Press Releases

    2 October 2002

    (4-10 OCTOBER)

    VIENNA, 2 October (UN Information Service) -- Celebrations for World Space Week 2002 will reach all continents, including Antarctica, and will feature United Nations educational activities for refugees in Djibouti and Somalia, a poster exhibit at the United Nations Vienna headquarters in Austria, an essay contest by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), tours of the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Manned Spaceflight Facilities in The Netherlands, contests, symposia, web conferences and media events worldwide, and the start of the World Space Congress in Houston on 10 October. World Space Week (4-10 October) was established by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate how space improves the lives of people around the world, and the theme for 2002 is "Space and daily life".

    The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) and UNESCO PEER (Regional Programme of Education for Emergencies, Communication and Culture of Peace) are launching World Space Week with an educational programme in the Holl-Holl and Ali-Addeh refugee camps in Djibouti. During a two-day teacher training workshop and four days of school visits, a member of the Orbital Mechanics Educational Network (OMEN), a U.K. non-government organization, will teach a curriculum the Network has designed especially for children in developing countries. As well as giving children in the camps a basic understanding of space – explaining phenomena like the stars and the phases of the Moon that they see every day – the programme includes water and chemical rocket launches, building an equatorial sundial, and stargazing.

    In addition, 200 packages of educational material will be distributed to schools in the two camps in Djibouti, as well as to schools in Somalia. Among other things, each package includes a star chart designed especially for children in equatorial regions and donated by the National Planetarium of Malaysia; space colouring books donated by ESA; Solar System posters donated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and satellite/political maps of the World and Africa. The activity in Djibouti and Somalia was also made possible through generous sponsorship from the Governments of Austria and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

    OOSA is also organizing a poster exhibition entitled "The World from Space" to be held from 4 to 31 October at the United Nations Vienna headquarters in Austria. Posters of some of the most spectacular satellite imagery of the Earth will be on display along with educational material explaining how these images are important for our daily life.

    The centrepiece of this satellite imagery is the "Megacities Exhibition". Provided by the ESA, the twenty panels depict the major cities of the planet Earth as seen through the cameras of satellites orbiting several hundred kilometers above the surface, and are among the highest resolution imagery commercially available today. The "Megacities Exhibition" is provided through the generous support of the ESA, the Austrian Space Agency and GEOSPACE GmbH. Satellite imagery used in areas like agriculture, forestry, environmental monitoring, and urban planning will also be on display.

    The "World from Space" poster exhibition has been made possible through the contributions of the following organizations: Austrian Space Agency; AUSTROSPACE; China National Space Agency (CNSA); European Space Agency (ESA/ESOC); GEOSPACE GmbH; Hungarian Space Agency; Iranian Remote Sensing Centre; Italian Space Agency (ASI); Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research; Malaysian National Space Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA; National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA); Royal Jordanian Geographic Centre; Space Imaging, Inc; United States Geological Survey; Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), Thailand.

    UNESCO, in collaboration with ESA and other space agencies, is also holding an international essay contest on the theme "Space and daily life". Students will bring forward their ideas on how space will influence the development, security and well being of society in the future. ESA and UNESCO are also inviting the general public, educators and students to visit ESA’s Manned Spaceflight Facilities in Nordwijk, The Netherlands. The organized tours on 6 October will include a presentation by a European astronaut and a virtual reality tour of the International Space Station. Another event in The Netherlands sponsored by Dutch space industry will give five children aged between 10 and 12 the opportunity to spend 24 hours within a full-scale model of the European Columbus module of the International Space Station.

    In Antarctica the McMurdo Station is arranging a free hand-out of sky maps and a special show of space music on Ice Radio 104.5.

    "Earth and Sky" radio broadcasts will be held on 4 and 10 October on over 950 commercial and public radio stations around the world.

    A number of events for young people will be organized in various Australian cities including Canberra and Sydney. The Australian Space Research Institute will also be holding its spring sounding rocket launch campaign at Woomera during World Space Week. The launches are open to the public and are used to fly small student payloads.

    Activities in the United Kingdom include a Mars Lander Competition, where teams of students will design and build a Mars Lander to strict specifications, and each lander will undergo simulated space qualification testing, an on-line space competition organized by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and events organized by the U.K. Space Education Council, The Royal Society and a number of other institutions. The IMAX cinema in Belfast will launch a new 3-D movie filmed onboard the International Space Station, entitled "Space Station 3-D", which will also be shown at a number of other IMAX cinemas around the world during World Space Week.

    World Space Week will be celebrated across Latin America, with activities at the Bolivian National Astronomical Observatory, a World Space Week web site maintained by Chile (, and a "Deep Sky Conference" and telescope demonstration at Loyola College in the Dominican Republic.

    Activities in the United States of America include a web chat for students involved in the U.S. Government’s GLOBE educational progamme, and entitled "GLOBE Data: Contributing to Satellite Missions from Below", "Mars Week 2002", a three day conference organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Mars Society, and a conference on "Space Technology for Developing Nations", organized by the National Space Society on 4 October at New York University.

    The final day of World Space Week, 10 October, will see the start of the World Space Congress, a massive gathering of an estimated 13,000 space professionals in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

    A programme of events, including a web conference, is being organized in Iran. World Space Week celebrations are also being organized by the National Space Agency of Pakistan, in collaboration with M.A. Jinnah University and the University of Karachi.

    Warsaw Technical University in Poland will be launching their new specialization in Astronautics with a press conference with NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski and prominent Polish scientists. Dr. Parazynski will also return to its originator a picture painted by a 12-year-old Polish boy, the winner of the Polish Space Contest in 2001, which has since been sent to the International Space Station and signed by the crew of the STS-100 Space Shuttle mission.

    For more information on World Space Week events around the world, please see the web site of the Spaceweek International Association, a non-government organization, at (

    Educational materials designed especially for World Space Week are available on several web sites including those of the Spaceweek International Association (, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre (, and the U.K. Space Education Council (

    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 (

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