The space sector works to keep societies and economies on track during COVID-19
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Decades of developments in the space sector are being utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping countries to keep their citizens safe and economies on track, the head of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) said on Wednesday, in a speech to a virtual conference held by the world’s richest nations.
UNOOSA chief Simonetta Di Pippo delivered the keynote address to the G20 meeting focussed on the global space sector, where she outlined the various ways it has been supporting pandemic response and recovery.
“The current pandemic is a crisis unlike any we have ever seen. It has taught us that decisive action matters. It has also shown that when called upon, the space sector can deliver”, she said.
The G20 virtual conference, known as Space20, was the first of its kind, and Ms. Di Pippo was invited to deliver the keynote address by Saudi Arabia, the organization’s current president.
Since 1999, the period from 4–10 October has been celebrated as World Space Week, in line with a UN General Assembly resolution. The dates were chosen in recognition of the 4 October 1957 launch of Sputnik 1, the first Earth satellite, and the 10 October 1967 signing of the Outer Space treaty. This year’s theme is ‘Satellites improve lives.’ UNOOSA has organized a series of related webinars, with the latest scheduled for Friday.
Space in action
The top UN official told participants that since the start of the pandemic, UNOOSA had launched a Space and COVID-19 Knowledge Portal to capture and share examples of “space in action”, with nearly 100 specific contributions documented.
Ms. Di Pippo explained that there are three key space technologies: Earth Observation, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, and satellite communications.
When integrated with space-enabled mobile applications, they have helped to get essential goods across…