World Space Week 2022: Satellites Have Eyes on a Better Future
Space Technologies play a crucial role in our lives today, often more than one would imagine. But one of the frequently asked questions in the present world is: Why are we building satellites for space when there are so many problems to fix here on earth? But the answer to this question is very simple. It is necessary to go to space to help the earth. Satellites play a major role in improving the ease of living on earth. In 1889, the famous novelist Jules Verne, also known as the father of science fiction, wrote about the developments in space, climate change, and melting polar ice caps in the book ‘The Purchase of the North Pole.' His thoughts and ideas strongly suggest that humans need to rely on technology to save their degrading natural environment, a growing subgenre known as climate fiction or Cli-Fi.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted sustainable development goals for space after concluding that sustainability principles are crucial to facing current global challenges. In order to discuss and introduce the new features regularly, the United Nations General Assembly holds World Space Week (WSW) each year from October 4-10.
The theme of World Space Week 2022 is ‘Space and Sustainability,’ implying educating and achieving a better future while achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainability from Space, Satellites Have Our Eyes for a Better Future
We live in an era strained by global crises and megatrends defining the course of action and progress toward a sustainable world. Climate change is the most impactful crisis in the present world, affecting the environment drastically. Humans cause some, and some are due to natural calamities. Urbanization is the cushion for the demand for resources and carbon emissions.
At present, globally, the United Nations is playing an integral part in sustainable development and continues to deliver on its promise of a better future for everyone, everywhere. Let us look into the themes that were discussed during world space week. Firstly, space scientists have the vision to explore the value of space assets for delivering the UN mandates. The second is to provide an update about the latest SDG-related efforts using space assets, and the space-related user needs to take the implementation of SDGs to another level.
Programs on 10th October
The introduction of the space age in the 1950s created bundles of opportunities, the extent of which were unforeseen when the first signals beamed from Sputnik 1 back to earth. At present, the world satellites underpin the economy, power supply chains, and transportation, support climate science and action and help us address emergencies, disasters & so much more.
During the 1960s, the world had two major players in space: the USA and the USSR. The sector was in a Cold War of ideologies, technology, world trade, and resources, with battles for geographical domination on land, sea, and skies. But space was abundant in that. The Cold War could have bled into space, but the two superpowers pledged to keep outer space free of military conflict.
In fact, the current global landscape calls for finding even better common grounds and gray areas. As the world is going through a climate crisis, solutions to society's challenges require the involvement of all available assets. Space exploration and utilization represent potent tools to drive sustainable development. As sustainability is also one of the main goals of the space programs, the themes on the first day of space week were:
1) Space applications and their benefits.
2) Integration of frontier technology in the future and benefits
3) Briefs on the services providers can offer to advance SDG (Sustainable development goals) efforts.
Today, hardly a handful of nations are involved in exploring and utilizing space, even though the space sector has grown to a multi-stakeholder environment with the involvement of not only governmental entities but also the private sector, academia, and the third sector.
Making sense of the overall value and dynamics of the sector is an uneasy task but one that has attracted the attention of many organizations. In this light, the space industry discussed the ideas for:
1) Developments in the space industry
2) Current and future technologies
3) Opportunities and challenges in the space sector.
The major changes and developments in space programs point to the opportunities to expand access to space and leverage its potential for sustainable development.
At the same time, the new missions and non-governmental entities entering domains traditionally dominated by governments translate into challenges to the scientific, technical and legal considerations. Importantly, the future progress of the space sector rests on finding the balance between regulation and expansion.
How do Space Operations Maximize the Benefits of Space Exploration and Use?
Space scientists must prepare the business models with LTS (Long Term Support) embedded therein or may risk breaching applicable law or losing access to public and private financing. Lining up with the space activities with LTS may require the development of guidelines on LTS matters, as well as reporting criteria and practices, in the operator’s structure. Besides the space sector, legal challenges such as with relation to the sharing of information between stakeholders, the reformulation of the operator’s corporate structure to address capacity building and safety requirements being imposed by LTS, and/or compliance with regulations and best practices on sustainability throughout the supply chain of operators.