“The long-term sustainability of outer space activities: regulatory regimes and geopolitical framework” is a project carried out by the OSL Team from 2012 to 2015 at the Department of Political Sciences of Sapienza University.
The main topic, i.e., the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, was analyzed from a multidisciplinary perspective, by combining three different approaches: legal, historical, and geopolitical.
From the legal perspective, the research significantly contributed to the drafting of the COPUOS Guidelines on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities (LTSSA). The results of the Project confirmed the importance and interest of the international community in the issue of the long-term sustainability of space activities, which play a key role in the realization of sustainable development on Earth, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the definition of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The research also highlighted how strengthening international cooperation is critical to achieving the long-term sustainability of space activities, through enhancing information exchange, sharing experience and expertise, promoting best practices, and setting national standards.
Furthermore, the Project contributed to the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities (TCBMs) to which Principal Investigator Prof. Marchisio was appointed. The research work evaluated criteria for developing transparency and confidence-building measures in space and for testing their implementation and compliance, fostering the further development of international cooperation among States pursuing space programmes in the peaceful uses of outer space, for the benefit and in the interest of all countries.
In addition, the research formed an integral part of the work for the drafting of the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, proposed by Italy in response to UN General Assembly Resolution 61/75, which called on “all Member States to submit to the Secretary-General before its sixty-second session concrete proposals on international outer space transparency and confidence-building measures in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation and the prevention of arms race in outer space.”
Regarding the geopolitical perspective, the research highlighted the international community’s concerns about the anti-satellite capabilities of a number of countries, such as China, India, the United States and Russia and demonstrated how greater security in space translates into greater stability in international relations, positively impacting the security of activities on Earth.