The militarization & weaponization of outer-space - from playground to battleground : legal perspectives on the use of force

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2007
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The Thesis carries out a critical analysis of the militarization and weaponization of space and its intersection with the international legal regime. It juxtaposes technological advances with the tenets of the United Nations Charter and analyses technological breakthroughs in the weaponization of space against the landscape of the ‘peaceful purposes’ mantra that underpins the Space Law regime. It highlights the fact that the international arena now has a new game in the making for which it is in many ways ill equipped to handle with dual purpose technology having capabilities for both defensive and offensive purposes. The Thesis consolidates and critiques the initiatives of space faring nations in their endeavours to develop integrated battle platforms through the co-option of space-based sensors, space and missile tracking and deployment of hypervelocity kinetic weapons in outer space. At the heart of the Thesis is the argument that there is a need to develop and enshrine new principles in order to plug the lacunae in the current regime on the use of force to enhance its capacity to govern the means and methods of space warfare, or at the very least to clarify to what extent the tenets of general international law apply directly to outer space. This will allow the international community to deal with a phenomenon which has quickly moved from fantasy to reality. The Thesis pushes the frontier of current literature by asserting that contemporary technological and engineering breakthroughs make it evident that at the very least there is a need to re-conceptualise and revise the existing Space Law regime, but more importantly a need to develop a new legal framework to specifically address the gathering momentum towards the weaponization of outer space.
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