Bengaluru: ‘Women in Space’ is the theme of World Space Week that begins Monday. The event runs annually from 4 October to 10 October in 95 countries. It is considered the largest space event in the world, with over 8,000 programmes and activities. These include educational outreach, government events, and activities for school children.
The annual event was first declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1999, as a “celebration of science and technology” and its contribution to human society.
The programmes and themes of the World Space Week are overseen by the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) based in Vienna, Austria.
The partner organisation of the event is the World Space Week Association (WSWA), which was founded in 1981 and is a space education and outreach organisation. Its board of directors includes individuals such as Buzz Aldrin, the second human to set foot on the Moon, a few seconds after Neil Armstrong; science educator and CEO of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye; Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, and more.
Bengaluru-based non-profit to oversee celebrations in India
In India, outreach and space-related activities for the World Space Week are being coordinated and organised by the Society for Space Education Research and Development (SSERD).
SSERD is an independent non-profit in space education and outreach, based out of Bengaluru. There are events planned with women speakers in the space industry between 4 and 11 October, followed by a week of space educational outreach.
The days for World Space Week were chosen based on two important dates in the history of space exploration — on 4 October 1957, the very first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched. The launch of Sputnik and the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could hit targets in outer space prompted concerns about military exploitation of outer space.
Ten years later, on 10 October 1967, the Outer Space Treaty was signed, which forms the basis of international space law and was drafted by the United Nations.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)