VIENNA, 12 February (UN Information Service) — Reviewing the
implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations
Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 1999
(UNISPACE III), and preparing for the General Assembly’s review in October
of the implementation of the recommendations of UNISPACE III, will be the
key agenda item of the 41st session of the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space (COPUOS), which will meet in Vienna from 16 to 27 February 2004.

Other topics of discussion include the use of nuclear power sources in
outer space, possibilities for reducing space debris created by space
missions, the use of space-based systems for telemedicine, as well as
space-based disaster management.

A new topic of discussion will be solar-terrestrial physics, which looks at
the physical processes that govern variability in the Sun-Earth system, how
solar variability affects Earth’s environment, both in the short and long
term, and those aspects of the Sun-Earth system that have consequences for
life and society. There will be a number of presentations by leading
experts in the field, covering topics such as radio astronomy and the
International Living with a Star research programme, which was initiated by
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States,
involving international cooperation to study the topics mentioned above.

The Subcommittee will also discuss matters relating to remote sensing of
the Earth by satellites, including applications for developing countries
and monitoring of the Earth’s environment. During the first two afternoons
of the Subcommittee session, there will be a symposium on the topic of
small satellite applications in agriculture, health and human security. The
presentations will be made by industry representatives.

Member States will review the activities of the United Nations Programme on
Space Applications in 2003 and the planned activities for 2004. The
Programme, implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space
Affairs, works to improve the use of space science and technology for the
economic and social development of all nations, in particular developing
countries. Within the framework of the Programme, the Office conducts
training courses, workshops, seminars and other activities on applications
and capacity-building in such areas as remote sensing, satellite
communications, satellite meteorology, search and rescue, basic space
science, satellite navigation and space law.

Nuclear Power Sources

The Subcommittee will continue to consider the use of nuclear power sources
in outer space under a work plan that covers the period from 2003 to 2006.
Among other things, the Subcommittee will review information from national
and regional space agencies on national space nuclear power source
programmes and applications planned or currently foreseeable. The
Subcommittee will also prepare a draft outline of the objectives, scope and
attributes for an internationally technically based framework of goals and
recommendations for the safety of nuclear power source applications in
outer space.

Space Debris

The Subcommittee is in the third year of its work plan on the topic of
space debris. Last year, the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination
Committee (IADC), a body consisting of representatives from various
national space agencies, presented to the Subcommittee proposals for
reducing the amount of newly-created space debris. According to the plan,
the Subcommittee this year may discuss the way forward on the utilization
of the IADC proposals on debris mitigation as guidelines to be implemented
on a voluntary basis through national mechanisms.

Space-system-based telemedicine

Also as part of a new multi-year work plan, the Subcommittee will address
the topic of space-system-based telemedicine. Among other things, the
Subcommittee at this year’s session will hear presentations by Member
States on the status of telemedicine applications in general, and
space-based telemedicine applications used in their countries.

Disaster Management

The Subcommittee will continue to discuss the implementation of an
integrated, space-based global natural disaster management system. Space
technology, such as remote sensing satellites, navigation satellites and
telecommunication satellites is already used extensively for disaster
management. For instance, remote sensing satellites can be used to map
features of interest in regions where disasters are likely to occur, and
following a disaster, they can provide up-to-date images of the affected
area. Satellite communications help connect regions affected by disasters
to the outside world, when ground infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.
The Subcommittee will consider proposals by the Action Team on Disaster
Management, which was established by the COPUOS in 2001, under the
co-chairmanship of Canada, China and France, and consists of more than 40


The Subcommittee session will coincide with the opening of a special
exhibition entitled “Space State – Ukraine” at the Vienna International
Centre. The exhibition, jointly organized by the Office for Outer Space
Affairs and the National Space Agency of Ukraine, will display models of
launch vehicles and rocket engines built by Ukraine. Two additional
exhibitions will be on display during the session of the Subcommittee: one
on “Mars Exploration” and the other on “Solar-terrestrial physics”, both
co-organized by the United States and the Office for Outer Space Affairs.
The exhibitions can be viewed as part of a guided tour through the Vienna
International Centre.


The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, like COPUOS, its parent
committee, has the following Member States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina,
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic,
Ecuador, Egypt, France, Hungary, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran,
Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia,
Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru,
Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian
Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Africa,
Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United
States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

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

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