Committee on the Peaceful Unedited transcript

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The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from Spanish): We are going to suspend this meeting for two minutes and 25 seconds.

The meeting was suspended at 4.20 p.m.

The meeting resumed at 4.22 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from Spanish): As I was saying, after this brief interruption, I have the pleasure of giving the floor to a friend, a very high-level friend, the representative of Romania, who is a high-flying astronaut as far as our work is concerned. You have the floor Sir.
Mr. D. D. PRUNARIU (Romania): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, let me, Ambassador Raimundo González, to express the satisfaction for seeing you again the main Chair of the Committee and to congratulate you for the excellent accomplishment of your difficult task during the last years. I would also take this opportunity to express my warm congratulations to Dr. Sergio Camacho as the new Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs for the outstanding management of the permanent activities of this institution, using his rich and fruitful experience within the Office.
Let me as well, Mr. Chairman, to express our thanks, congratulations and full support to Ambassador Walther Lichem for the difficult task he accomplished in negotiating and reaching a consensus with regard to the issue of the composition of the Bureaux of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its subsidiary bodies for the next terms.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished delegates, Romania is committed to further develop peaceful space development in a joint effort with the wider international space community. I would like to recall that, since the previous session of the Committee, the space activities in Romania continued to develop. Since July 2002, the Romanian Space Agency continued the coordination as a contracting authority of the National Research and Development Programme on Space and Aeronautics. Designed for 2001-2005 on a multi-year budget basis, the Programme includes as main directions: space and aerospace policy and infrastructure; space exploration; space application; aerospace technology and spin-off.
The duration of the project is between three and four (statement says five) and more than 45 public and private groups are involved as main contractors.
In the field of space and aerospace policy and infrastructure, I would like to mention the development of the Advanced Space and Aerospace Technology Park to be established in Bucharest as a consortium of several research, academic and industrial organizations. The inputs of the Park are scientific and academic competence, existent high-technology infrastructure and venture capital. The presumed outputs consist in high-level skilled professionals, high technology products derived from space research and financial results to support new projects.
During the last year, the Programme supported also the establishment of some Centres of Excellence in space science and applications in the fields of high-energy astrophysics, parallel computing and GRID, complex fluids in microgravity, precision agriculture and space applications in medicine and health monitoring. The concept of public-private partnership is promoted in the establishment of the Centres and in the project management.
As for space exploration, during 2002 the Romanian scientists took part in the development of several international space missions within the programmes of the European Space Agency, ESA, missions PLANCK, SPORt, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, astrobiology, microgravity, NASDA Japan, for life support in the ISS.
In the field of space applications, progress was performed in precise applications making use of Earth observation data, space communications and Global Navigation Satellite Systems. Among the ongoing projects, I would like to mention study for seismic risk assessment using space techniques, with a pilot study for the area of Bucharest; space applications for disaster management, applications for floods, deforestation and land degradation; radar interferometer applications for the Black Sea coast; tele-medicine pilot for diagnostic, clinical and educational applications.
At this point, Mr. Chairman, I would like to stress the successful organization in Romania, Poiana Brasov, in the period of 19 to 23 May, of the United Nations/Romania Regional Workshop on the Use of Space Technology for Disaster Management for Europe. The workshop was a joint initiative of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Romanian Space Agency, on behalf of the Government of Romania, and co-sponsored by the European Space Agency, the French Space Agency, CNES, and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. This event brought together practitioners, space agencies and those responsible for dealing with disaster management to present experiences and best practices on the space technology-based solutions for disaster management in Europe. This regional workshop is an element of capacity-building modules whose final objective is to incorporate the use of space technologies in a sustainable manner into operational disaster management programmes around the world.
With regard to the space applications in agriculture, an outstanding development represents the ADAM Project, the continuing cooperation between ROSA and the French Space Agency, CNES, in agro-modelling using space data for precision farming. I would like to point out, Mr. Chairman, that precision farming is utilizing the complete set of space applications: optical and radar remote sensing imagery, navigation and positioning systems for data registration and agricultural machines navigation, satellite communications for meteorological data. The future challenge of the project is oriented directly to the farmers in order to optimize the agricultural process. The farmer’s input consists in data about the field’s coordinates, plant culture characteristics, permanent soil characteristics and agricultural practices. Based on Internet servers, crop models assimilate remote sensing data in order to give information in real time. The data delivered by the system consist in information during the phenological cycle, as water stress, mineral nutrition stress, wild plant infestation and pest attack. The project is also promoting the new concept of data mining, the multitude of optical and radar data are gathered on a server open for the scientific community. The project is utilizing also data from the NASA multi-spectral sensor Hyperion and from the French satellite SPOT-5.
