Press Release

Vienna International Centre Hosts Exhibition on Algerian Space Programme

By SpaceRef Editor
April 2, 2004
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VIENNA, 2 April (UN Information Service) — An exhibition on the
Algerian Space Programme was officially inaugurated in the Rotunda of the
Vienna International Centre on 29 March by Taous Feroukhi, Permanent
Representative of Algeria to the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV),
and Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of UNOV. The exhibition is
jointly organized by the Algerian Space Agency and the United Nations
Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA).

“This exhibition, which coincides with the first anniversary of
Algeria’s accession to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
and the setting up of the Algerian Space Agency, gives an overview of the
national space programme aimed at using space technologies to contribute to
its socio-economic development,” said Ambassador Feroukhi at the opening
ceremony. The opening was attended by members of the diplomatic community
and delegates to the forty-third session of the Legal Subcommittee of the
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), currently on at the
Vienna International Centre (VIC). Ms. Feroukhi also highlighted the
benefits drawn from international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer
space. She commended the role played by COPUOS and OOSA in raising
awareness of the benefits of space science and technology, and in the
development of national space legislation.

Emphasizing that the “use of space technology is no longer an esoteric
activity that only the developed countries can afford”, Mr. Costa
highlighted the importance of satellite imagery for Algeria in monitoring
agricultural land use, using its natural resources in a sustainable manner,
planning urban and rural development, monitoring industrial and marine
pollution and supporting cartography for infrastructure such as road and
rail networks.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a half-scale model of AlSat-1,
Algeria’s first satellite. Built by Algerian scientists and engineers in
co-operation with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of the United
Kingdom, AlSat-1 was launched in 2002 as part of the Disaster Monitoring
Constellation, which currently includes four satellites from four
countries, namely, Algeria, Nigeria, Turkey and the United Kingdom, in the
first constellation of satellites tasked to monitor disasters globally.
Combined, the satellites will be able to monitor disaster areas on a daily
basis – a capability that is crucial for early warning, assessment of
damage and for emergency response operations, all of which result in saving
lives and property. With a mass of almost 90 kilograms, AlSat-1 will also
be used by Algeria to support several of its economic and social
development activities, and for education and capacity building in the
field of remote sensing. The Algerian National Institute for Plant
Protection recently requested AlSat-1 images for an anti-locust campaign.
The satellite imagery will also be used for the regional monitoring of the
accelerating desertification that is occurring on the boundaries of the
Sahara desert.

The exhibition also includes posters highlighting some of the important
present and future benefits of space technology in Algeria, in the fields
of telecommunication, Earth observation, education, training and research.

“Although Algeria is the newest member of the Committee [on the Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space], it has been very active in the work of the Committee
and its two Subcommittees,” noted Sergio Marchisio, Chairman of the Legal
Subcommittee of COPUOS. Algeria was appointed as the 65th member of COPUOS
in 2002, and has ratified the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and has signed the
1972 Liability Convention.

At the end of the exhibition, which will be on display until 8 April
2004, the model of AlSat-1 will be gifted to the United Nations Office at
Vienna by the Algerian Space Agency. The exhibition can be viewed as part
of a guided tour of the VIC.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the
decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses
of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for
promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,
and assisting developing countries in using space science technology.
Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at

United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS)
P.O.Box 500, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: (+43-1) 26060 4666, FAX: (+43-1) 26060 5899

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SpaceRef staff editor.