3 October 2006

Space for Saving Lives: United Nations to Celebrate World Space Week 2006

School Children to Hold Outer Space Conference at the United Nations in Vienna

VIENNA, 3 October (UN Information Service) - Fifty children from a primary school in Vienna, Austria, will celebrate World Space Week at the United Nations in Vienna on 10 October. The children have been invited by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) and the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with the Austrian Aeronautics and Space Agency, as part of the activities for World Space Week 2006. The children, aged 6-10 have studied outer space in class and will meet with experts from OOSA and hold a model United Nations conference to discuss how the world should use space technologies to solve problems on Earth. They will also visit the space exhibit in the United Nations building in Vienna, where models of space craft and a real moon rock are on display.

The theme of this year's World Space Week is "Space for Saving Lives", highlighting the many ways that space helps to save lives on Earth. This includes disaster management, such as after the Indian Ocean tsunami, telemedicine and environmental protection.

In the case of the Indian Ocean tsunami, use of satellite images and satellite communications played a crucial role in assisting relief teams to identify areas that needed assistance more urgently as well as the access roads that were still functional," said Sergio Camacho, Director of OOSA, on this year's theme of World Space Week. "However, the prior use of space technology to identify areas at risk used together with a civil protection plan for the population response to an early warning could have greatly minimized the disaster. Activities such as World Space Week raise awareness of these capabilities in particular among the future generations that will make up the societies of planners, decision-makers and scientists."

Events in 50 countries around the world are planned as part of this year's international celebration of World Space Week, which is observed by the United Nations annually from 4 to 10 October. World Space Week celebrates the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. Endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1999, it marks the anniversary of two milestones in the human exploration and use of outer space: the launch of the first artificial satellite, SPUTNIK I, on 4 October 1957, and the entry into force of the Treaty Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which took place on 10 October 1967.

Resources to help teachers conduct activities for World Space Week are available online at www.spaceweek.org  and www.unoosa.org .

The space exhibit at the United Nations in Vienna can be seen as part of a guided tour of the Vienna International Centre (VIC).


The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at  http://www.unoosa.org .

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For information on OOSA contact:

Levent Canturk
Associate Programme Officer, OOSA
Telephone: +43 1 260 60 5748 E-mail levent.canturk@unvienna.org

For information on guided tours of the VIC contact:

UNIS Visitors Service
Telephone: +43 1 260 60 3328
E-mail: tours@unvienna.org