United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) was established in 1959 (shortly after the launch of Sputnik) as an ad hoc committee. In 1959, it was formally established by United Nations resolution 1472 (XIV).
The mission of COPUOS is "to review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space."
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is Secretariat to the Committee. All documents related to the Committee and its subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee, can be found at the UNOOSA website.
Treaties and agreements
COPUOS oversees the implementation of five UN treaties and agreements relating to activities in outer space:
- "Outer Space Treaty" - The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies
- "Rescue Agreement" - The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space
- "Liability Convention" - The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects
- "Registration Convention" - The Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space
- "Moon Treaty" - The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies
COPUOS also keeps track of the following other international agreements relating to activities in outer space:
- Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water (NTB)
- Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme–Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite (BRS)
- Agreement relating to the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
- Agreement on the establishment of the International System and Organization of Space Communications (INTERSPUTNIK)
- Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency (ESA)
- Agreement of the Arab Corporation for Space Communications (ARABSAT)
- Agreement on Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes (INTERCOSMOS)
- Convention on the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO)
- Convention establishing the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT)
- Convention for the establishment of a European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)
- International Telecommunication Constitution and Convention (ITU)
The ad hoc Committee established by the General Assembly in its resolution 1348 (XIII) of 13 December 1958 was composed of representatives of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Sweden, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Arab Republic, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.
As of 2014, the Committee has 76 member States, and is one of the largest committees of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The member States of the Committee are: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Hungary, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Viet Nam.
International organizations with permanent observer status
The following non-UN organizations have permanent observer status with the Committee:
- Association of Space Explorers (ASE)
- Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)
- European Space Agency (ESA)
- International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)
- International Astronautical Federation (IAF)
- International Astronomical Union (IAU)
- International Law Association (ILA)
- International Mobile Satellite Organization (Inmarsat)
- International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT)
- International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
- International Space University (ISU)
- The Planetary Society (TPS)
- Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).
- International Institute of Space Law
- Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, which serves as the secretariat for the COPUOS
- Press Release: Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Concludes 48th Session in Vienna, from June 20, 2005
- Slideshow about COPUOS and other organizations on the website of the United Nations Basic Space Science Initiative (UNBSSI)