United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

United Nations Programme on Space Applications

Programme's news

United Nations/Russian Federation Workshop on the Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems
Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation, 18-22 May 2015



6 February 2015 - The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in cooperation with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Joint Stock Company as part of the activities of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications is organizing a five-day workshop on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and its applications. The Workshop will take place in Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation, from 18 to 22 May 2015. The Workshop is co-sponsored by the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG). The magazine "Coordinates" on positioning, navigation and beyond is the media partner for this workshop. Visit them online at: http://mycoordinates.org.

The Workshop will address the use of GNSS for various applications that can provide sustainable social and economic benefits, in particular for developing countries. Current and planned projects that use GNSS technology, including the GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS) of the Russian Federation, for both practical applications and scientific explorations will be presented. Cooperative efforts and international partnerships for capacity-building, training and research, including the activities of the GLONASS learning centre will also be presented.

The deadline for submission of applications is 8 MARCH 2015. Detailed information about the Workshop is available at:

UN/Italy Long-term Fellowship Programme on GNSS and Related Applications


15 April 2014 - The Programme on Space Applications is now accepting applications for the one-year Master in Navigation and Related Applications (MNA) Programme, which is a long-term fellowship programme established by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Italy, and offered by Politecnico di Torino (School of Information Technologies) and Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), with the collaboration of Istituto Elettrotecnico Nazionale Galileo Ferraris (IEN), Turin, Italy, for candidates from developing countries and countries with economy in transition.

The programme starts in October 2014 and will last for 12 months including a period ranging from 3 to 4 months for hands-on pilot project (internship). The fellowsip programme will provide extensive research and education opportunities in GNSS and related applications, as well as will lead the participants to the Master degree in this field.

Italian host institutions will cover tuition fee in full for 4 selected participants, as well as will provide them with financial support for living expences. International round trip air travel between the participant's country and Turin, Italy may be provided by the UNOOSA.

The deadline for application is 2 June 2014. Detailed information and application materials are available at the fellowship's webpage: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/SAP/gnss/fellowships.html

Calls for Application - Human Space Technology Initiative Microgravity Education and Research

9 January 2014 - The Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI) is carrying out activities aimed at contributing to promoting space education and research under microgravity conditions, particularly for enhancing capacity-building efforts in developing countries. Applications for the following activities are open:

Drop Tower Experiment Series (DropTES)
Heads of research groups, university professors with a team of Bachelor, Master and/or PhD students from non-space faring countries are now invited to submit their proposals on microgravity experiments. DropTES is a new fellowship programme in which students can learn and study microgravity science by performing experiments in the Bremen Drop Tower in Germany. The facility can enable short microgravity experiments to be performed in various scientific fields, such as fluid physics, combustion, thermodynamics, materials science and biotechnology. Extended deadline for applications submission is 30 April 2014.

The Zero-Gravity Instrument Project (ZGIP)
Discover the effects of gravity on plants and other samples! The Project provides researchers and students with the opportunity to perform experiments under simulated microgravity conditions. In this project, a fixed number of clinostats (microgravity simulation instruments) are distributed to qualified schools and universities to conduct their proposed experiments in their own Earth laboratories. For educators, the Teacher's Guide on Plant Experiments in Microgravity (ST/SPACE/63) is electronically available from the project webpage. Application for its 2nd Cycle (2014-16) is open until 30 April 2014.

More opportunities for students and young professionals to attend the UN/IAF Workshop and IAC in Toronto, Canada


6 January 2014 - Since 1991, the UN Programme on Space Applications and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) have been working jointly on organizing a series of annual international workshops on space science and technology applications for benefit of developing countries. The theme of the 24-th workshop in the series is "Space Technology for Socio-Economic Benefits", and it will take place from 26 to 28 September 2014 in Toronto, Canada, in conjunction with the 65-th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), that also will be held in Toronto from 29 September to 3 October 2014.

Each year co-organizers of the workshop provide a number of qualified applicants from developing countries with financial support needed to attend the workshop and the Congress. In addition to this assistance, since 2009 IAF carries out a Grants Programme that supports participation of students and young professionals in IAC, the UN/IAF workshop and other events associated with the Congress. The 2014 Emerging Space Leaders Grant Programme now is open to individuals between the age of 21 and 35, who are interested in pursuing careers involving the development, application and use of space systems, space science research, the policy, legal, social and cultural aspects of space activities, international cooperation on space programs and other similar subjects, and who would not otherwise be able to attend the Congress due to financial reasons.

