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In order to defend and preserve the interests of all member states, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is crucial in ensuring the ratification of numerous international laws. On May 23, 1969, the treaty was inked between the state members and ratified as international law. "Commentary on the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties," by Shabtai Rosenne (2009) 8(2) International Courts and Tribunals: Law and Practice 297.The Outer Space Treaty was ratified on October 10, 2013, after being inked on January 27, 1967. Article V of the OST's coverage provisions and their scope continue to be hotly contested issues. Article V of the Outer space treaty argues that state parties are mandated to regard cosmonauts as envoys of humankind in the outer space and renders necessary help in case of accidents, emergency, and agony when landing on other state party or high seas. However, the definition of the astronaut as indicated in article V of the Outer Space Treaty is controversial. UNOOSA, Outer Space Treaty (1966) UNOOSA . Space tourism is a commercial activity allowing people direct entry and long experience through space travel. The definition of “astronauts” should not include space tourists who go to space for pleasure and recreation.
Besides, whenever astronauts make a similar landing, they are entitled safely and prompted a return to the state of an archive of their relevant space vehicles. Astronauts from one nation are mandated to offer necessary assistance to any other astronauts from other countries when carrying out their activities in the space. Enzo Cannizzaro, The Law of Treaties Beyond the Vienna Convention (2011). The members of the state to the state must inform other members of the treaty or United Nation’s secretary general concerning any phenomenon discovered in the outer space, moon and other celestial bodies that may cause danger to the life of the astronauts. Contrary, the controversies on the definition of "astronauts" have depended on the activities of the explorer. Jinyuan Su, ‘The “peaceful Purposes” principle in Outer Space and the Russia-China PPWT Proposal’ (2010) 26(2) Space Policy 81.
The interpretation of Outer space treaty starts from enunciating the fundamental freedoms in accessibility to the outer space. Article one states that outer space and other celestial bodies are free for exploration and shall be used by all states based on equality and free access. UNOOSA. Prevention of arms race in accordance to outer space is vital in protecting the space. Likely, the ban of sovereignty claims in securing the safety of orderly conduct of activities. United Nations, ‘Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations’ (1986) 33(2) Netherlands International Law Review 195..
Similarly, some scientist has defined the term astronauts as so descriptive rather than technical by ascertaining the definition as any person venturing into the outer space or traveling via aircraft thus entitling tourist and airplane passengers right to assistance and protection during danger. The private space travelers should be considered as astronauts thereby must be given rights and obligations just like professional astronauts. UNOOSA. However, according to NASA, the term astronaut is used to refer to individuals that selected to join NASA corps crew bound to earth orbit and beyond. Consequently, there is no definite definition of the term "astronaut" leading to a neutral definition of astronauts as people traveling into the outer space with professional reasons that may either be commercial, non-commercial or for a private purpose. Martin Menter, ‘The Developing Law for Outer Space’ (1967) 53(8) American Bar Association Journal 703 .
According to my understanding and interpretation of the meaning of "astronaut" as stated in Article V of the Outer Space Treaty, the astronauts should be going to space with an aim solving human problems through discoveries and representing the interest of all human kind. Contrary, space tourists explore the space for their interest and not the will of the people. However, scientists explore the space with aims of discovering new concepts through scientific research with the goal of solving all humankind problems. The scientific research and discoveries in the outer space are utilized in learning institution to understand the nature of the space with planet earth. The experiments by NASA scientists and other research institutions have brought lots of success to humankind. Similarly, space travelers termed as astronauts are also playing a vital role towards contributing to scientific research and findings via observation. Georg B Dietrich, Extending the Principle of the Common Heritage of Mankind to Outer Space (2002)..
The space tourists from private enterprise embark with projects that are beneficial to humankind that is implemented through the use of technology and innovation. The development of technology has increased the commercial space tourism leading to more exploration about evolution of human kind activities. Technological exploration through space tourist such as White Knight resulted in discoveries of spacecraft which is one of the world's most achievable aspirations that led to airplanes. Through space tourism, the scientist has found that over five million people from planet earth can move to space yearly by 2030 as stated in the concept of common heritage of humankind. Ibid.
The ratification of the VCLT has a total of 114 states as at April 2014. However, several issues and disagreement on the definition of some terms such as the astronaut in according to Outer Space Treaty had brought lots of controversies on those legible for exploring the space. The definition of an astronaut as stipulated in Article V of the 1967 OST has brought various aspects and perception. The OST governs activities of states and individuals in the exploration and use of the outer space among other celestial bodies. The international space law formed the outer space treaty and was signed by the US, UK and the Soviet Union. UNOOSA.
