Outer space and the non-appropriation principle

Steven Freeland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched a space object, Sputnik I, which orbited the Earth over 1,400 times during the following three months. Thus began humankind's adventures in outer space. Article II of the Outer Space Treaty encompasses the so-called 'non-appropriation' principle, which is regarded as one of the most fundamental rules regulating the exploration and use of outer space. Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means. In general terms, the fundamental international legal principles that regulate the exploration and use of outer space have served to allow for a significantly improved standard of living for humanity through the use of space technology. The law of outer space has developed as a discrete body of law within general public international law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProperty and Sovereignty
Subtitle of host publicationLegal and Cultural Perspectives
EditorsJames Charles Smith
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315602554
ISBN (Print)9781409444701
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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