SWF PREPRINT Implementing the Long-Term Sustainability Guidelines: What’s Next?


Dr. Peter Martinez

Posting date:

October 30, 2023

Link to the Published Article




In June 2019, following an eight-year process, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) adopted twenty-one voluntary, non-binding consensus Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. These guidelines are intended to support states in developing their space capabilities in a manner that enhances the safety of space operations and avoids causing harm to the outer space environment. The guidelines are relevant to both governmental and non-governmental entities. They address all space activities, whether planned or ongoing, and apply to all phases of a space mission, from prelaunch mission design through to operation and end-of-life disposal. The guidelines will only achieve their intended purposes if they are implemented as widely as possible. Successful guideline implementation will both rely on and strengthen international cooperation in space activities. Implementation of the guidelines will also be facilitated by improved coordination and information exchange among space actors from government, the private sector and civil society. This article discusses the roles and recent contributions of each of these types of actors in promoting guideline implementation and the sustainability of space activities in general. The article concludes with some observations on the second phase of the LTS discussions in UN COPUOS and the connection between space sustainability and sustainable development on Earth.


LTS Guidelines, soft law, space sustainability, UN COPUOS


Martinez, Peter. 2023. “Implementing the Long-Term Sustainability Guidelines: What’s next?” Air And Space Law 48 (Special Issue): 41–58. https://doi.org/10.54648/aila2023030.

Last updated on October 31, 2023