What is meant by space arms control?

As technology developed and weapons systems became ever more advanced, the international community recognized the growing urgency of preventing space from being weaponized as the next sphere of the arms race. At present, only intercontinental missiles can be positively classed as space weapons because much of their trajectory is through near space. Although there are other potential threat scenarios (such as killer satellites, space-based launch systems), they are for the most part still highly speculative.

Discussions on the question of space arms control began between the United States and the Soviet Union when the arms race spilled over into the exploration and control of space. Today, both China and India also have an interest in space weapons.

Space arms-control currently centres on efforts to prohibit the placing of weapons and military bases in orbit. All the objects being put into space must be registered by the responsible states. More rigorous controls have yet to be implemented and are likely to remain difficult even with state-of-the-art technologies.

Under international law, every state is required to use space exclusively for peaceful purposes. Moreover, space colonization is outlawed to prevent any revival of an arms race in space.

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