2 October 2001


World Space Week 2001 theme : "Inspiration from Space"

VIENNA, 2 October (UN Information Service) – Events for World Space Week 2001* are being organised in at least twenty countries, and include a large ceremony in Beijing, China, a film festival in Toulouse, France, on-line educational events organized by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), special programmes for children at museums and planetariums, sounding rocket launches, and space conferences and exhibitions on six continents.

World Space Week is an annual celebration established by the United Nations General Assembly between 4 and 10 October commemorating two great achievements of the Space Age. October 4 is the date that the first man-made satellite, Sputnik-1, was launched in 1957. October 10 is the date that the historic Outer Space Treaty entered into force. But World Space Week is not just a United Nations event – governments, institutions and people around the world are encouraged to celebrate World Space Week in any way they choose.

The theme for World Space Week 2001 is "Inspiration from space", which celebrates the power of space to spark creativity in the arts and sciences. In his message on the occasion of World Space Week, the Secretary-General says, "…space exploration can help bring cultures together. Manned space missions today are rarely top-secret national projects. Much more common are international crews, with members from a variety of backgrounds. Crews live together in cramped and challenging conditions for months, sharing experiences, customs and, above all, the enthusiasm for space that brought them together in the first place. Their missions capture the imaginations not only of their native lands, but of people around the world. Space is also helping us to address some of today's most urgent problems. Space technology has produced tools that are transforming weather forecasting, environmental protection, humanitarian assistance, education, medicine, agriculture and a wide range of other activities. … a fascination with space leads many young people to pursue careers in science and technology, helping developing countries in particular to build up their human resources, improve their technological base and enhance their prospects for development…"

The following are just some of the events taking place around the world during the Space Week.

A Space and Movies Festival is being held at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse in France. This event, organised by the French space agency, CNES, is a competition of films relating to space. The films were shown on 28 and 29 September and trophies will be awarded during World Space Week on 5 October. The awards ceremony will coincide with the end of the 52nd International Astronautical Congress, one of the leading annual meetings of space experts, which is also taking place in Toulouse from 1 to 5 October.

Activities in Turkey will include an exhibition of space-related photographs, a screening of "Blue Planet" to a group of students from primary and middle schools at the Imax movie theatre in Ankara, an academic conference, and a night-time astronomical observation.

Other activities in Europe include space exhibitions in Berlin, Germany, and Nordwijk, the Netherlands, and a scientific conference on the theme "Space is the Source of Inspiration in Education, Science and Technics" to be held on 4 October in Russia. The Technical Museum of Slovenia (in cooperation with the monthly journal GEA) is creating a multimedia presentation dealing with the physical limitations to human space travel, which will be shown for the first time on 7 October. Information on the programme of activities for World Space Week in the United Kingdom, including a satellite building project for high school students, can be found at www.secuk.org/spaceweek.

China’s extensive programme of activities for World Space Week concentrates on educational and scientific activities, with over 20,000 popular science books provided to middle schools around the country. A space knowledge competition consisting of 100 questions was published widely throughout China, and over 5,500 winners have been selected from the 100,000 answers that were filed. The official Celebration Ceremony for World Space Week 2001 in China will be held on 10 October at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, with an expected attendance of more than 3,000 people, and participation of high ranking Chinese government officials and space explorers from Russia and the United States. Other events include a space camp, open houses at space facilities and museums, and an exhibition of space technology and applications organized by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), with participation from over 70 companies and institutions from Asia, Europe and North America.

Japan celebrates "Space Month", which runs from September 12, the day on which Mamoru Mohri became the first Japanese astronaut in 1992, until World Space Week. Space Month includes events for children and a writing and painting contest, with the awards ceremony to be held on 8 October. A Space Exhibition is being held until 8 October in Tokyo, and some Japanese space facilities are being opened to the public.

Activities in Algeria aimed at university students, teachers and scientific associations will be organized by the National Center of Space Techniques (CNTS). These include installation of a control station at CNTS for ALSAT-1, Algeria’s first microsatellite, and preparation of an astronomy telescope site at Assekrem in the south of Algeria for an association of young amateur astronomers. Night-time observation of the lunar crescent during Ramadan will also be linked to World Space Week celebrations in Algeria.

On-line educational events for World Space Week will be held by the United States Government as a part of NASA Quest (quest.arc.nasa.gov/events/wsw/index.html) and the GLOBE Program (www.globe.gov). Education and scientific activities are planned around the country, including a Space Week Science Challenge competition for schools, organized by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) from 4 to 10 October, classroom events in the neighbourhood of the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, an event on the use of gold in space exploration, entitled "Gold Goes Into Space", in Spring Creek, Nevada, one of the largest gold-producing areas in the United States, and a programme of events at the Museum of Texas Tech University and its Moody Planetarium in Lubbock, Texas.

Argentina’s programme of activities for World Space Week includes an opening ceremony on 4 October, night-time astronomical observations on 5 and 6 October, art, literature and rocket contests and lectures on space themes, including "Space Technology in Argentina" and "Colonization of Mars".

A "Space Bus" has been inaugurated recently in Brazil. The Space Bus is a mobile space exhibition that visits schools, universities and shopping centres around the country. The Space Bus will visit orphanages and other charity institutions for three days during World Space Week.

World Space Week celebrations in Australia include a Space Day on 7 October at the Sydney Observatory, organized by the National Space Society of Australia’s Sydney Chapter, which will include educational displays, "water rocket" launches and a talk on the exploration of Mars. Other events include a Space Expo on the Central Coast in New South Wales, and a sounding rocket campaign by the Australian Space Research Institute.

For more information on World Space Week events in your country, please see the web site of the Spaceweek International Association, a non-government organization, at www.spaceweek.org. The Spaceweek International Association has also produced a Teachers Activity Guide for World Space Week 2001, describing space-related projects for schoolchildren, which is available for free on its web site.

For more information on activities of the United Nations in the field of space, please see the web site of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, at www.oosa.unvienna.org.

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* The United Nations has been notified officially of the programme of events in China by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Other information provided in this press release is accurate to the best knowledge of the United Nations.