Journal of Law & Innovation


Gershon Hasin


Through the lens of policy-oriented jurisprudence, this contribution will consider the potential avenues for controlling the decisions of participants when it comes to anti-satellite (“ASAT”) weapons within and outside the formal international lawmaking process. Given that all the major space powers have tested ASAT weapons and are thus primarily exposed to the adverse effects of any further testing and the strategic detriments of further proliferation, their interests seem to align in favor of a testing prohibition and non-proliferation. In fact, the United States has proclaimed a self-ban on destructive testing and has promoted a call for an international testing ban of destructive debris creating ASAT weapons at the United Nations. Yet critical States objected to this resolution, notably China and Russia, with India abstaining; all have previously conducted destructive ASAT weapons testing. China and Russia specifically indicated that any arrangement for ASAT weapons should be done as a package-deal, balancing norms on ASAT weapons with norms governing the placement of weapons in space. Until such time as an overall arrangement is feasible for adoption, several paths may be employed to control the decisions of participants on ASAT testing and proliferation. This contribution will suggest several such paths, not as exhaustive, comprehensive, or conclusive avenues, but rather as an exhibition of concept to be developed in future work: (1) Formal and Informal Inter-State Arrangements; (2) Inter-State Space Programs; (3) The Private Sector; and (4) A “Trans-Commons Impact Assessment.”

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