Magazine article UN Chronicle

UN Space Committee Notes 1988 Achievements by Nations

Magazine article UN Chronicle

UN Space Committee Notes 1988 Achievements by Nations

Article excerpt

These were among the most significant achievements in outer space in 1988 noted by John Carver of Australia, Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Sub-Committee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which met in New York from 21 February to 3 March.

Mr. Carver also noted several international agreements signed in 1988, including those regarding the Search and Rescue System (SARSAT/ COSPAS) (Canada, France, the Soviet Union and the United States) instrumental in saving some 1,100 lives since it began operations in 1984; between China and Brazil to build and launch two remote sensing satellites; between India and the Soviet Union, on space research over the next decade; among nine European nations, Canada and Japan regarding the Space Station Programme; and between the United States and the Soviet Union, on several ventures including Soviet flights carrying American scientific instruments to Mars.

Mr. Carver recalled that delegates from 120 countries had agreed in mid-1988-at the second session of the World Administrative Radio Conference on the Use of the Geostationary Satellite Orbit and the Planning of the Space Services Utilizing It (WARCORB 88)-on an allotment plan with regulatory provisions for the so-called "expansion bands", which ensure access to orbital positions for all International Telecommunication Union (ITU) member states. Current activities, future plans As part of the Sub-Committee's discussions, countries and organizations described the status of their current space activities and their plans for the future. The United States said it was committed to establishing a self-sustaining human presence beyond earth's orbit and expanding commercial use of space. When completed, the international space station "Freedom" would provide a stepping-stone for human exploration of the solar system. By 1991, the United States and Italy are to demonstrate a tethered satellite system to be used in conjunction with the shuttle. Work was continuing on an orbiting manoeuvring vehicle development programme-a reusable, remotely controlled, free-flying vehicle capable of performing a wide range of in-orbit missions in support of orbiting spacecraft.

By the end of the decade, all major planets and their satellites would have been reconnoitred. The Pioneer-Venus orbiter would explore that planet in 1992; Voyager 2 was to rendezvous with Neptune in August 1989; and Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 continued to study interstellar space. With assistance from scientists from Australia, France and the United Kingdom, the Magellan mission, due for launch by May 1989, would map the surface of Venus. Jupiter and its satellites would be explored by the Galileo mission, beginning in October 1989, with the participation of the Federal Republic of Germany. Mars Observer, due for launch in 1992, would be following up on the Mariner and Viking Mars missions. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was requesting funding for a fly-by of a main belt asteroid and a Saturn orbiter that would also probe Titan.

As a step towards placing in orbit an ecological laboratory, the USSR was to launch a specialized environmental module for earth remote sensing to be docked at the MIR space station in 1991. …

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