The United Nations (UN) World Space Week (WSW) is annually observed across the globe from 4th to 10th October to celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.
The theme for World Space Week 2023 is “Space and Entrepreneurship”.
- The theme highlights the growing importance of the commercial space sector and its potential for entrepreneurs. As miniaturisation and cost-efficiency continue to advance, the future of space exploration belongs not only to governments but also to visionary entrepreneurs.
- Every year, the theme of WSW is selected by the World Space Week Association (WSWA) Board of Directors in close coordination with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to provide a focus on the activities and events that take place in over 80 nations from 4-10 October.
Note: WSWA began in 1980 as the coordinator of “Spaceweek,” a celebration of the first Moon landing, each July 16-24.
i.The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by its resolution A/RES/54/68 of 6 December 1999, proclaimed the week of 4 to 10 October every year as the World Space Week.
ii.The first-ever WSW was observed from 4th to 10th October 2000.
iii.The celebration of WSW is under the guidance of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the UNOOSA.
Why October 4 to 10?
These dates commemorate two events:
October 4, 1957: Launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, thus opening the way for space exploration.
October 10, 1967: The signing of the “Magna Carta of Space”, also known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
UN and Space
i.UNOOSA is the UN office responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
ii.UNOOSA serves as the secretariat for the UNGA’s only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space: the UN’s COPUOS.
iii.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.
Goals of World Space Week:
- Provide unique leverage in space outreach and education
- Educate people around the world about the benefits that they receive from space
- Encourage greater use of space for sustainable economic development
- Demonstrate public support for space programs
- Excite young people about Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
- Foster international cooperation in space outreach and education.
i.WSW consists of space education and outreach events held by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, museums, and astronomy clubs around the world in a common timeframe.
ii.WSW also serves as a forum for important discussions on the transition of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to a more entrepreneurial ecosystem.
To commemorate the WSW 2023, the WSWA, the European Centre for Space Economy and Commerce (ECSECO), and the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) collaboratively launched a joint social media campaign.
- It was to engage their extensive global networks and provide a forum for the participants to share their invaluable insights and significant space career experiences.
Events in India:
i.In India, the World Space Week India Coordinating Committee, the National Coordinator of WSW, organised a total of 39 events to celebrate WSW 2023, from October 4 to 10 2023 in various states such as Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan.
ii.The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) jointly organised WSW 2023 events from October 4-10, 2023 with the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU), and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST).
- The inaugural event and ‘Space and Entrepreneurship’, workshop on space startups, were held at the Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), and various WSW 2023 events organised by ISRO units are celebrating in Delhi.
iii.U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is celebrating the WSW through an outreach program. On the 4th and 10th October 2023, Inaugural and Valedictory functions are arranged at the URSC campus in Bengaluru (Karnataka).
Note: URSC is the lead centre of ISRO responsible for design, development, assembly & integration of communication, navigation, remote sensing, scientific and small satellite missions.
About United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA):
Director– Aarti Holla-Maini
Headquarters– Vienna, Austria
Established in– 1958