World Space Week Focuses on Satellite Navigation

October 6, 2014  - By
Image: GPS World


The United Nations is spotlighting the benefits of satellite navigation and its contribution to the betterment of humankind as part of the observance of World Space Week — an annual global celebration of the contributions of space science and technology to humanity.

The theme of this year’s World Space Week is Space: Guiding Your Way. It highlights the benefits of satellite navigation to society, which Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), said are of “great importance” to her office. UNOOSA also functions as the Executive Secretariat to the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG), which promotes voluntary cooperation on civil satellite-based positioning navigation, timing and value-added services.

Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1999, World Space Week, observed each year during the week of October 4-10, aims to 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 math; and foster international cooperation in space outreach and education.

The dates recall the launch on October 4, 1957, of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, and the entry into force, on October 10, 1967, of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.

Ideas for educators and youth groups to focus on satellite navigation include geocaching, building model satellites, and using Google Earth. “Imagine a world without navigation satellites to guide planes, ships and cars and not to forget: us with our location-based mobile phone applications!” the guide states. “And navigation satellites not just accurately pinpoint our position on the planet, it also provides time signals to keep clocks in sync, which is critically important for global trading and many other time critical sectors. In times of disaster navigation satellites help rescuers quickly find spots where people need help. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) we can compare maps before and after things changed. And GNSS satellites are important to help you planning your trips and tell you where it will rain and where it will shine!”

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