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Space Technology role in the sustainability agenda

What is the role of Space Technology in the sustainability agenda? Small satellites help contributing to sustainability goals' 2030 agenda. Six technologies are identified

Space Technology role in the sustainability agenda

Space technology has the potential to bring tremendous societal benefit contributing to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 agenda. Six technologies from the space sector are already being used to support the monitoring and achievement of the SDG. These technologies include satellite earth observation, satellite communication, satellite positioning, microgravity research, technology transfer and the inspiration drawn from research and education.

1. Earth observation (EO) is about remote sensing. One of the most popular examples is meteorological satellites.

2. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are used in transportation. They are instrumental in telecommunications, land surveying, emergency response, precision agriculture, mining, finance, and scientific research, among others.

3. Satellite communication (SatCom) focuses on relaying signals with voice, video and data to and from one or multiple locations. Space-based technologies can reduce infrastructure requirements and offer more cost-effective service. Especially to remote or isolated communities.

4. Space science focuses on observation and analysis of natural phenomena that occur in outer space, e.g., astronomy and astrobiology.

5. Space exploration covers solar system and includes human spaceflight, inter alia. Robotic spacecrafts (uncrewed exploration) are sent to celestial bodies in the solar system.

6. Technology transfer is a mechanism commonly referred to as spin-off.

There are barriers limiting their implementation. Lowering these barrier will increase efficiency in time, precision, and cost optimisation, bringing us further to solving the issues listed in SDGs.

Sources and an opportunity to find out more:
- MIT publication: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/220135981.pdf
- Sustainable Earth Reviews: https://sustainableearthreviews.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42055-021-00045-6
-ITU News Magazine: https://www.itu.int/en/itunews/Documents/2020/2020-06/2020_ITUNews06-en.pdf

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