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Head Chair: Dhruv Nandakumar

The topic guide can be accessed here.

Space Security and Militarization

“It’s politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen. Some people don’t want to hear this, and it sure isn’t in vogue, but—absolutely—we’re going to fight in space.”                                    -Joseph Ashy, Commander-in-chief of US Space Command

The desire to look up, to explore what seems to be beyond our reach has been what has motivated mankind to explore new unknowns and test their limits with outer space travel. The benefits of space exploration be it satellite communication or exploration of new planets far outweigh its inherent risks.

However, one particular risk should be of major concern to all member states of the United Nations: The potential militarization of outer space, and using outer space for non-peaceful purposes. Since the 1950s, in the midst of the cold war, the UN has worked to prevent the militarization of outer space, including the signing of treaties such as the Outer Space treaty. However, there is yet much work to be done.

Space is the future theatre of war. It a key strategic component for potential warfare that affects all member states of the UNOOSA and the UN as a whole. In committee, delegates will have to address major issues such as coming up with a formal definition as to what constitutes the militarisation of space. Whether this definition will encompass not just weapons present in space but also anti-satellite ground based weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Delegates will also be tasked with establishing a stringent framework for assessing whether equipment being sent to space have potential military capabilities. Maintaining international security and world peace is of paramount importance and delegates in committee will play a crucial role in ensuring the above.

Management of Space Debris

Space debris, or orbital debris is defined as any object in Earth’s orbit that serves a useful function. They can be anything ranging from non-operational spacecraft to mission related debris and derelict launch vehicle stages. Today, outer space, Earth’s orbit more specifically, is utterly polluted with this debris with the number of unused parts and satellites numbering in the many thousands. This collection of debris has reached such a densely polluted state that the main reason for the creation for more debris is the collision between existing debris.

This aforementioned space debris pose huge threats not just to future prospects of space travel and exploration but to current satellites orbiting Earth, and even risk collision with buildings and casualties if they reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. This, therefore, is of concern to all member states of the United Nations. In committee, delegates will work together to establish a framework and guidelines for future space travel with the aim of minimizing the generation of space debris. Delegates will also cooperate on an international level to create infrastructure to monitor, analyze, predict, and prevent future anomalous events that are caused due to existing space debris. They will also be tasked with creating novel solutions with the aim of mitigating existing space debris.

Dhruv can be contacted at dmunc.unoosa@davismun.org