matt damon the martian20th Century FoxMark Watney in "The Martian" drops some space law knowledge.

When Russia launched the world's first satellite in 1957, it revealed a glaring hole in legal policy — how should we regulate outer space? Should Russia get in trouble for violating international law by flying a satellite over US airspace without permission? 

It was clear we'd need a new set of rules to govern airspace as humanity started climbing higher into the sky and eventually into outer space.

That, and the Cold War idea that the United States or Russia would try to colonize space and create a nuclear weapons base there helped inspire the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967. 

The treaty was the founding body of space law and it's inspired several other international conventions and agreements. 

Here are some of the major laws that currently govern space, and what policies we'll need in the future:

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