AGREEMENT

ON THE RESCUE OF ASTRONAUTS,

THE RETURN OF ASTRONAUTS

AND THE RETURN OF OBJECTS

LAUNCHED INTO OUTER SPACE

(1968)



ENTERED INTO FORCE: 3 December 1968

The Contracting Parties,

Noting the great importance of the Treaty on Principles Governing the
Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including
the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which calls for the rendering of all
possible assistance to astronauts in the event of accident, distress or
emergency landing, the prompt and safe return of astronauts, and the
return of objects launched into outer space,

Desiring to develop and give further concrete expression to these duties,

Wishing to promote international co-operation in the peaceful exploration
and use of outer space,

Prompted by sentiments of humanity,

Have agreed on the following:

                              Article 1

Each Contracting Party which receives information or discovers that the
personnel of a spacecraft have suffered accident or are experiencing
conditions of distress or have made an emergency or unintended landing in
territory under its jurisdiction or on the high seas or in any other
place not under the jurisdiction of any State shall immediately: 

 (a) notify the launching authority or, if it cannot identify and
     immediately communicate with the launching authority, immediately
     make a public announcement by all appropriate means of
     communication at its disposal;

 (b) notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who should
     disseminate the information without delay by all appropriate means
     of communication at his disposal.

                              Article 2

If, owing to accident, distress, emergency or unintended landing, the
personnel of a spacecraft land in territory under the jurisdiction of a
Contracting Party, it shall immediately take all possible steps to rescue
them and render them all necessary assistance. It shall inform the
launching authority and also the Secretary-General of the United Nations
of the steps it is taking and of their progress. If assistance by the
launching authority would help to effect a prompt rescue or would
contribute substantially to the effectiveness of search and rescue
operations, the launching authority shall co-operate with the Contracting
Party with a view to the effective conduct of search and rescue
operations. Such operations shall be subject to the direction and control
of the Contracting Party, which shall act in close and continuing
consultation with the launching authority.

                              Article 3

If information is received or it is discovered that the personnel of a
spacecraft have alighted on the high seas or in any other place not under
the jurisdiction of any State, those Contracting Parties which are in a
position to do so shall, if necessary, extend assistance in search and
rescue operations for such personnel to assure their speedy rescue. They
shall inform the launching authority and the Secretary-General of the
United Nations of the steps they are taking and of their progress.

                              Article 4

If, owing to accident, distress, emergency or unintended landing, the
personnel of a spacecraft land in territory under the jurisdiction of a
Contracting Party or have been found on the high seas or in any other
place not under the jurisdiction of any State, they shall be safely and
promptly returned to representatives of the launching authority.

                              Article 5

1. Each Contracting Party which receives information or discovers that a
space object or its component parts has returned to Earth in territory
under its jurisdiction or on the high seas or in any other place not
under the jurisdiction of any State, shall notify the launching authority
and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2. Each Contracting Party having jurisdiction over the territory on which
a space object or its component parts has been discovered shall, upon the
request of the launching authority and with assistance from that
authority if requested, take such steps as it finds practicable to
recover the object or component parts.

3. Upon request of the launching authority, objects launched into outer
space or their component parts found beyond the territorial limits of the
launching authority shall be returned to or held at the disposal of
representatives of the launching authority, which shall, upon request,
furnish identifying data prior to their return.

4. Notwithstanding paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article, a Contracting
Party which has reason to believe that a space object or its component
parts discovered in territory under its jurisdiction, or recovered by it
elsewhere, is of a hazardous or deleterious nature may so notify the
launching authority, which shall immediately take effective steps, under
the direction and control of the said Contracting Party, to eliminate
possible danger of harm.

5. Expenses incurred in fulfilling obligations to recover and return a
space object or its component parts under paragraphs 2 and 3 of this
Article shall be borne by the launching authority.

                              Article 6

For the purposes of this Agreement, the term "launching authority" shall
refer to the State responsible for launching, or, where an international
intergovernmental organization is responsible for launching, that
organization, provided that that organization declares its acceptance of
the rights and obligations provided for in this Agreement and a majority
of the States members of that organization are Contracting Parties to
this Agreement and to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities
of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon
and Other Celestial Bodies.

                              Article 7

1. This Agreement shall be open to all States for signature. Any State
which does not sign this Agreement before its entry into force in
accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article may accede to it at any time.

2. This Agreement shall be subject to ratification by signatory States.
Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be
deposited with the Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United
States of America, which are hereby designated the Depositary
Governments.

3. This Agreement shall enter into force upon the deposit of instruments
of ratification by five Governments including the Governments designated
as Depositary Governments under this Agreement.

4. For States whose instruments of ratification or accession are
deposited subsequent to the entry into force of this Agreement, it shall
enter into force on the date of the deposit of their instruments of
ratification or accession.

5. The Depositary Governments shall promptly inform all signatory and
acceding States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of
each instrument of ratification of and accession to this Agreement, the
date of its entry into force and other notices.

6. This Agreement shall be registered by the Depositary Governments
pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

                              Article 8

Any State Party to the Agreement may propose amendments to this
Agreement. Amendments shall enter into force for each State Party to the
Agreement accepting the amendments upon their acceptance by a majority of
the States Parties to the Agreement and thereafter for each remaining
State Party to the Agreement on the date of acceptance by it.

                              Article 9

Any State Party to the Agreement may give notice of its withdrawal from
the Agreement one year after its entry into force by written notification
to the Depositary Governments. Such withdrawal shall take effect one year
from the date of receipt of this notification.

                              Article 10

This Agreement, of which the English, Russian, French, Spanish and
Chinese texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives
of the Depositary Governments. Duly certified copies of this Agreement
shall be transmitted by the Depositary Governments to the Governments of
the signatory and acceding States.

In witness whereof the undersigned, duly authorised, have signed this
Agreement.

Done in triplicate, at the cities of London, Moscow and Washington, the
twenty-second day of April, one thousand nine hundred and sixty-eight.