World Space Week 2020 – taking place from October 4th until October 10th next year– will be focusing its yearly theme on the impact of satellites in our daily lives. That was decided at the recent semiannual meeting of the World Space Week Association board of directors meeting in Washington DC.
“More than sixty years after launching the first human-made satellite, there is no denying that this technology has impacted life for everyone on this planet” says Dennis Stone, president of the association. “From monitoring weather patterns and climate change, to live broadcasting news and events, or simply locating your lost smartphone through GPS technology. One couldn’t imagine life without satellites anymore. The association’s board wants to recognize this by dedicating next year’s World Space Week theme to them”, Mr Stone says. “The commitment made by SES CEO Steve Collar to be honorary chair for World Space Week 2020 will amplify our efforts to make next year’s event another record edition”.
Satellites used to be big and expensive pieces of technology, but an interesting change has taken place in the past years. 10-centimeter (4 inch) cube-shaped satellites called cubesats often piggyback when bigger equipment is launched, thereby drastically reducing launch cost. It is not uncommon nowadays for schools and universities to launch their own cubesats for scientific and educational purposes.
“Access to space has indeed come into reach of a broader public. On top of that, we see several private space companies launching their own mega-constellations of thousands of these smaller satellites. This certainly proves the continuing potential of satellite applications in the decades to come” says Mr Stone.
World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition, and is coordinated by the United Nations with the support of the World Space Week Association (WSWA). It consists of space education and outreach events held by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, museums, and astronomy clubs around the world in a common timeframe. Last year’s edition counted more than 7000 events worldwide.