1985 Appeal by American Scientists to Ban Space Weapons

Published Jul 16, 2003

Set forth by the Union of Concerned Scientists in May 1985. The Appeal was signed by more than 700 members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 57 Nobel laureates.

The development of antisatellite weapons and space-based missile defenses would increase the risk of nuclear war and stimulate a dangerous competition in offensive nuclear arms. An arms race in space poses a great threat to the national security of the United States.

Outer space must remain free of any weapons. It should be preserved as an arena for nonthreatening uses: peaceful cooperation, exploration, and scientific discovery among all nations.

We call upon the United States and the Soviet Union to negotiate a total ban on the testing and deployment of weapons in space. To create a constructive environment for the negotiations, both nations should join in a moratorium on further tests of antisatellite weapons. The Soviet Union should bring the Krasnoyarsk radar into conformity with the ABM Treaty, or dismantle it.

We ask the United States and the Soviet Union to reaffirm their commitment to the 1972 ABM Treaty, which prohibits the development, testing, and deployment of space-based ABM systems. We support the continuance of a program of research on ABM technologies in strict conformity with the provisions of the 1972 ABM Treaty.

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