In the field of aerospace technology, the projects are oriented to small payloads and vehicles as command, control and communications on-board system for light aerospace platforms; applications of optimal control methods for atmospheric and orbital flight; active flow control with synthetic jet actuators; light unmanned aircraft vehicle for monitoring and satellite remote sensing data complementarities.
I would like to emphasize, Mr. Chairman, the growing role of space science technology and applications in more and more sectors and aspects of human life. In particular, I would like to mention the space science and technology contribution to the process of building the global information society and the relevance of space activities for regional, continental and global security. Space activities generate valuable sources of data for the global information society. Space science, by means of astronomy, space experiments and deep space missions, and space applications generate a wide amount of precise data in a spectrum extending from the large-scale Universe to the daily phenomena of our planet. At the same time, space applications are providing the infrastructure for the information society, by means of satellite communications, Earth observation, positioning and navigation systems and others. Space systems, together with the permanent developing information technology, contribute to a qualitatively new concept of a global information and communication system. Internet, broadband mobile applications, GIS, GRID, distant learning, tele-medicine, virtual manufacturing, e-commerce, and e-governance become more and more essential elements of our permanent activity. Public authorities, private companies and citizens are sharing and building this sum of concepts and tools with visible results towards a better life on our planet for both development and stability.
Mr. Chairman, with reference to the sixth point of the agenda, ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes, I would like to stress the role of wider international scientific and technical cooperation as a mechanism of stability.
Since the last session of the Committee, Romania continued to strengthen the cooperation in the frame of the European Space Agency towards a better integration of its space research and industry capabilities in the European programmes, as for space science, microgravity, Earth observation, telecommunications, navigation and positioning, space engineering as well. Romania is also contributing directly to the European Commission Sixth Framework Programme. For the first time it contains aeronautics and space as priority directions, in particular the European initiatives Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security. As a future member of the European Union and as an active promoter of space applications, Romania is interested in building infrastructure and applications with regard to those initiatives, for the benefit of public and private activities, having as a final result the improvement of the quality and security of the daily life of the citizens.
Agreements already concluded between the Romanian Space Agency and significant organizations, as NASA, the French Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency include projects directed to both science and direct applications of space technology as precision agriculture and environmental monitoring and tele-medicine.
Romania also gave concerned attention to support for space-related applications in developing countries. Experts from ROSA, in cooperation with the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, assisted Azerbaijan in developing their own Land Information System. This experience led to the conclusion in November 2002 of a governmental agreement of cooperation in utilization of the outer space for peaceful purposes between the Government of Romania and the Government of Azerbaijan. A new cooperation with FAO started last year for the utilization of satellite data in the more precise determination of the land use and land cover to support the agricultural reform in Romania.
Mr. Chairman, concerning the seventh item of the agenda, the opinion of my delegation is that we should concentrate our efforts to contribute to an efficient follow-up of the UNISPACE III recommendations in taking into consideration the appropriate local and regional capabilities and needs. Romania has an outstanding interest in improving international and regional cooperation in space activities. In particular, we continue to give the full support to the initiative of the Network for Education and Research in Space Science and Technology for Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and we believe in an increasing contribution of this cooperation to the stability and the development of the region.
With regard to the celebration of the World Space Week, as it is stated also in the Report on World Space Week 2002, prepared by OOSA, in cooperation with the Spaceweek International Association, Romania is organizing specific celebrating activities each year since 1999. Space-related news on the media, radio shows, an Aeronautic and Space exhibition, a special World Space Week day in Bucharest and lectures for college students held by scientists and teachers were done with this special occasion between 4 and 10 October 2002.
Regarding agenda items 8 and 9, we would also like to express our satisfaction, Mr. Chairman, for the excellent work done by the Scientific and Technical and by the Legal Subcommittees during their last sessions and we have the pleasure to congratulate the Chairmen of the Working Groups and the Secretariat for their outstanding efforts in drafting reports to the Committee.