Up to twelve students and young professionals will be selected by the IAF to participate in the 2014 programme. The announcement of grant opportunities for 2014 and detailed information on application requirements are available on the IAF website: http://www.iafastro.com/index.php/articles/emerging-space-leader-grants-announcement

Eighth meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite System (ICG)


10 December 2013 - The international Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 9 to 14 November 2013, to continue reviewing and discussing developments in global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and to allow ICG members, associate members and observers to address recent developments in their organizations and associations with regard to GNSS services and applications. ICG also addressed GNSS science and innovative technology applications and future commercial applications. The Meeting was hosted by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) on behalf of the Government of Dubai.

The ICG working groups focused on the following issues: compatibility and interoperability; enhancement of the performance of GNSS services; information dissemination and capacity building; and reference frames, timing and applications. The meetings agendas and the presentations made at the ICG plenary sessions, its Providers' Forum and the ICG Working Groups are available on the ICG Information Portal at: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/SAP/gnss/icg/meetings.html. ICG accepted the invitation of the European Union to host the ninth meeting of ICG in Prague, Czech Republic, from 10 to 14 November 2014.

The ICG had been established by the United Nations General Assembly as a forum to promote cooperation on matters of mutual interest to its members related to civil satellite-based positioning, navigation, timing and value-added services, as well as cooperation on the compatibility and interoperability of global navigation satellite systems, and to promote their use to support sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. The Office for Outer Space Affairs acts as the Executive Secretariat for the ICG and the Providers' Forum.

International workshop on socio-economic benefits of space technology was held in Belarus

27 November 2013 - The United Nations/Belarus Workshop on Space Technology Applications for Socio-Economic Benefits, jointly organized by the UN Programme on Space Applications and the Belarusian State University (BSU), was held from 11 to 15 November 2013 in Minsk, Belarus. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Secure World Foundation (SWF), and it was hosted by BSU on behalf of the Government of Belarus.

The meeting was the fourth event in the series of workshops organized by the Programme on Space Applications for promoting the use of space technology and its applications for socioeconomic benefits, primarily in developing countries. The objectives of the workshop were: (a) to share information on research and applications studies that have demonstrated the use of space technology for societal benefit; (b) to address principles and mechanisms for enhancing national, regional, and international cooperation in space technology development and applications; (c) to demonstrate the benefits of various space technology applications for priorities established by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20); and (d) to promote the integration of space solutions into national development agendas, including building institutional and governance frameworks.

The programme of the workshop included 8 technical sessions which discussed application of space technology in such areas as land use, environmental monitoring and natural resource management, food and water security, GNSS and satellite communications, development of space systems and equipment, disaster management and emergency response, national socio-economic development programmes, capacity-building and regional and international cooperation. Technical sessions were followed by meetings of two Working Groups which were established to prepare observations and recommendations of the workshop, as well as to develop proposals for follow up projects and to examine possible partnerships that could be launched.

International Workshop on Human Space Technology was held in Beijing

16 October 2013 - The Office for Outer Space Affairs, within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications and as part of its Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI), organized the United Nations/China Workshop on Human Space Technology in Beijing, China from 16 to 20 September 2013. The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) co-organized and hosted the Workshop on behalf of the Government of China, and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) also co-organized the five-day programme.

Over 150 space experts from 33 different countries and regions around the world gathered to discuss the future development of human space exploration. Having reviewed 41 technical reports, the participants took part in the arranged working group sessions and shared their views on the following areas: microgravity science, capacity building and education, and human space exploration and international cooperation. An outreach activity called the International Astronauts Forum, as well as a technical tour of visiting space facilities, including Beijing Space Centre and the China Academy of Space Technology, were also held as the associated activities of the Workshop.

The Workshop programme and presentation materials given by participants are available at the UN-PSA HSTI webpage: http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/oosa/en/SAP/hsti/china2013.html

UN/Croatia Workshop on the Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems

21 May 2013 - The Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications organized the United Nations/Croatia Workshop on the Applications of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in Baška, Krk Island from 21 to 25 April 2013. The Faculty of Maritime Studies of the University of Rijeka hosted the Workshop on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia The workshop was co-sponsored by the United States of America through the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG).

Workshop participants discussed how GNSS-enabling technology could strengthen a network of national reference stations and promote the interoperability of navigation, positioning and timing systems through the exchange of information and the scaling-up of capacities among countries in the region. It was also noted that the development and utilization of the GNSS vulnerabilities and risk mitigation techniques, related to both space weather and artificially induced vulnerabilities and risks, should be considered and that international cooperation in identification and mitigation of GNSS vulnerabilities and risks might be the most effective approach. The participants recognised that knowledge sharing and the establishment of partnerships would be a step forward in developing regional and national pilot projects on the applications of GNSS through strengthening many sectors, such as aviation, maritime and land transportation, mapping and surveying, environmental monitoring and natural resources management. The Faculty of Maritime Studies of the University of Rijeka has offered to take on a coordinating role in the region and establish research facilities for continuous monitoring of both space weather and GNSS performance in order to allow international cooperation through the exchange of observations, visiting researchers, visiting lecturers, visiting students and collaborative field work.

