This chapter describes the current system of space governance and looks into how it regulates increased human space activity. The recent spread of space capabilities brings a new imperative for making sure all nations behave responsibly. The current system of space governance has emerged sporadically since 1957. Its foundations took shape particularly in the period from 1967 to 1975, when the leading spacefaring nations realized the risks of an ungoverned environment to their own future security and their ability to maintain safe access to this valuable, albeit ungoverned, new realm. Efforts like the UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and the newly rechristened International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities are steps toward greater collaboration, albeit short of clear and binding rules and procedures for future peace and stability. But the risks of failure provide a sobering incentive to work harder toward self-restraint and cooperation in this shared environment.
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