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties was first drafted by the International Law Commission under the United Nations in 1949. Despite the treaty being signed between states, it includes intergovernmental organization and members of the countries. The international laws and treaties are essential in developing peaceful existence and corporation between nations as well as protecting the social aspects of human beings and the environment. Treaties are international agreements written and governed by the international laws between states. According to Article V of the Outer Space, Treaty asserts that any activity carried out in the outer space and celestial bodies’ gives astronaut’s freedom and renders them all necessary assistance regardless of the state party. Astronauts from one country are allowed to assist any astronauts from other state parties. Stephen Gorove, ‘Interpreting Article II of the Outer Space Treaty’ (1969) 37(3) Fordham Law Review 348 .
The state member to the Outer Space Treaty must inform other states member of the agreement or to the UN secretary general the phenomenon discovered in outer space, moon and the celestial bodies that may cause danger to the life of the astronauts. Consequently, the Outer Space Treaty signed in 27th January 1967 played a fundamental role in securing outer space. The treaty asserts that outer space, moon and other celestial bodies are a heritage for all human beings. The article further argues that all space activities must be established for the benefit and interest of all humanity. Besides, the treaty provides maximum cooperation and liability among all parties exploring the space thus making astronauts as envoys of all humankind by guaranteeing them possible assistance. Lastly, the outer space treaty prevents wars from spreading to outer space through the prohibition of nuclear exploitation in outer space.
Agreements on the astronaut's rescue, astronaut's return and the return of any objects on the outer space were also adopted on 22nd April 1968 gives an induction ability to request and identifies data earlier and before the object. The life and health of any person exploring the space are guaranteed under article V of the OST. UNOOSA. According to Article V, any individual studying or entering the outer space or the moon are astronauts. Space tourists are people who tour space through space or celestial for pleasure and recreation. There are many forms of space tourism namely; orbital, suborbital and intercontinental rocket tour among others.
The intercontinental rocket tours include traveling via aircraft via through the space to save time. The plane helps people to travel from the palace to other within a short time as compared to traveling on earth which takes more to navigate. Goods and passengers can move across the world and beyond the space. According to article V of the Outer Space Treaty, any person traveling via space needs maximum protection. The international law governing outer space tour has no reference to space tourist but defines astronauts as envoys of mankind. The article in OST stipulates that all astronauts should be given possible assistance from distress, accidents and any dictator that may harm them. Ibid.
The substantive description has led to endless arguments with some suggesting that aircraft personnel should be considered as an astronaut and deserves maximum protection and possible assistance. However, according to Outer Space Treaty, commercial space tourists are not well elaborated in the definition and questions as for whether they deserve the assistance and protection remain controversial.Su. However, considering the definition of an astronaut, any person touring space should be entitled the assistance. The travelers using aircrafts should be rescued in case of danger just like the astronauts exploring space for scientific reasons. According to liability convention, space tourist should not be offered assistance. However, the convention of responsibility gives space tourists maximum compensation just like the astronauts.UNOOSA.
Implications and Conclusion
In conclusion, the definition of astronauts has been established and remains controversial among member states. The Outer Space Treaty definition of an astronaut is not inclusive leading to consequences, especially to aircraft travelers. The definition in article V of the OST as the envoys of mankind in the outer space should include all human beings that tours into space. The definitions of astronauts should be revised to accommodate all people traveling space to include liability and legislative measures. Space tourists have led to many discoveries beyond the space making life easy for human beings. Scientists have also been able to solve lots of problems facing people through the discovery exploited from the space. Commercial Space traveling is a vital role in today's life and should be given much attention just like professional astronauts. Consequently, space touring has also led to serious wars such as use nuclear weapons. The meaning of astronauts as argued in article V is related to trained personnel is capable of professional tasks and activities in outer space. Aircraft’s operators and crew are included in the definition and should be entitled the rights and obligations as stated in article V of the OST by the loaf treaties under Vienna Convention.
Cannizzaro, Enzo, The Law of Treaties Beyond the Vienna Convention (2011)
Gorove, Stephen, ‘Interpreting Article II of the Outer Space Treaty’ (1969) 37(3) Fordham Law Review 348
Menter, Martin, ‘The Developing Law for Outer Space’ (1967) 53(8) American Bar Association Journal 703
Nations, United, ‘Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations’ (1986) 33(2) Netherlands International Law Review 195
Rosenne, Shabtai, ‘Commentary on the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties’ (2009) 8(2) The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals 297
Su, Jinyuan, ‘The “peaceful Purposes” principle in Outer Space and the Russia-China PPWT Proposal’ (2010) 26(2) Space Policy 81
Dietrich, Georg B, Extending the Principle of the Common Heritage of Mankind to Outer Space (2002)
UNOOSA, Outer Space Treaty (1966) UNOOSA
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