With reference to agenda item 10, in our opinion, Mr. Chairman, most of the modern industrial and societal products contain spin-off benefits of space technology and it is more and more a quite extensive task to nominate and evaluate them. However, it would be important to distinguish and promote the newer spin-offs of the research and development activity, having as objectives to increase the awareness on the importance of space activities among users and decision-makers and to obtain the necessary support for developing and maintaining the long-term space programmes.
Mr. Chairman, regarding space and society, agenda item 11, the Romanian delegation declares the full agreement with the need of action in promoting education in space science and engineering by both Government and private activities. As space is the widest multidisciplinary area of human activity, at the same time having one of the fastest rates of development, the need of professionals is rapidly growing. If education in space science and technology would not be considered as a primary goal of global space programmes, the lack of scientists and engineers could become a major impediment for future developments. In particular, for the space-faring and developing countries, if the best conditions of training and management of specialized human resources are not ensured at national and regional levels, the local capability, not only to develop, but also to benefit of space technology and applications, will decrease. The polarization of space professionals towards the few space-developed countries could have as a side effect the reduction of the global space market. It is the opinion of my delegation that the Committee should consider appropriate recommendations to the Member States. It could also be important to develop international space missions and projects able to allow the direct participation of countries with lower space technology potential as a mean for global capacity-building.
I would like here to mention the development in common by the Romanian Space Agency and the European Space Agency of a software program dedicated for remote sensing education, starting from the secondary school level. This professional high-level software, developed mainly by experts of ROSA, is intended to offer tools for online electronic education. Capabilities as supervised and unsupervised classification, registration of images, filtering are included. The Romanian Space Agency had already developed a curriculum for a one-year academic term and is offering this course since the fall of 2002 for the Network for Education and Research in Space Science and Technology for Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
Mr. Chairman, my delegation will ask you for taking the floor during the specific items of the agenda. We might be able to be concerned as well.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and distinguished delegates for your attention.
The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from Spanish): Thank you to the distinguished representative of Romania.
Before giving the floor to the next speaker on the list, I would like to announce to you that it is the Chair’s intention to suspend this meeting at 5.30 p.m. this afternoon so that all delegations will have time, suspend not the meeting says the interpreter, but the exchange of views at 5.30 p.m. so that all delegates will have time to comment on the statements that they have heard. I would truly like to begin this practice also during the Subcommittees as well.
So having said that, I now give the floor to the distinguished representative of Japan.
Mr. K. OTA (Japan): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, on behalf of the Japanese delegation, I am honoured to address the forty-sixth session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, COPUOS. Please allow me to express our deepest gratitude and respect for the efforts of Ambassador González, Chairman of this Committee, Mr. Sergio Camacho, the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, and their staff. I would also like to express our utmost appreciation to His Excellency Ambassador Walther Lichem of Austria for his dedicated contribution for the composition of the Bureaux of COPUOS.
Mr. Chairman, since the last session of this Committee, Japan has been involved in a number of important space-related activities and I would like to take this opportunity to present some examples.
I would like to begin with the successful launchings of our space launch vehicle, H-2A, by the National Space Development Agency of Japan, NASDA, last September, December and this March. With the capability to launch a four-ton payload into Geostationary Transfer Orbit, H-2A is Japan’s main launch vehicle. Since its first launch in August 2001, H-2A has been successfully launched five consecutive times.
I feel honoured to report that last month, in May, the Institute for Space and Astronautical Science, ISAS, also successfully launched the Engineering Experimental Satellite, Hayabusa, by using M-V launch vehicle number 5. Hayabusa, which stands for falcon in English, is schedule to land on an asteroid to collect sample materials from the surface and return back to Earth in 2007. In addition, I am pleased to announce that the Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System, USERS we call it, which was launched by H-2A, successfully re-entered orbit at the end of May and was retrieved.
