Press Releases

    UNIS/OS/276
    2 April 2004

    Vienna International Centre Hosts Exhibition on Algerian Space Programme

    VIENNA, 2 April (UN Information Service) -- An exhibition on the Algerian Space Programme was officially inaugurated in the Rotunda of the Vienna International Centre on 29 March by Taous Feroukhi, Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), and Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of UNOV. The exhibition is jointly organized by the Algerian Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA).

    “This exhibition, which coincides with the first anniversary of Algeria’s accession to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the setting up of the Algerian Space Agency, gives an overview of the national space programme aimed at using space technologies to contribute to its socio-economic development,” said Ambassador Feroukhi at the opening ceremony. The opening was attended by members of the diplomatic community and delegates to the forty-third session of the Legal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), currently on at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). Ms. Feroukhi also highlighted the benefits drawn from international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. She commended the role played by COPUOS and OOSA in raising awareness of the benefits of space science and technology, and in the development of national space legislation.

    Emphasizing that the "use of space technology is no longer an esoteric activity that only the developed countries can afford", Mr. Costa highlighted the importance of satellite imagery for Algeria in monitoring agricultural land use, using its natural resources in a sustainable manner, planning urban and rural development, monitoring industrial and marine pollution and supporting cartography for infrastructure such as road and rail networks.

    The centrepiece of the exhibition is a half-scale model of AlSat-1, Algeria’s first satellite. Built by Algerian scientists and engineers in co-operation with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of the United Kingdom, AlSat-1 was launched in 2002 as part of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, which currently includes four satellites from four countries, namely, Algeria, Nigeria, Turkey and the United Kingdom, in the first constellation of satellites tasked to monitor disasters globally. Combined, the satellites will be able to monitor disaster areas on a daily basis - a capability that is crucial for early warning, assessment of damage and for emergency response operations, all of which result in saving lives and property. With a mass of almost 90 kilograms, AlSat-1 will also be used by Algeria to support several of its economic and social development activities, and for education and capacity building in the field of remote sensing. The Algerian National Institute for Plant Protection recently requested AlSat-1 images for an anti-locust campaign. The satellite imagery will also be used for the regional monitoring of the accelerating desertification that is occurring on the boundaries of the Sahara desert.

    The exhibition also includes posters highlighting some of the important present and future benefits of space technology in Algeria, in the fields of telecommunication, Earth observation, education, training and research.

    “Although Algeria is the newest member of the Committee [on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space], it has been very active in the work of the Committee and its two Subcommittees,” noted Sergio Marchisio, Chairman of the Legal Subcommittee of COPUOS. Algeria was appointed as the 65th member of COPUOS in 2002, and has ratified the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and has signed the 1972 Liability Convention.

    At the end of the exhibition, which will be on display until 8 April 2004, the model of AlSat-1 will be gifted to the United Nations Office at Vienna by the Algerian Space Agency. The exhibition can be viewed as part of a guided tour of the 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 technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at http://www.oosa.unvienna.org.