4 October: World Space Week and its Significance

OV Digital Desk
17 Min Read
World Space Week 2022

The World Space Week is the world’s largest space event each year. The observation begins on 4 October and concludes on 10 October.

World Space Week is coordinated by the United Nations with the support of the World Space Week Association (WSWA). The WSWA leads a global team of National Coordinators, who promote the celebration of World Space Week within their own countries.

Through this event, the week helps develop the workforce of tomorrow by inspiring students; demonstrating visible public support for the space program; educating the public about space activities; and fostering international cooperation in space outreach and education.

Another similar thematic day is International Day of Human Space Flight which is observed on 12 April. International Asteroid Day is observed on 30 June. International Moon Day is observed on 20 July.

The theme of World Space Week 2022

The World Space Week is the world’s largest space event each year. The observation begins on 4 October and concludes on 10 October. Through this event, the week helps develop the workforce of tomorrow by inspiring students.

The World Space Week 2022 theme is “Space and Sustainability” focusing on achieving sustainability in space and achieving sustainability from space. A major inspiration for the theme is the relationship between sustainability in space and how humanity uses space, especially the orbital area surrounding the Earth. Here is theme of World Space Week in previous years:

Theme of World Space Week 2021 – Women in Space
Theme of World Space Week 2020 – Satellites Improve Life
Theme of World Space Week 2019 – The Moon:  Gateway to the Stars
Theme of World Space Week 2018 – Space Unites the World
Theme of World Space Week 2017 – Exploring New Worlds in Space
Theme of World Space Week 2016 – Remote Sensing – Enabling our Future
Theme of World Space Week 2015 – Discovery
Theme of World Space Week 2014 – Space: Guiding Your Way
Theme of World Space Week 2013 – Exploring Mars – Discovering Earth
Theme of World Space Week 2012 – Space for Human Safety and Security
Theme of World Space Week 2011 – 50 Years of Human Spaceflight
Theme of World Space Week 2010 – Mysteries of the Cosmos

Quick Facts about Earth’s space

Here are quick facts about space:

  • The first artificial satellite “Sputnik-1” is launched into Earth orbit by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on 4 October 1957, heralding a new era.
  • The Sun’s Mass Takes Up 99.86% Of the Solar System.
  • One Million Earths Can Fit Inside the Sun
  • One Day on Venus Is Longer Than One Year.
  • The Hottest Planet in Our Solar System Is 450° C.
  • Space junk is any human-made object orbiting Earth that no longer serves a useful purpose. Scientists estimate there are about 500,000 pieces of space junk today, including fragments from rockets and satellites, and everyday items like spanners dropped during construction of the International Space Station!
  • An asteroid about the size of a car enters Earth’s atmosphere roughly once a year – but it burns up before it reaches us.

History of World Space Week

On 4 October 1957, the launch into outer space of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, opened the way for space exploration. A decade later, on 10 October 1967, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies entered into force.

From the very beginning of the Space Age, the United Nations recognized that outer space added a new dimension to humanity’s existence. The United Nations family strives continuously to utilize the unique benefits of outer space for the betterment of all humankind.

Recognizing the common interest of humankind in outer space and seeking to answer questions on how outer space can help benefit the people’s of Earth, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution related to outer space, resolution 1348 (XIII) entitled “Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space”.

The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year from October 4-10.

