The Space Shuttle Challenger, November 30, 1982. NASA / Reuters


ON September 25 of last year, President Kennedy laid before the 16th General Assembly a four-point program of space coöperation under United Nations auspices. The program called for a régime of law and order in outer space; the promotion of scientific coöperation and the exchange of information; a world-wide undertaking in weather forecasting and weather research; and international coöperation in the establishment of a global system of communication satellites. As a result of this initiative, an effort in outer space coöperation is now under way. The President's program was incorporated in a resolution adopted unanimously by the 16th General Assembly on December 20, 1961. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has finally begun its work-with the Soviet Union on board.

This U.N. effort has built upon the extensive network of bilateral arrangements developed between the United States and other free-world countries. It has gained momentum from the exchange of letters between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev following the successful orbital flight of Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. In accordance with this exchange, bilateral conversations have taken place between Dr. Hugh Dry- den, Deputy Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and A. A. Blagonravov of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. These talks coincided with the meeting in New York last March of the U.N. Outer Space Committee and the June meeting in Geneva of its Scientific and Legal Subcommittees.

What has this effort of space coöperation accomplished? Just how far is coöperation likely to go in the future? To answer these questions we must take a closer look at the four aspects of the program approved by the General Assembly.


The first part of the program embodied in the U.N. resolution looks toward a régime of law and order in outer space on the basis of two fundamental principles:

1. International law, including the United Nations Charter, applies to outer space and

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