Since the organization of the Third United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) in 1999 there has been considerable progress in the operational use of space technology and its applications for sustainable development. Space-based assets such as telecommunication, Earth Observation and navigation satellites support a wide range of applications and are increasingly integrated into public infrastructures and contribute to policy- and decision making in support of sustainable development to improve people's lives. In practice all countries today are users of space-based solutions.
Several countries that have previously been users of space applications are interested in establishing basic capacities in space technology development. This desire has partially been guided by the fact that increasingly capable small satellites can be developed with an infrastructure and at a cost that is today also affordable to universities and smaller institutions. There have been recent examples where university-based small satellite projects have led to the establishment of small and medium-sized space enterprises that are now marketing their products on a commercial and world-wide basis. Such developments not only create new opportunities for international space cooperation but also contribute to further promoting the use of space technology and its applications.
In reaction to these developments a new activity line in the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, the United Nations Basic Space Technology Initiative (BSTI), will support capacity building in basic space technology. Initially the activities will focus on small satellites and their applications in support of sustainable development. Other activities under consideration are related to space technology education, such as the development of an education curriculum for basic space technology or cooperation with educational institutions world-wide to identify relevant long-term fellowship opportunities.
To enhance access to space application tools for sustainable development through building capacity in basic space technology
II. International Symposiums on Basic Space Technology Development
A background paper on small satellite missions was prepared for the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), held in Vienna irom 18 to 23 July 1999.
Within the framework of the Technical Forum of UNISPACE III, the United Nations, in cooperation with the International Academy of Astronautics, held a workshop on small satellites at the service of developing countries.
In follow up to this workshop, since 2000, the Office for Outer Space Affairs, in cooperation with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), has held annual workshops on the theme small satellites at the service of developing countries as part of the programme of the annual International Astronautical Congress.
UNISPACE III included a large number of space industry participants. As a follow-up, the Office for Outer Space Affairs has organized, since 2000, a series of symposiums to strengthen the partnership with industry. The symposiums are being held on the margins of the annual sessions of the COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee. Some of the symposium have also addressed the issues of establishing a basic space industry capacity and basic space technology development capabilities.
The use of small satellites has been addressed by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space since the mid-1990s. The documents of the Committee on this topic are listed below.
Programme Officer Basic Space Science & Technology
Space Applications Section
Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA)
United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV)
E-0963, PO Box 500, 1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: (+43-1) 26060-4952
Fax: (+43-1) 26060-7-4952
This page was last updated on 20 November 2013.