Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space: the Discrepancy between Word and Deed

Receipt date: 
Bibliographic description of the article: 

Kovalchuk I.P., Delegeoz E.G. Razmeshchenie oruzhiya v kosmicheskom prostranstve: raskhozhdenie mezhdy slovom i delom [Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space: the Discrepancy between Word and Deed]. Molodaya nauka Sibiri: ehlektronnyj nauchnyj zhurnal [Young science of Siberia: electronic scientific journal], 2021, No. 1. Access mode:, free. Title from the screen. Languages: Russian, English [appeal date: 13.05.2021].

Journal number: 
УДК 341.229
Article File: 

The largest international Outer Space Treaty, adopted in 1967, prohibits the placement of any weapon of mass destruction in space environment, but does not specify other types of weapons, and that’s going to pose a significant legislative gap.

The undisclosed principle of outer space’s use on the basis of "peaceful purposes," established in the late 1960s and now fundamental in the later applicable part of international space law, leaves states essentially free to develop any defensive and offensive military capabilities they deem necessary to protect their national security interests in space. The arms race that has begun between the major states flying into space and the emergence on the world scene of new actors interested in developing their military and space capabilities bode significant threats to the peaceful existence of humanity.

During space exploration various countries launched many crafts into orbit that are counterspace weapons and work in the interests of the military, but the world community can only express its concern and condemn such actions.

The problem defined the objectives of the study. An analysis of international legal and regulatory framework governing the use of weapons in outer space was carried out in order to determine the breadth of state’s powers in the exploration of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and the use of weapons in it, as well as the efforts made by the international community to prevent an arms race in outer space were revealed. It was also important to identify the perspectives that would lead to progress in preventing cosmic space from becoming a weapon.

List of references: 

1. Proyekt rezolyutsii ob umen'shenii kosmicheskikh ugroz putem prinyatiya norm, pravil i printsipov otvetstvennogo povedeniya [Draft Resolution on Reducing Space Threats through Norms, Rules and Principles of Responsible Behaviours]. UN.ORG, 2020. URL: (Accessed 17/03/2021).

2. UK push for landmark UN resolution to agree responsible behaviour in space. GOV.UK. 2020. URL: (Accessed 17/03/2021).

3. Dogovor o printsipakh deyatel'nosti gosudarstv po issledovaniyu i ispol'zovaniyu kosmi-cheskogo prostranstva, vklyuchaya Lunu i drugiye nebesnyye tela [Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies]. United Nations Treaties and Principles on outer Space. 2002. URL: STSPACE11E.pdf (Accessed 18/03/2021).

4. National Space Policy. TRUMPWHITEHOUSE.ARCHIVES.GOV. 2020. URL: https:// (Accessed 18/03/2021).

5. Dr. Cassandra Steer, A Report by the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL): “Why Outer Space Matters for National and International Security”. LAW.UPENN.EDU. 2020. URL: https:// (Accessed 19/03/2021).

6. Brian Weeden, 2007 Chinese Anti-Satellite Test, Fact Sheet. SWFOUND.ORG. 2010. URL: (Accessed 19/03/2021).

7. CRS Report for Congress, China’s Anti-Sattelite Weapon Test. FAS.ORG. 2007. URL: (Accessed 20/03/2021).

8. Conference on Disarmament, Final Record of the One Thousand and Forty-Eight Plenary Meeting. UNDOCS.ORG. 2007. URL: (Accessed 20/03/2021).

9. SpaceDaily, Japan's Abe Charges China Satellite Test Illegal. SPACEDAILY.COM. 2007. URL: 999.html (Accessed 21/03/2021).

10. Brian Weeden, Victoria Samson: “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment”. SWFOUD.ORG. 2020. URL: swf_counterspace2020_ electronic_final.pdf (Accessed 21/03/2021).

11. Rezolyutsiya 1348 (XIII) General'noy Assamblei OON po voprosu ob ispol'zovanii kos-micheskogo prostranstva v mirnykh tselyakh [RES 1348 (XII) on Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space]. UNOOSA.ORG. 1958. URL: 13_1348E.pdf (Accessed 22/03/2021).

12. Rezolyutsii 75-oy sessii OON (2020 — 2021): «Mery po obespecheniyu transparentnosti i ukrepleniyu doveriya v kosmicheskoy deyatel'nosti» (A/RES/75/69), «Nerazmeshcheniye pervymi oruzhiya v kosmose» (A/RES/75/37), «Umen'sheniye kosmicheskikh ugroz putem prinyatiya norm, pravil i printsipov otvetstvennogo povedeniya» (A/RES/75/36), «Predotvrashcheniye gonki vooruzheniy v kosmicheskom prostranstve» (A/RES/75/35) [Resolutions of the 75th Session (2020 — 2021): Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in outer Space Activities (A/RES/75/69), No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (A/RES/75/37), Reducing Space Threats through Norms, Rules and Principles of Responsible Behaviours (A/RES/75/36), Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (A/RES/75/35) [Electronic resource]. URL: resolutions.shtml (Accessed 22/03/2021).

13. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Assessing the British Proposal on Space Security. THEDIPLOMAT.CON. 2020. URL: (Accessed 27/03/2021).

14. DRAFT International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. EEAS.EUROPA.EU. 2014. URL: (Accessed 27/03/2021).

15. Proyekt dogovora o predotvrashchenii razmeshcheniya oruzhiya v kosmicheskom prostranstve, primeneniya sily ili ugrozy siloy v otnoshenii kosmicheskikh ob"yektov [Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (Draft)]. FMPRC.GOV.CN. 2014. URL: 665232/ kjfywj_665252/ t1165762.shtml (Accessed 27/03/2021).

16. Daniel Porras, #SpaceWatchGL Opinion: 2020 in Review: a Space Security Perspective. SPACEWATCH.GLOBAL. 2020. URL: (Accessed 29/03/2021).

17. Victoria Samson (@VSamson_DC), “Space security and stability will not be achieved via one path - it will take a variety of approaches to make it a secure, predictable environment for all”. 5 January 2021, 6:24 am. Tweet. URL: DC/status/1346175571668197376 (Accessed 29/03/2021).