1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

the radio fregency spectrum. However, since the SPS has a power transmission, rather than a communications transmission, function, the ITU may not have authority over it. The 1972 Liability Convention covers the subject of harm caused by orbiting space objects. The convention also prohibits adverse changes in the environment. Although there is a present lack of knowledge about the health and environmental effects of low-level microwave exposure, clearly, a launching State would be internationally liable for harm produced by microwave radiation emanating from a space object. The U.S., or any organization operating the SPS, must have general international acceptance of microwave exposure standards in order to be safe from potential negligence suits. International agreement on microwave exposure standards may be reached much faster if a framework of bilateral agreements has been established between the U.S. and other countries. The primary conclusion, after considering the legal regime to which the SPS would be subject, is that there are no unusual prohibitions against SPS deployment which could not be dealt with through international agreements. In terms of liability for operation of the SPS and its component parts, the scope and quality of international tort laws offer encouragement to those who may wish to embark on SPS programs. A future international regime governing activities in outer space, including SPS, will be influenced by a series of other international activities, including: • The Law of the Sea negotiations • The Moon Treaty debate • World Administrative Radio Conferences • Deliberations regarding the legal status of the geostationary orbit The Law of the Sea negotiations are establishing precedents for the management of "common heritage" resources among nations and private parties. The outcome of these negotiations could produce another model of an organizational structure to develop and operate the SPS on an international basis. The concept of an international agency, such as the proposed Seabed Authority,