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Monday, August 31, 2009

Space Exploration and Peaceful uses of Outer Space (June 7, 1982)


The orbiting of first artificial earth satellite in 1957 was given due cognizance by the United Nations which noted the potential significance of this giant step toward exploration of space. Consequently the General Assembly of the United Nations set up an ad-hoc Committee to deal with the new ‘frontier of knowledge’ and immense potential opened up by Man’s ability to enter the outer space. The ad-hoc Committee was later on replaced by a regular committee of the General Assembly under the title of “Committee on the peaceful uses of Outer Space.” The membership of this committee was expended from time to time to accommodate the increasing interest and also the larger number of member states joining the United Nations (the current membership of the Committee is 53) The Committee provides a ‘focal point’ for international cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of Outer Space in accordance with General Assembly resolutions.
After about ten years of space exploration the United Nations, upon the recommendations of the Outer Space Committee, held the first world conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space in Vienna in 1968. Although this conference did serve a useful purpose in high-lighting the potential of Man’s access to space and in disseminating the scientific results and applications derived in the first decade of space exploration, it failed to produced substantial follow-up action. It, however, succeeded in the creation of a modest programme of space applications and appointment of an Expert for this programme within the Outer Space Affairs Division of the UN Secretariat.
With the Passage of another ten years from the First World Conference, and some twenty years from the orbiting of first artificial earth satellite, the Outer Space Committee recommended to the Thirty-third General Assembly to convene the Second world conference in order to facilitate a global examination of the issues and opportunities offered by the advances made in space research and space-technology applications. The General Assembly agreed to this recommendation.
The Second United Nations Conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of Outer Space (UN ISPACE 82) will take place in Vienna, Austria from 9 to 20 August, 1982. Plans for the conference originated in the meetings of the UN Committee on the peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which is one of the permanent Committees of the United Nations General Assembly. The Conference has been convened to discuss and assess the progress which has been made in the peaceful uses of space technology since the convening of the first United Nations Conference on Space in 1968. It will provide a forum for assessing the adequacy and effectiveness of the existing institutional and co-operative arrangements for realizing the benefits of space technology for the good of man everywhere.
Participants of the conference include all member states of the United Nations, representatives of United Nations Organisations, specialized agencies and relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The second conference has the following three main areas of interest, as reflected in its agenda —
a) State of space science and technology.
b) Applications of space science and technology.
c) International Co-operation and the role of the United Nations.
The outcome of UNISPACE 82 will undoubtedly bear upon the future role and work of the United Nations in the space exploration and peaceful uses of outer space. It will also hopefully contribute in particular towards ensuring adequate utilization of space technology for socio-economic advancement of the developing countries.
In Pakistan also, a modest programme was initiated making its mark with the first launching of a scientific rocket on 7th June, 1962, from the Sonmiani Rocket Range. Recently (May 1981) a fully autonomous Commission has been established in Pakistan for the promotion of peaceful uses and applications of space.
Pakistan Post Office is issuing a special postage stamp on 7th June, 1982, of the denomination of Re. 1/-to focus attention on UNISPACE 82 and on Pakistan’s own space programme. The date of issue of this stamp coincides with the 20th anniversary of the first rocket launching carried out by Pakistan from its Sonmiani Rocket Range.