Vienna: The fifty-third session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) opened on 24 March at the Vienna International Centre. The session, which will last until 4 April, considers all aspects of space law and the legal framework underpinning activities in space.
During the convention, delegates will debate topics including the status and application of the United Nations treaties on outer space, definition and delimitation of outer space, the character and utilization of the geostationary orbit, legal mechanisms relating to space debris mitigation measures, international mechanisms for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space and capacity-building in space law. The Subcommittee will also review national legislation relevant to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space and will review the principles relevant to the use of nuclear power sources in outer space.
Three working groups will meet at this session: Working Group on the Status of the Treaties, Working Group on the Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space and Working Group on International Mechanisms for Cooperation.
On the opening day, the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) also held a symposium on the theme: Regulatory needs for very small satellites.
In addition the first United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs Space Law Curriculum was launched during the session. The Curriculum provides a basic course on space law that can be used in regional centres on space science and technology education affiliated to the United Nations and other educational institutions and training initiatives.