Status Report

Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) Statement for COPUOS

By SpaceRef Editor
June 22, 2007
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Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) Statement for COPUOS

Submitted by officer on 17 June, 2007 – 10:09.

Thank You Mr. Chairman. We are pleased to see you in the Chairman position again and we are looking forward to work with you. The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) is a voluntary body representing youth and young space professionals to the United Nations, States, and space agencies. The SGAC has been given an opportunity to provide the perspective of the space generation – students and young space professionals from around the world – to the process of producing a vision for the next 50 years of space exploration.

This statement outlines the response of students and young space professionals, coordinated by SGAC. It follows consultation of the SGAC global community through a series of meetings, online discussions and an online survey. It builds on input made during a strong history of youth space activism in space policy making, starting with Project Space Vision (ESTEC, 1995), Vision 2020 (ISU Summer Session, 1995) and the ESA long-term strategy consultation (1996), right through to the SGAC contribution to the Space Policy Summit in Houston 2002, to the UN/ESA/Austria workshops during in 2001-3, the European Space Policy Green Paper and the NASA Next Generation Exploration Congress 2006 for contributions to NASA Global Exploration Strategy document, to give a few examples. Given the recent strength of the SGAC network, born from the UNISPACE III conference in Vienna in 1999, there has been a wide and dynamic response throughout the space youth network in the world. The result are these recommendations:

  • Attention to the sustained exploration of the Moon: There was an overwhelming response in favour of exploring the Moon using it as a testbed for exploration of other solar system bodies, development of a permanent moon base/s, and development of a cis-lunar economy by extraction of different resources in order to make exploration cost effective. A large majority of the responses noted that the first priority of resource use on the Moon, should remain with providing with means to sustain life-supplies as well as well being of the lunar explorers.
  • Furthering exploration of the solar system: Sustained exploration of the Moon as well as continual human presence in near Earth orbit should be used to yield new and improved technologies that can help foster exploration of the planetary bodies further afield. When asked of which technologies should be given the highest priorities, majority (49%) felt that life support systems that work longer and more efficiently would be beneficial for Mars Exploration. There is also a strong mandate for exploring Mars in support of extending science research to allow us to better understand our existence in a three body system
  • Maintaining human presence in the near earth space: There is a strong support for completion of the International Space Station prior to a reassessment in order to maximize its use. However, it seems that a large amount of the respondents were not convinced that this would happen as 54% of them felt that there is a need for a new station to be built cooperatively by governments and private industry. This human outpost can be used as a docking station for further missions (38%), to maximize science benefits and cost effectively carry out exploration (34%) and to pay more attention to safety and reliability
  • Space Governance: Space efforts need to be led by all nations collectively including countries that are space fairing and are under the umbrella of international organizations such as the United Nations. Amongst most significant revisions to the outer space treaty, there need to be inclusions for registering defense related missions in order to reduce the secrecy and security threats that still surround business within the space environment. It was also noted that important revisions for the OST are needed in particular those pertaining to the destinations of near term exploration such as cis-lunar, moon surface and Mars under this new governance.
  • There was a strong support for internationally cooperative efforts for space exploration and to help humanity benefit from the coordination of research efforts from all countries. In conclusion, we believe the ideas of young people should be heard in the consultation process, since we represent the future of the space industry. Our recommendations combine the idealism and vision of young people with the realism gained from our first steps within the space sector during our studies and employment. As a link to the next generation, we provide proposals aimed at helping to curb falling numbers of students within science and engineering in tertiary level education. We have provided a framework of recommendations that we believe can enable space to best be used to benefit humankind.

Last but not least, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Sergio Camacho for his active involvement in youth space activities around the world. We are convinced that without his support and guidance Space Generation would not be the strong organization that it is today. We would like to stress that that we do not make this statement because t is an appropriate thing to do but because we are deeply honored to call such distinguished person as Dr. Camacho a supporter of the youth space vision. It is very important for young people to have strong and positive role models and Dr. Camacho is perfect example of such! Thank You!

SpaceRef staff editor.