Testing the limits of international space law

August 15, 2022 by Jessica F. Green

The Russian government has said that it will‌ withdraw from the International Space Station‌ “after 2024.” Instead of choosing multilateral cooperation, it plans to build its own station and send cosmonauts there to continue space research and exploration.

Russia’s announcement sounds ominous — particularly given its invasion of Ukraine — but ‌this move, part of a broader trend away from multilateralism in international space law, is but one recent signal of the fraying of international space cooperation. Another was the Artemis Accords, a legal framework designed to potentially regulate future commercial activities in outer space, which was created under the Trump‌ administration and upheld by the Biden ‌‌administration. Such actions threaten multilateralism beyond Earth and portend a future where space may no longer belong, equally, to all people.

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