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Astronauts in Space

12.04.2016 – On 4 October 1957, the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik I, was launched into outer space, opening the way for space exploration. On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth, introducing a new chapter of human endeavour in outer space.

Valentina Tereshkova become the first woman to orbit the Earth on 16 June 1963, and Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot upon the surface of the Moon on 20 July 1969. For the past decade humanity has maintained a multinational permanent human presence in outer space aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Each year on 12 April, these remarkable achievements are celebrated under the banner of International Day of Human Space Flight

Today reaffirms the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and increasing the well-being of the global population, as well as ensuring the realization of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space, and in the utilisation of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development.

What is the role of space science and technologies in sustainable development?        

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being: Satellite imagery, global navigation satellite systems and geographic information systems make it easier to integrate ecological, environmental and other data to predict the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

SDG 4 - Quality Education: Access to education remains one of our greatest challenges, especially in remote and rural communities. Space-based technologies, such as satellite communications allow educators and students to create virtual classrooms regardless of physical locations.  It allows learners to access web-based course materials on their own schedules and facilitates effective communication between students and teachers.

SDG 15 - Life on Land: Satellite images of the Earth provide essential information for natural resources management and environmental monitoring. Satellite-based information helps monitor and assess climate change, soil degradation, deforestation, vegetation health or pollution on a scale that ground-based instruments never could. It is only through understanding why the environment is changing that the right actions can be taken to preserve the planet's resources.

Space and the SDGs


UNRICs Related Links

· International Day of Human Space Fight


· Sustainable Development Goals 

Photo: Caroline Davies