, that could create irreversible consequences vastly greater than the initial effect.

As the importance of maintaining the outer space environment from deleterious effects grows exponentially with every new object introduced, the danger of not having a central dispute resolution mechanism likewise grows exponentially. Therefore, even with just the issue of keeping orbits safe, there will clearly be a tipping point where the need for global coordination becomes of paramount importance.

Indeed as competing interests will undoubtedly also grow in outer space the need for a central coordinating body will probably expand to cover all disputable outer space activities that cannot be resolved bilaterally.

Due to the rapid nature of such growth and as there is not presently, nor in the forseeable future, any other organization that can credibly maintain itself to be the final arbiter over the whole Earth, that responsibility will by default fall on the UNSC. Specifically, given the current structure, some kind of subcommittee or judicial body for outer space affairs seems most probable.

Although my personal leanings are towards a freer environmemt with less paperwork, the unforgiving p challenges of the laws of physics in outer space are unavoidable and will have to be addressed for the future benefit of civilization.

Last edited April 1, 2021

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