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    UNIS/OS/414
    17 February 2012

    Space-based Technology for Sustainable Development

    VIENNA, 17 February (UN Information Service) - The fundamental role of space technology-based data and geo-spatial information for the management of sustainable development in the 21st century was highlighted at the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that concluded today.

    With our civilization becoming increasingly dependent on space-based technology, the Subcommittee continued to work on issues relevant to ensure long-term sustainability of outer space and to help states develop their capabilities to use space technologies to address global challenges such as climate change, disasters, global health and food security.

    Other highlights include:

    1. The four Expert Groups of the Working Group on Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities set up a framework for their work on issues such as sustainable space utilization, space debris and space operations, space weather and regulatory regimes for actors in the space arena. Experiences and practices in the conduct of sustainable space activities were also shared in a workshop on the long-term sustainability of outer space, held on 9 February.
    2. Near-Earth objects (NEOs) as a global threat were addressed by the Action Team on NEOs as well as the Subcommittee's Working Group on NEOs, which continued their work on draft recommendations for an international response to the NEO impact threat. Representatives of space agencies met to build consensus on recommendations to establish a mission planning and operations group as part of the overall NEO threat mitigation efforts.
    3. The Subcommittee's Working Group on the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space held the second in a series of workshops on the safe use of nuclear power sources in outer space aimed at re-enforcing the 2009 Safety Framework for Nuclear Power Sources Applications in Outer Space.
    4. On 7 February, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a cooperation agreement with Hungary to establish a regional support office for implementing the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, UN-SPIDER.
    5. On 13 February, UNOOSA organized the industry symposium entitled "The Earth observation services industry: market opportunities" that brought together representatives from industry and government agencies to discuss developments in the Earth Observation industry sector.
    6. The Subcommittee also witnessed the successful launch of the new European Vega launcher on 13 February that carried nine satellites into orbit.

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    For further information, please contact:

    Romana Kofler
    Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962
    Email: romana.kofler[at]unoosa.org