United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) Director: Kevin Beguiristain
The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was established in 1958 as an ad hoc committee shortly after the launch of Sputnik, the first human-made satellite to orbit the Earth. Thanks to the five international treaties established by this committee that serve as the laws of space, the final frontier has remained peaceful. However, the latest of these treaties is now 22 years old, and since then many new challenges have been brought to the table, such as the rise of companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. COPUOS will need to reconvene and evaluate its preparations for this Brave New World. Topic 1 will deal with how privatized space travel will be managed at the international level. Who will be allowed to start these companies? How should they behave? Topic 2 is about determining how to best use space sustainably. With this early start, the United Nations could avoid repeating planetary destruction on the new worlds we conquer. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell once said, “From out there on the Moon, international politics looks so petty.” Will COPUOS cut through the pettiness and ensure a peaceful future in space for us all?