US joins efforts to set international rules in outer space

January 18th, 2012 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 18 (IANS) The US has decided to join the European Union (EU) and other nations to draw up an international code of conduct for outer space activities, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday.

Space systems “allow the free flow of information across platforms that open up our global markets, enhance weather forecasting and environmental monitoring, and enable global navigation and transportation,” said Clinton in a statement.

But “the long-term sustainability of our space environment is at serious risk from space debris and irresponsible actors,” added Clinton.

In response to these challenges, “a code of conduct will help maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, stability, and security of space by establishing guidelines for the responsible use of space”, she said.

The proposal was first submitted to the Conference on Disarmament by EU in 2009, days after a disused Russian military satellite and a US communications satellite collided, reported Xinhua.

Countries signing up to the code would pledge to maintain freedom of access and use of outer space “for peaceful purposes without interference, fully respecting the security, safety and integrity of space objects in orbit”, according to the text released in Geneva in 2009.

Clinton said Washington “will not enter into a code of conduct that in any way constrains our national security-related activities in space or our ability to protect the United States and our allies”.

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