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Nowadays one of the most significant discussions in the international public law relates to the concept and the role of “soft law”. Some researchers assert the point of view of existence of such law, others consider that it is a new source of public international law However, different approaches don’t exclude the basic char-acteristics of soft law that is a non-binding nature and a streamlines process of drafting. Because of this situation, Member-States of public international organizations tend to use soft law as a pragmatic way of organizing interactions among sovereign states the in case of difficulties to pass unified international treaty. This article argues that similar practices also exist in international space law. Since the entry in force of the Moon Agreement in 1979, the Member States of UN COPUOS have not passed any additional international space treaties. Instead, they have found a solution for new chal-lenges: drafting and accepting soft law acts like UN General Assembly Resolutions (hereinafter GA Resolutions) and others. While GA Resolutions are not legally binding, States can transform them into national legislations and doing so they will have to be responsible for certain space activities which have not been regulated internationally yet. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview on the establishment of soft law as a new source of international space law by analyzing and comparing state practice in Russia, the USA and in several Member States of the European Union (EU). The emphasis will be made on the transformation of provisions of the UN General Assembly Resolution “Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Pow-er Sources in Outer Space” (hereinafter the NPS Principles) as nuclear power sources in outer space should be based on a thorough safety assessment. The article starts by a short overview of the concept of “soft law” and the resolutions produced by UN COPUOS. Then it will go on to the main three parts besides conclusion. The first chapter gives a brief overview of the drafting history of the NPS Principles and the second deals with activities of UN COPUOS and IAEA on the matter of nuclear power sources use in outer space. The last chapter pre-sents several case studies focusing on the following questions which provisions of NPS Principles have been implemented into national legislative system, what is the novel and what are the differences among the various national law instruments in these countries.

Irina A Chernykh
RUDN University Law Institute 6, Miklukho-Maklaya st., Moscow 117198, Russia

Chernykh Irina A. - Post-graduate Student, Department of International Law, Law Institute, RUDN University.

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