As for the Standard Type H-2A launch vehicle, NASDA has now been transferring its technology to private companies. This is aimed first at clarifying manufacturing responsibilities, second at enhancing manufacturing quality, and the third, at strengthening its international competitiveness. This technological transfer to the private sector is to be completed by the year 2005 and we believe that this transfer process will enhance the reliability of the H-2A launch vehicle, reduce its cost and we hope it will be something as a contribution in the end to mankind’s space development and utilization.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to touch upon the subject of our new space organization. In August 2001, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology decided to merge Japan’s three major space-related organizations into one core organization. The law to establish the new space organization, which unites the National Space Development Agency of Japan, NASDA, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, ISAS, and the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan, NAL, was passed last December and the organization will be formally founded on 1 October 2003. The official name of the organization in English is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. Mr. Chairman and our colleagues, please remember our new name, JAXA.
JAXA will bring together space and aeronautic technologies amassed by the original three organizations, improve efficiency and further Japan’s space development. Currently, the Space Activities Commission, SAC, is drawing up Japan’s long-term strategy for space development and utilization which also define the role JAXA is going to play. Promoting international cooperation is surely one of the most important tasks for JAXA. We are confident that working in cooperation with other countries and organizations, the new agency JAXA will produce many positive achievements in the fields of space development and utilization.
Mr. Chairman, we have also been promoting international cooperation in various fields. For example, in the field of Earth observation, Japan is actively implementing activities in cooperation with other countries within the framework of the Committee for Earth Observation Satellites, CEOS, and is promoting the Integrated Global Observation Strategy, IGOS. Moreover, we launched our second Advanced Earth Observation Satellite, ADEOS-II, with sensors partially made in the United States and France. The satellite is named Midori-2, which means Green-2 in English.
In the field of space science, as I mentioned earlier, we successfully launched the Engineering Experimental Satellite last May.
And with regard to the utilization of the space environment, Japan will contribute to the ISS programme by developing its indispensable part, that is the Japanese Experimental Module, JEM, nicknamed Kibo or in English, Hope. We also support the ISS program in close cooperation and coordination with participating parties.
As for COPUOS, Japan has been serving as the Chair of the Action Team for UNISPACE III, item number 17, to enhance capacity-building through the development of human and budgetary resources. We hope that working together with countries and organizations participating in COPUOS, we can contribute to the education and training of the next generation in the field of space development and utilization and space science. We also promote international cooperation for the peaceful uses of outer space through the Scientific and Technical and Legal Subcommittee activities.
Mr. Chairman, space is the common frontier for mankind and as such offers infinite possibilities. We should look beyond our national borders to help bring the benefits derived from space activities, not only to the people who live in the countries engaged in space activities, but all mankind. Japan is ready to work for the prosperity of mankind and evolution of civilizations by engaging ourselves in international cooperation and in space activities, such as those promoted by the United Nations and this Committee, so that space activities shall be beneficial to all mankind.
Thank you very much for your attention.
The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from Spanish): Thank you to the distinguished representative of Japan.
The next speaker on my list is the distinguished representative of the United States, to whom I now give the floor.
Mr. K. HODGKINS (United States of America): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, let me begin by joining previous speakers in expressing deep appreciation for your willingness to once again preside over this Committee. Under your able leadership, our last session was a real success and we have every reason to believe that the same will be true this year. I would also like to congratulate Dr. Sergio Camacho on his appointment as the new Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs. Dr. Camacho’s work as the Expert on Space Applications was superb and we have every reason to believe that his tenure as Director will be equally successful. The staff of the Office should also be congratulated for another year of outstanding support to the Committee and its Subcommittees.
My delegation would also like to extend a warm welcome to Algeria as a new member of the Committee.
Mr. Chairman, my delegation shares the views of others concerning the exceptional work of Ambassador Lichem of Austria in reaching a consensus concerning the Bureaux of the Committee and its Subcommittees. This was a highly complex and politically sensitive matter but Ambassador Lichem proved to be equal to the task. The Committee owes him a huge debt of gratitude for resolving this issue in a positive way.
Mr. Chairman, the United States, and indeed the world, suffered a great tragedy earlier this year with the loss of the United States Space Shuttle Columbia. The loss of the Columbia is a stark reminder of the difficulties and dangers that remain in humankind’s quest to explore the world beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of sympathy from nations and individuals all over the world. We greatly appreciate the expressions of support, as well as condolences, conveyed to our Government and the families of the crew of Columbia.