Timeline of the Exploration and Peaceful Use of Outer Space
  • OCTOBER 4, 1957: The first artificial satellite “Sputnik-1” is launched into Earth orbit by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, heralding a new era.
  • NOVEMBER 3, 1957: Laika” the dog orbits the Earth demonstrating that living beings can survive a rocket launch into outer space.
  • DECEMBER 13, 1958: Recognizing the common interest of humankind in outer space and seeking to answer questions on how outer space can help benefit the people’s of Earth, the General Asssembly adopts its first resolution related to outer space, resolution 1348 (XIII) entitled “Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space”.
  • DECEMBER 13, 1958: The 18-member Ad Hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is established to discuss the scientific and legal aspects of the exploration and use of outer space.
  • JANUARY 2, 1959: Launched by the Soviet Union on 2 January 1959, Luna 1, also known as the “First Cosmic Rocket,” became the first spacecraft to leave geocentric orbit and enter heliocentric orbit. In addition, Luna 1 provided the first ever direct observations and measurements of solar winds.
  • MAY 6, 1959: The first step toward the peaceful, orderly and international development of outer space begins with the convening at UN Headquarters of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  • OCTOBER 7, 1959: Soviet space probe “Luna-3″ takes the first pictures of the never-before-seen far side of the Moon.
  • APRIL 1, 1960: The first Earth observation satellite TIROS-1 beams back pictures of Earth providing meteorologists with a powerful new tool for weather forecasting.
  • APRIL 12, 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbits the Earth in “Vostok 1” becoming the world’s first space explorer.
  • SEPTEMBER 25, 1961: President Kennedy spoke on the extension of the rule of law to Outer Space.
  • JULY 10, 1962: Telstar-1, a satellite built by American, British and French engineers, launches into low Earth orbit and broadcasts radio and television signals across the Atlantic.
  • JUNE 16, 1963: Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova blasts off into Earth orbit aboard “Vostok 6” on a three-day space mission becoming the first woman in outer space.
  • AUGUST 19, 1964: Telecommunications satellite Syncom-3 successfully launches into the geostationary satellite orbit appearing to be fixed in space above the Eqauator. It will be used to transmit live television coverage of the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan to the United States.
  • MARCH 18, 1965: Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov performs the first ever “spacewalk”. Leonov spends twelve minutes in the harsh vacuum of space before joining his crewmate Pavel Belyayev in the “Voskhod 2” spacecraft.
  • OCTOBER 7, 1965: First American spacewalker Ed White visits the United Nations.
  • FEBRUARY 3, 1966: Soviet probe “Luna-9” successfully lands on the Moon in the Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum) and transmits pictures of the lunar surface back to Earth
  • MARCH 1, 1966: Venera 3 reaches Venus on March 1, 1966, making it the first spacecraft to impact another planet.
  • APRIL 23, 1967: Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov becomes the first space explorer to die during a space mission when the parachute system of his “Soyuz 1” spacecraft failed during re-entry.
  • DECEMBER 24, 1968: The crew of American space mission “Apollo 8” are the first humans to witness “Earthrise”.
  • JANUARY 16, 1969: On 16 January 1969, the Soviet Union’s Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 docked, exchanged two crew members and formed what was termed ”the world’s first space station”. It was the first-ever docking of two manned spacecraft of any nation, and the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another of any nation.
  • JULY 21, 1969: American astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to set foot upon a celestial body. Joined by Edwin Aldrin Jr., the Apollo 11 crew spent two and a half hours exploring the lunar surface.
  • NOVEMBER 17, 1970: Soviet robotic lander Luna 17 delivered the Lunokhod 1 Rover in November 1970 to the Moon. Lunokhod 1 was the first remote-controlled robot “rover” to freely move across the surface of an astronomical object beyond the Earth.
  • DECEMBER 15, 1970: Venera 7 was the first probe to successfully land on another planet and transmit data from there back to Earth.
  • APRIL 19, 1971: The first space station, Salut 1 (DOS-1) was launched on April 19, 1971 by the Soviet Union. It hosted cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Vokov, and Viktor Patsayev from 6 to 29 June 1971. In October 1971, it was placed into a lower orbit, which eventually resulted in its re-entry and plunge into the Pacific Ocean.
  • MARCH 3, 1972: The first man-made space probe to reach Jupiter and the outer parts of our solar system.
  • MAY 30, 1974: The world’s first educational satellite (USA & India)” and world’s first experimental Direct Broadcast Satellite
  • JULY 15, 1975: The first American-Russian cooperation in space flight. The Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft docked on July 17, 1975, and astronauts were able to change spacecraft, testing the compatibility of rendezvous and docking systems. The nine-day Apollo-Soyuz mission brought together two former spaceflight rivals, the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • ULY 20, 1976: Viking-1 was the first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars and to send first detailed pictures from the surface of the red planet.
  • FEBRUARY 22, 1978: Navstar-1 is the first satellite to be launched within the Global Positioning System (GPS) development programme.
  • APRIL 12, 1981: Until its disintegration during reentry in Earth’s atmosphere, killing all 7 members of the crew, Space Shuttle Columbia completed 27 missions in over 22 years of service.
  • JUNE 29, 1982: The satellite-based search and rescue system is renowned for the detection and location of emergency light signals launched from ships, aircrafts or persons in an emergency situation.
  • DECEMBER 7, 1995: Named after Galileo Galilei, the first natural scientist who described the Jupiter moons (Galilean moons), the NASA robotic spacecraft studied Jupiter and its planets and various other bodies in our Solar System.
  • JULY 4, 1997: Sojourner meaning “traveler” and named after abolitionist and women’s right activist Sojourner Truth, the rover explored Mars for around three months.
  • NOVEMBER 20, 1998: Zarya, launched by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, was the first launched module of the International Space Station, which is the largest international cooperation effort in space. By 2015, when ISS marked 15 years of continuous human presence in space, at least 1,500 scientific studies have been carried out in space, and the results are being used back here on Earth by the 69 countries that have taken part.
  • FEBRUARY 14, 2000: The NASA probe Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous was initially launched to explore asteroid Eros.
  • NOVEMBER 2, 2000: The ISS is the largest international cooperation effort in space and represents a collaboration between NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The first crew to inhabit the space station launched on a Soyuz spacecraft on 31 October 2000.
  • JANUARY 4, 2001: The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Primary among the mission’s scientific goals is to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars.
  • APRIL 28, 2001: American businessman Dennis Tito became the world’s first orbital space tourist. Tito launched on 28 April 2001 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on his historic flight to the International Space Station, where he spent eight days as a crew member.
  • UNE 11, 2002: The Moon rock, which is displayed at the Space Exhibit in the Vienna International Centre is from the Apollo 15 lunar mission from 1971. The rock weighs 160 grams and can be seen as part of the VIC Guided Tours.
  • MAY 19, 2004: Yang Liwei became China’s first astronaut, launched into space on 15 October 2003 aboard Shenzhou 5 spacecraft, making China the third country to independently send astronauts into space. Liwei presented the UN flag flown aboard Shenzhou 5 spacecraft to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on 19 May 2004 at the UN headquarters in New York.
  • JUNE 21, 2004: The experimental aircraft with rocket boost was designed and produced by Scaled Composites for private, commercial and manned suborbital space flights until a height of around 100 kilometers.
  • JUNE 30, 2004: The unmanned spacecraft was sent and designed to observe planet Saturn. It was used to research the planet and its natural satellites as well as to observe Jupiter and the heliosphere. The spacecraft consisted of two parts: Cassini to orbit Saturn and Huygens which landed on Titan.
  • MARCH 18, 2011: MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) after three flybys of Mercury became the first spacecraft ever to orbit that planet. Key scientific questions regarding Mercury’s environment and its characteristics are examined by the probe.
  • APRIL 12, 2011: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight, by Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961,  the General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/65/271 declared 12 April as the International Day of Human Space Flight.
  • NOVEMBER 12, 2014: Named after the Rosetta Stone, providing the key to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Rosetta Space Mission seeks to see if comet C-G can provide a key to deciphering the origins of the solar system and/or life on Earth.


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