Expert: “Wild West era” in space exploration will not end before a serious incident – Space

MOSCOW, 27 JANUARY. /PAW/. New rules governing space exploration are needed to end the “Wild West era” in space, but only a major incident could force players to agree on new rules. This opinion was expressed in an interview with TASS by Andrei Ionin, the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after KE other celestial bodies.

“Everyone understands that international regulation is needed to prevent the militarization of space and the use of space by commercial operators. But it will be extremely difficult for too many strong actors, including world powers, to agree. But this is unprofitable for business actors, and this is the main problem.In this situation, there should be some kind of “Caribbean crisis”, some kind of critical situation that will force everyone to agree, after which it will be clear that it is necessary to agree. there will be no regulation before such a critical situation, says Ionin.

He noted that such a crisis could lead to it being too late to negotiate. “There is such a Kessler effect when the formation of space debris becomes an avalanche. It is clear that this is a crisis and after that they will definitely agree, but unfortunately the implementation of this scenario will lead to the fact that outer space will to be very difficult to use, because the number of fragments will be so large that it will be almost impossible to avoid, says the expert.

Ionin noted that the 1967 Treaty was adopted in a completely different geopolitical environment and needs to be updated. If it was in fact about two countries – the Soviet Union and the United States with a small presence of Europe, now the circle of participants has expanded, including private companies.

According to Ionin, it will be difficult for countries to agree to prevent the use of space for military purposes in modern realities “because of a different geopolitics, but no less acute than 55 years ago.” “We often see that when the United States proposes something, Russia and China reject it, and vice versa. It is extremely difficult to agree in this situation, and not only in space but also on earth. Specifically, we can not agree in space, because we can not even on earth, ”he explained.

According to the 1967 treaty, the responsibility for emergencies in space was borne by the country that owns these space objects. “Now the circle of participants has been expanded, and these participants are private, and since they are not countries, they bear no responsibility. Who is responsible for Space X? Under these international laws, no one, because this is not a state, yes, or an American “State, but it is unlikely to be held accountable. Therefore, we now see the era of the Wild West in space. Since there is no regulation, you can do almost anything,” the expert noted.

Not all new players have peaceful goals

Cosmonaut historian Alexander Zheleznyakov, in an interview with TASS, agreed on the need to adjust the international agreement and stressed that not all players who have appeared since then have peaceful purposes.

“Now the situation has changed because new global players have emerged – primarily China. Many other countries have stated their ambitions in space, and not always with peaceful intentions. For example, Iran has a fairly large program of militarization of external “space, and work is under way in China, and India is showing interest in the military use of space. Therefore, it is of course necessary to create a new document that takes these realities into account – the expansion of the space club and the multipolarity of the world,” he said.

According to the expert, it is necessary to take into account that in addition to government structures, private companies are now also involved in space exploration. “So far, they are only fulfilling orders from either commercial companies or government agencies, but in the future, and in the foreseeable future, they may show quite serious ambitions for the evolution of celestial bodies, for the extraction of certain minerals on other planets. Of course, these issues are necessary now, regulate and take into account these future risks that may arise when these new players emerge, says Zheleznyakov.

According to the cosmonautical historian, Russia is in favor of expanding the participation of private companies in space exploration. “These are additional funds that can be spent on this. The state simply does not have enough money for all the programs. But this is interesting for us, because I hope that someday we will start exploring other celestial bodies, mining and so on. “There are no conflicts of interest, intergovernmental conflicts, of course, it is necessary to regulate everything in advance”, he said.

According to him, the standards developed in 1967 in a hurry, and since then it has become clear that their creators could not foresee everything. “Finally, why do these international agreements not only need to be radically amended, but corrected, due to the fact that in the preparation of these documents in 1967, of course, not only did not take into account many factors that had arisen, but these documents were created “In a hurry, so everyone could not predict. Now these subtle places are already visible,” he said, noting that it is necessary to take all this into account and create a new international space law.

Space Internet system

According to Ionin, it is necessary to regulate the expansion of space Internet systems: there are many devices, and their operation is based on business interest, but the requirements have not been established.

“The owners of these systems have an irresistible desire from the point of view of making a profit to minimize the cost of security. They can not be condemned, because they operate in the absence of regulation. And this regulation must be developed, such work has been going on for several years “but so far I do not see a critical people beginning to understand the need to regulate, because it creates problems, creates risks when it comes to space debris, but neither big business actors nor states are interested in this. They are rather experts”, stressed John.

He recalled that in particular the head of Space X, Elon Musk, said that he would have 40 thousand units, there are other large projects. “Astronomers say that such a large number of devices disrupt their observation of space and affect the functioning of communication systems. There are communication systems used in various critical applications, in aviation, maritime communication, and now there are also many problems with their use,” he said. Jonin.

The United States is trying to push its national regulation everywhere, he said. “When former US President Donald Trump announced the Artemis project on the moon three years ago, they also refused to recognize various international agreements in the field of space and recommended everyone to focus on US national legislation. But because the main companies involved in use of space – American, it is clear that if they regulate, then rather according to their own interests, “said the expert.

Zheleznyakov, in turn, believes that the issue of the use and exploitation of global Internet systems should be regulated, but the priority is to regulate the military use of outer space. “Therefore, I would now focus primarily on preventing the withdrawal of military offensive systems into outer space and preventing any conflicts, and the issues of application and use of global Internet systems, Internet commerce and other things – of course, it It would also be good to regulate, but how to do it I honestly have no idea though, he said.

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