The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the Government of Austria and the European Space Agency (ESA) are jointly organizing in 2009-2011 the third series of three consecutive symposia to promote the use of space technology and its applications in support of activities to carry out the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa,in 2002.
This symposium is the sixteenth in the series of meetings jointly organised by the Office for Outer Space Affairs, under the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, and by the Government of Austria, the State of Styria and the City of Graz, since 1994. Parts of these meetings were organized as series of three symposia that considered a particular theme. The first series held from 2003 to 2005 focused on water-related issues, while the second series of symposia held from 2006 to 2008 was dedicated to the Earth's atmosphere.
The current series of symposia aims to enhance access to space applications tools for sustainable development through building indigenous institutional capabilities in basic space technology. The Symposium was held in Graz, Austria from 8 to 11 September 2009 and focused on "Small satellite programmes for sustainable development".
Presentations included case studies of successful applications of small satellite technology that provide cost-effective solutions and essential information for planning and implementing programmes or projects related to sustainable development. The Symposium also featured presentations on utility of small satellites for capacity building, on establishing small satellite programmes in the context of policy, planning and implementation, and launching opportunities for small satellites. Hands on activities on mission design were also scheduled in the programme.