1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

controlling and equitably disposing of the benefits of resource exploitation on behalf of the world community would be a powerful precedent-setting accomplishment . The Moon Treaty has been the subject of negotiations within the UNCOPUOS for about 10 years. The main points of contention are possible restrictions placed upon space resource nations (particularly the United States) in the exploitation of the resources of the solar system. If the Moon Treaty should be ratified in its present form, there would be no immediate impact on the SPS in its reference configuration. The geostationary orbit is not covered in the treaty, and only earth resources are contemplated for SPS development. Furthermore, in the interim period (prior to establishment of an international regime to oversee lunar resource utilization) it is clear that the U.S. could construct pilot SPS plants, even those using lunar materials. Since there is so much ambiguity associated with the language of the treaty, these activities would represent a powerful precedent, which legal experts would be unlikely to ignore. At the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-79), Third World nations were in the majority for the first time. They had been expected to demand a larger share of the radio-frequency spectrum hitherto dominated by the industrialized nations. This expectation was based in part on ideological opposition to some of the U.S. proposals offered at WARC-79. The Third World nations also feared that they were not technologically competent enough to ensure their retention of a fair share of the radio frequency spectrum. The U.S. won support or reduced opposition to its proposals at WARC-79 by being conscientious in explaining their positions and technical issues and by promising to share technology with Third World countries. Questions concerning the use of the geostationary orbit also have been formally considered in this forum at least since the WARC-71 revision of the radio regulations concerning coordination of geostationary satellite positions. The Law of the Sea negotiations and the Moon Treaty debate also indicate a strong Third World desire to share the benefits of applying advanced technology to the problems of resource utilization. The geostationary orbit debate is a manifestation of an underlying political dispute over the implementation and interpretation of the