The International Space Station remains a high priority for the United States and the international community. The crew of Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu is continuing to operate the Space Station and conduct limited on-board science experiments. Russian Progress vehicles are providing logistics support to the ISS while the Space Shuttle is grounded. NASA is working closely with its Space Station partners on next steps to continue to maintain human presence on the ISS until the Space Shuttle returns to flight.
In spite of this recent tragedy involving the Columbia Space Shuttle, we nonetheless had a number of major accomplishments in the United States space programme since COPUOS last met.
During 2002, the International Space Station hosted three Expedition crews and housed 65 completed or ongoing scientific investigations as it entered its third year of continued human occupancy.
The groundbreaking NASA-sponsored X-Ray astronomy research of Riccardo Giacconi was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physics and the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope continued to revolutionize the field of astronomy.
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft discovered evidence of potentially large quantities of water-ice under the surface of the Red Planet and using the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA scientists, for the first time, determined the composition of the atmosphere of an extra-solar planet.
Two new launch vehicles, Boeing’s Delta IV and Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V, made successful inaugural launches. Developed with the support from both United States industry and the United States Air Force, these launch vehicles represent a new generation of medium- and heavy-lift launchers for both commercial and government payloads.
Towards the end of 2002, after more than 30 years in service, the NASA Pioneer 10 spacecraft lost contact with Earth. Launched on 2 March 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel through the Asteroid Belt and the first to make direct observations and obtain close-up images of Jupiter. Pioneer 20 is now over 7.6 billion miles away.
An important endeavour in 2003 is NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers Missions, or MER. As part of this ambitious programme, NASA plans to launch two Mars Exploration Rovers to Mars in 2003. The first Rover was launched yesterday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a Delta II launch vehicle. The second Rover will follow early this summer, also on a Delta II from Cape Canaveral. These two missions will deliver their Rovers to specific sites on Mars to determine the history of the climate and water on that planet.
A more complete report on United States activities during the year 2001 is available in the document “Aeronautics and Space Report of the President” which has been provided to the Secretariat for distribution to delegations during this session.
The year 2003 is also being celebrated as the Centennial of Flight, with special events throughout the United States and other countries during the year. On 17 December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright completed the world’s first successful powered, heavier-than-air flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, for a 12-second, 120-foot journey. A new industry was born and a new way of life followed closely behind. The Centennial of Flight celebration commemorates this achievement and 100 years of aviation history. In addition to a year-long series of events across the country, we expect to highlight and link key space activities to this celebration of aviation. A brochure describing the celebration and associated events is being distributed to delegations during this session.
Mr. Chairman, my delegation is pleased to announce that the United States will be hosting the Earth Observation Summit on 31 July 2003, in Washington, D.C. The focus of the Summit is to obtain a high-level international political commitment to building a comprehensive, integrated and sustained Earth observing system in order to better understand and address global environment and economic concerns. As a result of the Summit, an Ad Hoc Working Group will be established to develop a 10-year implementation plan that will bring together the combined global observations of terrestrial, ocean, atmospheric and ecological phenomena for multiple applications and sound decision-making for sustainable development. Disaster management is one application specifically undertaken by this body which will greatly benefit from an integrated approach to observations from space.
Once again, our agenda for this session of COPUOS holds the promise of producing useful results on a number of important topics. We are particularly encouraged by the substantial progress that has been made in the work of the UNISPACE III Action Teams and look forward to the Committee’s further consideration of what can be done to implement the recommendations of UNISPACE III. We anticipate that there will be an extremely interesting exchange of views on the spin-off benefits of space and on strengthening the role of COPUOS in promoting international cooperation so as to ensure that outer space is maintained for peaceful purposes.
My delegation is pleased to note that the Committee will be considering again this year an item dealing with space and society. This item was adopted in 2001 on the basis of a proposal by my delegation and Austria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Peru and Turkey. This will be an excellent opportunity to delegations to share information on national and international efforts to demonstrate to the general public how space activities could enrich their daily lives.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, greater recognition by COPUOS of the involvement of the private sector we believe is essential. This was a priority reflected in the organization of UNISPACE III and was key to that Conference’s overall success. I wish to note that we have on our own delegation a representative from the Space Foundation who will make a special presentation concerning space and society next week, and a representative from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics who will present a paper on the role of professional associations in promoting the use of space technologies.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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