For information only - not an official document

16 June 2015

#whyspacematters: UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and NASA launch global social media campaign on space for sustainable development

VIENNA, 16 June - Today the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in collaboration with NASA and astronaut Scott Kelly, launched a global photography competition to highlight the importance of outer space for sustainable development on Earth.

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly is currently on board the International Space Station (ISS) on a unique One-Year Mission, together with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, where he will be setting a single-mission record for a US astronaut. The joint expedition will be a great feat for space exploration and an important step forward for the future of human space flight in research on the effects of living in space for  a long time.

To highlight the role of space-based science and technologies and their applications for sustainable development, UNOOSA are asking the public to submit photos depicting just why space matters to us all in our daily lives. Participants are asked to submit pictures through Instagram using #whyspacematters, and tagging @UNOOSA. Kelly will announce thewinning photo each month by posting it from his Instagram account @StationCDRKelly.

Speaking from the ISS, Scott said: "We learn something every time we go to space. And the International Space Station is one of the world's greatest laboratories - where we are helping with advances in medicine, biology, chemistry and materials sciences. It is the pursuit of these advances off the Earth that help improve lives on Earth. And that is why I am so committed to space exploration and embarking on this year-long mission. I look forward to seeing the images from people around the world on how space technology has impacted them where they live."

UNOOSA have given examples of themes that can be used in photographs, such as "space for developing economies", "environment and climate change", "disaster risk reduction", and so on. UNOOSA Director, Simonetta Di Pippo, said it is "an honour to have Scott Kelly share his experience in space with the United Nations. This campaign will help to promote the use of space science and technologies in such areas as disaster risk reduction, tracking the effects of climate change and in the equality of access to education and telemedicine."

For more information on the campaign, visit


The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. UNOOSA serves as the secretariat for the General Assembly's only committee dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space: the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). UNOOSA is also responsible for implementing the Secretary-General's responsibilities under international space law and maintaining the United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space. UNOOSA runs the UN Programme on Space Applications, offering international workshops, training courses and pilot projects on topics that include remote sensing, satellite navigation, satellite meteorology, tele-education and basic space sciences for the benefit of developing nations. It also manages the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) and is the current secretariat of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems(ICG).

UNOOSA is located at the United Nations Office at Vienna, Austria.

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For more information please contact:

Sinead Harvey
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-8718
Email: sinead.harvey[at]

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