The Future of Space

Dr. Laura Grego

Senior Scientist

Union of Concerned Scientists

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty, the basic framework for international space law. In the decades since its ratification, space has evolved from being the domain primarily of two superpowers to supporting a vibrant ecology of critical economic, scientific, and civil activities for more than sixty countries. However, space continues to be important for national security purposes and will not be insulated from conflict on the ground. The Manual on International Law Applicable to the Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) is an effort to clarify the limitations that law places on the threat or use of force in outer space, while keeping an eye on the rapid development and spread of space technologies. This project brings together a crack team of space, military, and humanitarian legal experts, with the assistance of a corps of technical advisors. As technical team leader, I’m getting a front seat to this fascinating process. I’ll share insights about being a scientist amid lawyers, what some of the interesting technical questions are, as well as discuss whether the current legal regime is sufficient to support the equitable use of space for the benefit of all humankind into the future.