World Space Week 2023 Starts October 4th

By James Careless
October 2, 2023
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World Space Week 2023 Starts October 4th
World Space Week 2023.
Image credit: World Space Week Association.

Mark it on your calendars: World Space Week 2023 starts on October 4, 2023.

According to the World Space Week Association (WSWA), which exists to promote this event, World Space Week (WSW) is a global celebration of space science and technology, and their contribution to making life better for humans. The event began in 1999, when the United Nations General Assembly declared that World Space Week will be held annually from October 4 to 10.

The actual celebration of World Space Week is managed by the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). 

The dates that start and finish World Space Week each year were chosen for very specific reasons.

October 4, 1957, was the day that the Soviet Union (now succeeded by Russia) launched Sputnik 1, the first human-made Earth satellite launched in orbit. The launch of Sputnik 1 galvanized the United States into action, and the first Space Race was born.

Meanwhile, October 10, 1967, is the date that the United Nations ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’ finished its signing process and came into force.

Under the ‘Outer Space Treaty,’ nuclear weapons are not allowed “in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner,” according to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. “The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind; (and) outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States.” UNOOSA currently promotes the peaceful uses of outer space by Earth-based nations, on the UN’s behalf.

This year’s World Space Week activities consist of space education and outreach events, hosted by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, museums, astronomy clubs, and space enthusiasts around the world. A complete country-by-country list of WSW events can be found here.

The theme of World Space Week 2023 is Space and Entrepreneurship. “The 2023 theme recognizes the growing significance of the commercial space industry in space, and the increasing opportunities for space entrepreneurship and new benefits of space developed by space entrepreneurs,” says the World Space Week website. “With miniaturization and decreasing launch costs, it is now possible for a small business to build and launch a small satellite, and for entrepreneurs to create valuable new data products for governments and industry. World Space Week 2023 will inspire students worldwide to study STEM and business, and offer space companies the opportunity to recruit the workforce needed for the expanding commercial space industry. It will also serve as a forum for important discussions on the transition of Low Earth Orbit to a more entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

James Careless

James Careless is an award-winning satellite communications writer. He has covered the industry since the 1990s.