Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    21 February 2011

    Space Solutions Can Improve the Lives of People Worldwide

    VIENNA, 21 February (UN Information Service) - The role of space science and space applications in improving the daily lives of people worldwide was the focus of the 48th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Issues of environmental monitoring, management of natural resources, early warning systems to help mitigate potential disasters, satellite navigation and communications as well as sustainable future use of outer space, including how to minimize the impact of space debris on future space missions to preserve the outer space environment for future generations were discussed.

    Stressing the importance of sustainable space utilization in the service of all humanity, the Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Mazlan Othman, invited delegations to join UNOOSA in activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of human space flight and the 50th anniversary of COPUOS, that UNOOSA will organize throughout the year, in particular from 1 to 10 June 2011, alongside the 54th session of COPUOS.

    Other highlights of the 48th session of the Subcommittee include:

    • The Subcommittee's Working Group on the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space held the first in a series of workshops on the safe use of nuclear power sources in outer space aimed at following up and re-enforcing the 2009 Safety Framework for Nuclear Power Sources Applications in Outer Space.

    • The Working Group on Near Earth Objects (NEOs) furthered its work in a new multi-year workplan for 2012-2013 to finalize draft international procedures for handling the NEO threat and raise awareness among decision makers about the global threat posed by NEOs as well as to engage international stakeholders in coordinated international efforts to mitigate such threats.

    • The Action Team on Public Health of COPUOS finalized its report on the "Use of space applications to improve public health", stressing the need for better delivery of health and public health services through satellite communication applications, through which health resources and health care are provided at a distance by electronic means, and recommended work to be continued, in particular in areas of tele-epidemiology and tele-health.

    • On 8 February, a seminar on utilization of facilities and cooperation opportunities on the International Space Station (ISS) was organized in cooperation with the ISS partners by UNOOSA in the framework of the United Nations Human Space Technology Initiative, which promotes international cooperation in human spaceflight and space exploration-related activities for the peaceful uses of outer space.

    • On 9 February, the UN Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) held an expert meeting that proposed a working group to be established, facilitated by UNOOSA, to optimize collaboration and related communications during major disasters among existing leading mechanisms already in place in response to major disasters worldwide, such as the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, Sentinel Asia, GMES SAFER and SERVIR, as well as among other service providers and UN-SPIDER regional support offices.

    • On 14 February, a symposium entitled "Planetary protection and space exploration", was organized by the Committee on Space Research, focusing on the role of private sector in conducting space operations beyond Earth orbit.

    • On 16 February, Germany and France announced that Europe's second Automated Transfer Vehicle "Johannes Kepler" was launched by an Ariane 5 from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, with a total mass of over 20 tons, the heaviest payload ever launched by Europe, which delivered supplies and reboost the ISS during its upcoming three-and-half-month long mission.

    * *** *

    For further information, please contact:

    Romana Kofler
    Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962