Satellite launch
First launch from site Vostochny, Russia.
Photo:ROSCOSMOS

World Space Week

By resolution 54/68 of 6 December 1999, the General Assembly proclaimed World Space Week, to celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.

World Space Week is the largest annual space event in the world. the weeks helps build up the workforce of tomorrow by inspiring students; demonstrates visible public support for the space programme; educates the public about space activities; and fosters international cooperation in space outreach and education.

Each year a theme is selected by the World Space Week Association Board of Directors in close coordination with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs. The theme provides broad guidance to World Space Week participants on the content of their programmes. The theme is selected to increase the impact of World Space Week on all humanity further, by using a uniform theme globally.

Satellites improve life

2020 World Space Week is dedicated to satellites and their broad benefits under the theme “Satellites improve life.”  With this theme, the World Space Week will show the importance of satellites in daily life and how our lives are affected by satellites such as in communications, environmental monitoring, transportation, weather forecasting, telemedicine, science, and in many other ways.

Background

On 4 October 1957, the launch into outer space of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, opened the way for space exploration. A decade later, on 10 October 1967, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies entered into force.

Space science and technology and their applications are increasingly being used to support a wide range of United Nations activities. At least 25 United Nations entities and the World Bank Group routinely use space applications. They make important and sometimes essential contributions to the work of the United Nations, including in the implementation of recommendations of major world conferences and those of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), as well as support towards sustainable development.

As a consequence, coordination, cooperation and synergy are essential for those activities to be effectively carried out by the United Nations system. The annual sessions of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities are the main means of achieving that synergy. The effectiveness of the Meeting has been further enhanced by the holding, since 2004, of an open informal session immediately after the end of the Meeting, as a means of engaging Member States, in a direct and informal setting, in important space-related developments in the United Nations system. The agenda of the Inter-Agency Meeting is reviewed at each session and adapted to current operational needs.

UN and Space

From the very beginning of the Space Age, the United Nations recognized that outer space added a new dimension to humanity's existence. The United Nations family strives continuously to utilize the unique benefits of outer space for the betterment of all humankind.

Recognizing the common interest of humankind in outer space and seeking to answer questions on how outer space can help benefit the people's of Earth, the General Asssembly adopted its first resolution related to outer space, resolution 1348 (XIII) entitled "Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space".

On 10 October 1967, the "Magna Carta of Space", also known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies entered into force.

Today, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the United Nations office responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. UNOOSA serves as the secretariat for the General Assembly's only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space: the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space(COPUOS).

UNOOSA is also responsible for implementing the Secretary-General's responsibilities under international space law and maintaining the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

To learn more, view the timeline.

 

Our Planet Earth

In an awestruck manner, seventeen astronauts and cosmonauts from ten countries describe their perceptions of Earth as seen from space. Watch the documentary produced in July 1990.

Resources

International Instruments

Principles Adopted by the UN General Assembly

UN System

Related Observances

 

China Space Station

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in cooperation with the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) launched the programme, which capitalizes on the technological and innovative skills of the Government of China to benefit Member States of the United Nations, in particular developing countries, thereby contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through increasing access to space.

 

Dream Chaser Vehicle

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is partnering with the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to offer United Nations Member States the opportunity to participate in an orbital space mission utilizing SNC's Dream Chaser® space vehicle. The mission will carry experiments, payloads, or satellites provided by institutions in the participating countries.

 

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.