Law, College of


Date of this Version



Published in: Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space, International Institute of Space Law of the International Astronautical Federation, Lausanne, Switzerland, October 7–13, 1984 Published by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics New York, 1985.


All countries who launch space vehicles need to focus their attention on steps necessary to prevent damage to mankind by space objects. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty outlines a nation's liability but not the prevention of such damage. Nuclear power sources (NPS), in particular, demand special procedures and precautions. This paper will discuss the reentry into the earth's atmosphere of radioactive materials (such as occurred with COSMOS 954 and COSMOS 1402), the catalogue of space objects maintained by NORAD, and measures which should be taken to avoid damage to or by space objects and debris. The space catalogue presents the opportunity to avoid disaster.