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Erklärung anlässlich der Eröffnung der 60. Sitzung des wissenschaftlich-technischen Unterausschusses des VN-Weltraumausschusses (COPUOS)


UNCOPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

60th Session, Vienna/Online, 6-17 February 2023

Statement by Germany on

Agenda item 3: General Exchange of Views

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

we want to thank Mr. Hedman for continuing in his role as Acting Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs until a new Director has been chosen, and we hope that he gets to enjoy his well-deserved retirement very soon.

2022 has been an active and successful year for German space activities. German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer completed his Cosmic Kiss mission at the International Space Station in May last year, during which he carried out thirty-six German and more than a hundred international experiments, ranging from biomedical and materials science experiments to technology and artificial intelligence testing, all of them geared towards improving both the life in space and on Earth. He also shared ten days on the ISS with Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, marking the first time in more than ten years that two Europeans have been at the ISS at the same time.

Germany has also worked actively on supporting sustainable development on Earth through its space activities. We launched a national flagship mission in April called Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program, or EnMAP, a hyperspectral satellite which senses the Earth’s surface at different wavelengths. The satellite can reveal the spectral signatures of materials on the Earth’s surface, which can be applied to various fields such as environmental planning, agriculture, forestry, land use and water management. EnMAP represents a significant contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

2022 also saw the world’s largest conference on space-based Earth observation, the ESA Living Planet Symposium, take place at the former German capitol of Bonn. For one week, 4.700 experts from 74 countries gathered under the theme “Taking the pulse of our planet from space” to discuss the contributions of Earth observation to science and society. The symposium was an excellent opportunity for international exchange among experts on global challenges, which can be tackled in a more focused way with the help of Earth observation.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

This Subcommittee once again has a full agenda this year. We look forward to the first session of the LTS Working Group under its new workplan. To contribute to its work, Germany has submitted a report in September 2022 on its national measures to implement the LTS guidelines and is interested to hearing from other delegations how they approach the implementation of the guidelines. We also look forward to proposals on new challenges to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities which the working group should take under consideration.

We thank the delegations of Chile, Slovakia and Spain as well as the International Astronomical Union for their initiative to move forward the discussions on dark and quiet skies for science and society. We have carefully studied their proposals and fully support the extension of the agenda item and the establishment of an expert group to monitor the impact of satellite constellations on astronomy and to analyze various mitigation measures that could lead to the potential development of recommendations and guidelines. We are ready to discuss such an expert group and its proposed terms of reference under the respective agenda item.

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates,

the General Assembly last September decided to schedule the Summit of the Future to take place in September 2024 and that it would adopt a “Pact for the Future” to be agreed in advance through intergovernmental negotiations. We had last year at the Main Committee already discussed the role that UNCOPUOS would play in preparing the Summit of the Future, and to this end the Chair of the Committee has offered to present at this session of the Subcommittee elements for further consideration. We believe that UNCOPUOS should play an active role in defining the space-related elements of the Summit of the Future, and we look forward to the Chair’s proposals in that regard.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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