Who Controls Space and How
The Earth’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957. It changed the world forever. At that moment, United States space policy and goals were completely refocused on the race to the Moon. During this time, there was an obvious need to determine the legal status of objects in outer space. Perhaps outer space could be considered an extension of governed airspace from Earth’s surface up to orbit. If this were the case, the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik would have been seen as a violation of international law. The satellite passed over many countries, including the United States. President Eisenhower, knowing that the US would be interested in having its own spacecraft operating over Soviet territory, accepted that the rules of outer space would be different from controlled airspace and aircraft.