International space law and military use of space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Space is an inherently dual use domain. Much of the technology we take for granted on a daily basis, including the now ubiquitous GPS tools used to navigate around town or record our running or cycling activity, is supported either wholly or in part by military technology and hardware. As we all know from popular culture, many of the early astronauts and cosmonauts were drawn from the ranks of their respective nation's military, and this is still predominantly the case. Renowned US astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson recently published an entire book devoted to the "unspoken alliance between astrophysics and the military'", noting the many scientific and technological leaps forward that resulted from military science. De Grasse Tyson observes: "What propelled America to the Moon was not science or exploration, but fear and competition with the Soviet Union." This same rivalry, and fear of its catastrophic potential, also led to the creation of international space law in the Outer Space Treaty. Despite this international treaty, and the four other space treaties that succeeded it, there remains significant confusion in the public mind regarding claims about the increasing "militarisation" of space and claims that such developments are inconsistent with international space law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-12
Number of pages3
JournalBulletin (Law Society of South Australia)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • International Space Law
  • Military
  • Outer Space


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