Space technology and its wide range of applications contribute essential information and services to many aspects of sustainable development, that is, economic and social development and environmental conservation and protection. Small satellite missions are becoming increasingly important in supporting these roles of space technology, as well as in the advancement of basic space science and technology, notably through capacity building. In 2009, the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, launched the Basic Space Technology Initiative (BSTI) in support of capacity-building for the development of basic space technology.
From 2009 to 2011 a series of three United Nations/Austria/European Space Agency Symposiums on Small Satellite Programmes for Sustainable Development were held in Graz, Austria. Starting from 2012, BSTI is organizing international symposiums on basic space technology in the regions that correspond to the United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Asia.
The first Symposium was held as the United Nations/Japan Nano-Satellite Symposium, hosted by the University of Tokyo and the University Space Engineering Consortium (UNISEC) in Nagoya, Japan, from 10-13 October 2012. The second Symposium was held as the United Nations/United Arab Emirates Symposium on Basic Space Technology, hosted by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 20-23 October 2013. The third Symposium was held as the United Nations/Mexico Symposium on Basic Space Technology hosted by the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE) and the Mexican Space Agency in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, from 20-23 October 2014.
The present and fourth Symposium will be held as the United Nations/South Africa Symposium on Basic Space Technology in Stellenbosch and will focus on the African region. It is organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology and the Stellenbosch University, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of South Africa.
The Symposium objectives will build on the outcomes of the aforementioned BSTI Symposiums held from 2009 to 2013. The relevant symposium reports, containing the objectives, symposium summaries, observations and recommendations made by participants are available from the
BSTI Resources page.
The objectives of the UN/South Africa Symposium will be to:
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) endorsed at its fifty-ninth session a series of seven thematic priorities for UNISPACE+50 (see A/71/20,para.296), which are further described in the Thematic Priorities booklet.
With the main objective of BSTI and the associated series of workshops related to "Capacity-building for the 21st century" (Thematic Priority 7), the UN/South Africa Symposium will review the different initiatives including lessons learnt of past and ongoing activities in the small satellite missions domain. The Symposium objectives reflect this approach, while focusing on capacity-building, it encompasses activities for the legal framework, agriculture, environment and city monitoring to name a few, benefiting other thematic priorities such as:
The discussions at the Conference will inform the preparations towards UNISPACE+50, which will be held in 2018 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 1968. The observations and recommendations of the Conference will contribute to the UNISPACE+50 process and will be brought to the attention of relevant policy- and decision making bodies.
The Symposium programme will be structured around a series of dedicated topical sessions. Presentations will be solicited through a Call for Papers. In addition, renowned experts in the field will be invited to make some of the presentations. The participants will consider specific topics and discuss observations and recommendations for consideration by COPUOS. Appropriate time will be set aside for discussions and for short presentations by the participants on their own relevant activities.
The following topics will be considered in dedicated sessions:
Kindly note that the Symposium organizers may modify the number and themes of sessions of the final programme.
In addition to the sessions described above, there will be panel discussions to share experiences and lessons learned through capacity-building activities in space technology development as well as to promote opportunities for international and regional collaborations among the participants. The sessions will be supplemented by a poster session as well as by an exhibition, demonstrations of relevant software tools, technical visits and practical hands-on exercises.
The co-sponsors will also organize an attractive programme of side-events for all Symposium participants. The detailed Symposium programme will be made available on this website.
The Workshop will be held from 11 to 14 December 2017 in Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Invited participants will receive a formal invitation letter with further information on available accommodation, logistics and other local arrangements prior to the Symposium.
Applicants must have a good working knowledge of English, which will be the official working language of the Symposium.
Symposium participants should be involved in the planning or implementation of space technology development activities in international or national space agencies, governmental or non-governmental organizations, research institutions, industry, universities or other academic institutions. Participants are expected to have obtained university degrees in relevant fields of study or should be enrolled in relevant studies. Professional working experience in one of the fields related to the theme of the Symposium is desirable. Applications from qualified female applicants are particularly encouraged.
Applicants and their nominating organizations are strongly encouraged to find their own sources of sponsorship to participate in the Symposium. However, within the limited financial resources available to the co-sponsors, a number of qualified applicants from developing and emerging economies expressing the need for financial support will be offered financial support to attend the Symposium. This may include the provision of a round-trip air ticket between Cape Town Airport and the applicant's international airport of departure and/or room and board for the duration of the Symposium. En-route and other expenses or any changes made to an air ticket provided by the co-sponsors must be borne by the participants. Selected applicants will be notified in August-September 2017.
Life and major health insurance is the responsibility of each selected participant or his/her nominating institution or government. The co-organizers will not assume any responsibility for life and major health insurance, nor for any expenses related to medical treatment or accidents.
Applications for participating in the Workshop have to be submitted online through this webpage (see top of page).
The completed applications including the signature page with signatures and seals must be received by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs no later than 15 August 2017 from applicants seeking funding support and no later than 15 October 2017 from self-funded applicants. Only complete applications received by these deadlines will be considered.
For questions related to the Workshop programme and participation opportunities, please contact us.
For latest information and updates on the Workshop, it is advised that you frequently visit this webpage.
An industry exhibition will be organized as part of the Symposium.
For details on exhibition opportunities, please contact:
Ms. Leehandi de Witt