In the sixty years since the space age began with the launch of Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite, humankind has achieved remarkable progress in the exploration and use of outer space. This would not have been possible without international cooperation.
With more and more countries, organizations and companies accessing space and its economic and societal benefits, international cooperation to ensure the safe, secure and sustainable use of outer space now and in the future is more crucial today than ever before. That is why diplomatic efforts at the United Nations to drive forward such cooperation are so vital.
From 18 to 21 June, the world will gather in Vienna for UNISPACE+50, the first United Nations global space summit of the twenty-first century, organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). This will be only the fourth time in history that government representatives join heads of space agencies, policy-makers, industry representatives and other stakeholders at the United Nations on a large scale. Our top priority will be to look for ways to use space to improve lives around the world and protect our planet.
A lot has changed since the first UNISPACE conference was held in 1968. Today, space is big business. Last year the global space sector was estimated to be worth USD $330 billion. Access to space is also growing rapidly. Over 70 United Nations Member States now have established government space agencies. This is complemented by an ever-increasing number of private companies and industry. In 2017, a year in which the world placed over 450 new satellites – a record number – in orbit, commercial entities conducted just under half of all launches. Continue reading