Clark School
This Site umd.edu

News Story

The 2014 PPWT: a new draft but with the same and different problems

The 2014 PPWT: a new draft but with the same and different problems

A new Chinese-Russian treaty proposal would ban the placement of weapons in outer space, but doesn’t address weapons based on the ground that could destroy satellites. (credit: Defense Department)
A new Chinese-Russian treaty proposal would ban the placement of weapons in outer space, but doesn’t address weapons based on the ground that could destroy satellites. (credit: Defense Department)

The governments of Russia and China submitted a new version of their draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) on June 10, 2014, two weeks after the European Union (EU) completed their third Open-Ended Consultations (OEC) for the development of the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities (ICoC) in Luxembourg at the end of May. The timing is not a coincidence, given that this is the first redraft of the PPWT presented for review since the original was presented in the Conference of Disarmament in 2008. That document was rejected by many states for a variety of reasons, including the grounds that it was unverifiable. Does this new draft address some of the major gaps of the PPWT that have been debated in the last few years?

When they introduced the 2014 draft treaty, China and Russia offered an explanatory note. “We consider a legally binding ban on placement of weapons in outer space as one of the most important instruments of strengthening global stability and equal and indivisible security for all,” it stated. While this on its own is a worthy objective, there are several gaps that the PPWT does not address even in its latest draft. For example, the PPWT has not succeeded in receiving large-scale endorsement principally on the fact that the draft treaty does not address direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) systems. nor does it address soft-kill weapons such as lasers that could be employed to permanently or temporarily disable a satellite. The draft fails to address so-called “breakout” weapons, which could take the form of direct-ascent or co-orbital weapons, that could be manufactured and launched in the event of hostilities. All these are inherently destabilizing and bear consideration yet remain unmentioned.

Read more ...

August 12, 2014


Prev   Next

Current Headlines

These Are The Countries on Earth With The Most Junk in Space

Woerner: Cooperation should reign as spacefaring nations clean up Earth orbit and venture beyond ISS

From satellite fleet operators, a plea for more regulation of satellite mega-constellations

University of Maryland Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research Announces Keynotes & Event Sponsor OrionAST

UMD Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research Announces 2016 Workshop and Call for Papers

The People in Your Neighborhood:  Dr. Moriba Jah, Space Garbage Man

Junkins presents Theodore von Karman Lecture

Bits and Pieces Of DMSP-13 No Threat To ESA Mission

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar

Additional Resources

UM Newsdesk

Faculty Experts