Outer Space Treaty 1967

Outer Space Treaty 1967

“The exploration and use of Outer Space should be carried on for the benefit of all peoples, irrespective of their economic or scientific development.”

In 1967 countries around the world came together to agree on a treaty that is the basis of international space law. This law outlines that space shall be used for peaceful purposes and specifically disallows any positioning of weapons of mass destruction within outer space or the moon.  Based on this how can satellites and its technology help everyone on earth?

There are many different types of satellites, currently orbiting the earth and all designed to have a different purpose. I have been able to see first hand how these different types can have a positive impact on peoples’ lives throughout the globe.

Satellite Technology can save lives. We have all seen Tv programmes and films where military personnel are using satellite phones, well they also use them in real life too. This communication is vital to many of the men and women putting their lives on the line. It allows them to contact base, send alerts and ask for urgent help, but maybe most importantly it provides a means to contacting home.

This type of phone as well as kit that can provide broadband links for remote headquarters, are increasingly being used in times of natural disasters. One of the huge benefits of satellite communications links are that they can be global, so when needing to deploy equipment quickly and easily a box of tricks that you know will work anywhere can literally be a life saver for rescue workers.

GPS positioning satellites are now used by everyone, every day. We have access to maps and directions at the click of our finger tips, making it so easy for us to find nice restaurant to eat in. These satellites have other uses too. Tracking endangered species such as turtles, lions and rhinos provides conservationists critical information to learn their behaviours, which in turn enable them to protect and preserve them.

I love seeing photos of the earth from space, but the majority of the satellites observing the earth do not just send back pretty pictures. These satellites are constantly monitoring and measuring changes on the earths surface, whether this is the temperature or the terrain, even detailed statistics regarding the atmosphere. This information can in turn be collected and then reviewed to identify- even predict- where there could be humanitarian issues such as famine and point aid in the right direction before it is too late. This again shows how technology in space can hugely benefit even the poorest areas of the globe and can continue to do so.

I cannot write a blog on how space technology benefits people lives without mentioning the magnificent changes that are currently taking place within the industry. It is predicted that within the next 10 years 1000s among 1000s of satellites will be launched, with access for affordable prices. Many global companies are promising to bring 21st communication technology to lesser developed countries. This, I hope, will have a positive impact on local rural communities by giving them access to the global market. 

This just demonstrates that even though the treaty was agreed 50 years ago, space age technology has impacted everyone and continues to do so in a positive way.  

Kay Barber
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