A significant shift in attitude towards in-orbit rescue operations came in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, after which NASA took steps to prepare for STS-3xx or Launch on Need missions to ensure rescue in certain scenarios.  However, this capability was never exercised during the remainder of the Space Shuttle program. The cost of a rescue operation is also not taken into account in the agreement. The rescue agreement provides that the State of departure must bear the costs of recovering a vehicle that crashes in the territory of another State. However, the cost of rescuing astronauts is not mentioned in the agreement. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the text of the Rescue Agreement on 19 December 1967 by Resolution 2345 (XXII). The Agreement was concluded upon signature on 22 April 1968 and entered into force on 3 December 1968. As of January 2019, 98 States have ratified the Rescue Agreement, 23 have signed it and three international intergovernmental organizations (the European Space Agency, the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications and the European Organization for the Use of Meteorological Satellites) have declared that they accept the rights and obligations conferred by the agreement.  The Rescue Agreement essentially provides that any State that is a party to the Agreement must provide all possible assistance to rescue the personnel of a spacecraft that has landed on the territory of that State, whether due to an accident, an emergency, an emergency or an involuntary landing. If the emergency situation occurs in an area outside the territory of a nation, any State in a position to do so shall, if necessary, provide assistance in the search and rescue operation. The rescue agreement has been criticised as vague, particularly with regard to the definition of who is entitled to rescue and the definition of what a spacecraft and its components are.
At the time of the contract, the prospect of saving space travelers was unlikely due to the limited launch capabilities of even the most advanced space programs, but since then it has become more plausible. For example, I and, later, the International Space Station, we maintained docked Russian Soyuz vehicles that can be used as a leakage mechanism in the event of an emergency in orbit. In some scenarios, this ship can also help to save itself. The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Space, also known as the Rescue Agreement, is an international agreement that defines the rights and obligations of states with respect to rescuing people from space. The Agreement was created by a consensus vote at the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 1967 (Resolution 2345 (XXII). It entered into force on 3 December 1968. Its provisions refer to the rescue provisions laid down in Article V of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Although the rescue agreement has more specificity and precision than the rescue provision in Article V of the Outer Space Treaty, it still suffers from vague wording and divergent interpretations. In the event that a space object or parts thereof end up in the territory of another State of the Contracting Party, the State in which the object lands shall be required (at the request of the launching authority) to recover the space object and return it to the launching authority. . . .