One-day tutorials were organized by the Faculty of Maritime Studies of the University of Rijeka. Topics covered in these tutorials included: Current and planned GNSS and satellite-based augmentation systems; GNSS positioning error budget; Space weather effects on GNSS performance and operation. The laboratory work on "Practical GNSS performance analysis using the open source tool" in the context of tutorials added value to understanding GNSS signals, codes, and data analysis. The Workshop programme, presentations, and the book of abstracts are available at: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/SAP/gnss/index.html

International meeting on the use of space technologies for food and water security took place in Pakistan

2 May 2013 - The United Nations/Pakistan International Workshop on Integrated Use of Space Technologies for Food and Water Security, jointly organized by the UN Programme on Space Applications and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and cosponsored by the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Science and Technology (ISNET), was held from 11 to 15 March 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The meeting was hosted by SUPARCO on behalf of the Government of Pakistan.

The workshop discussed space technologies, applications, information and services that contribute into sustainable economic and social development programmes supporting agricultural and water security, primarily in developing countries, with the following primary objectives: (i) to enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying and managing water resources, and addressing food security concerns; (ii) to examine low-cost space-related technologies and information resources available for addressing water- and food security needs in developing countries; (iii) to strengthen international and regional cooperation in this area; (iv) to increase awareness among decision-makers and research and academic community of space technology applications for addressing water- and food-related issues, primarily in developing countries; and (v) to promote educational and public awareness initiatives in the area of water- and food security, as well as to contribute to capacity building process in this area.

The programme of the Workshop included 4 technical sessions and 2 special sessions - "Mountains Under Review - Experience Exchange on Remote Sensing-based Monitoring of Natural Resources in Mountain Regions" (organized in cooperation with UNEP) and "SERVIR-Himalaya - Enhancing Use of Earth Observation and Geospatial Technologies in the HKH Region" (organized in cooperation with ICIMOD). Overall, 39 oral presentations were delivered at the technical and special sessions, and 27 papers were submitted for a poster session. Technical sessions were followed by meetings of three Working Groups which were established to prepare observations and recommendations of the Workshop, as well as to develop proposals for follow up projects and to examine possible partnerships that could be launched.

Announcement of opportunity for zero-gravity instrument project

4 Feberuary 2013 - UNOOSA is pleased to announce the opportunity for the Zero-Gravity Instrument Project (ZGIP) as part of the Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI) under the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.

ZGIP is aimed at contributing to the promotion of space education and research in microgravity around the world, particularly for the enhancement of relevant capacity-building activities in developing countries. Under this Project, a fixed number of microgravity simulation instruments called Clinostats will be distributed free of charge to qualified schools, universities, research centers and institutes around the world.

ZGIP will provide unique opportunities for students and researchers to study the gravitational effects on samples, such as plant seeds and small organisms, in a simulated microgravity condition with hands-on learning in classroom or research activities conducted by each institution.

Detailed information and the Application Form are available on the HSTI webpage at:

Global Navigation Satellite Systems: Education Curriculum and Glossary of GNSS Terms


24 January 2013 - Currently serious efforts are being made worldwide to introduce global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), in terms of science, technology and applications, as a stand-alone discipline in university-level curricula.The GNSS education curriculum was developed by taking into account GNSS course outlines as used at the university level in a number of developing and industrialized countries. This GNSS education curriculum differs from most of those available in literature and on the Internet. The GNSS education curriculum was a unique result of the deliberations of the regional workshops on GNSS applications since 2006.

This curriculum will be made available to the regional centres for space science and technology education, affiliated to the United Nations. The course prerequisite is a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Geomatics, or Software and Computer Engineering. The course consists of nine modules covering specific areas of GNSS (theory, technology and applications). The duration of the course is 36 weeks, followed by one year of pilot-project work in the participant's home country.

The GNSS glossary of terms has been produced as a direct response to the needs of the GNSS user community in the framework of the ICG Providers' Forum workplan.

The GNSS education curriculum is published as the UN document ST/SPACE/59, and it is available through the following link: http://www.unoosa.org/pdf/icg/2013/Ed_GNSS_eBook.pdf


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