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World Space Week 2023 kicks off Oct. 4 to highlight the growing private space economy

World Space Week 2023 is upon us, and with it come hundreds of events across the globe. This year’s 24th annual celebration will run from Wednesday, Oct. 4, through Tuesday, Oct. 10, with a theme of “Space and Entrepreneurship.”

World Space Week was first put in motion by the United Nations (UN) in 1999, to recognize the Oct. 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first human-made object in orbit, and the Oct. 10, 1967 signing of the Outer Space Treaty.

Since then, the World Space Week Association (WSWA) has supported the UN to organize educational space activities and events for people in nearly 100 countries. Each year, WSWA chooses a new theme, such as last year’s focus on sustainability, an increasingly vital consideration now that companies worldwide are beginning to planning or launching megaconstellations of thousands of satellites.

This year, WSWA is shining a spotlight on private companies’ contributions to the booming low Earth orbit (LEO) economy, according to the event’s official website.

Related: NASA working to get private space stations up and running before ISS retires in 2030

According to the WSWA website, “‘Space and Entrepreneurship’ recognizes the growing significance of the commercial space industry in space, and the increasing opportunities for space entrepreneurship and new benefits of space developed by space entrepreneurs. With miniaturization and decreasing launch costs, it is now possible for a small business to build and launch a small satellite, and for entrepreneurs to create valuable new data products for governments and industry.”

Events for World Space Week are held across the entire planet, with at least 375 planned for 2023. WSWA encourages groups and individuals to host their own activities, and to register with the organization to add to their global coverage.

Map indicating the locations of several events occurring during World Space Week 2023. (Image credit: World Space Week Association)

The WSWA website outlines the process for anyone to host their own event, and breaks them down into four steps:

Mark your calendar

This one is as simple as writing it down: World Space Week, Oct. 4-10. Write it down with a Sharpie, and tell all your friends.

Create the activity

Come up with whatever space-related event style you think will work best for your community. The WSWA website suggests, “any activity related to space will do, from a short classroom drawing activity for a handful of toddlers to a stadium-size all-week lecture program. Programs can be for any audience, such as the public, employees, government leaders, the media, teachers or students.”

Market World Space Week

Spreading the word is a big one, and it’s what World Space Week is all about — raising awareness and education about humanity’s relationship with, and all the benefits of, outer space.

WSWA encourages the use of their promotional materials and reaching out to its national coordinators and provides resources for event organizers on its website.

Register with WSWA

Finally, let WSWA know about your event. It puts you on the map alongside the nearly 400 events planned worldwide. The WSWA provides materials to registered events, and helps “leverage the public and media attention” to increase awareness during World Space Week.

(Image credit: World Space Week Association)

The World Space Week website lists 45 different examples of events to help guide people in the planning of their own, and also includes links to activities by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) for building your own spacecraft models (kid oriented), and dozens more suggestions for how to engage people during World Space Week.

“World Space Week 2023 will inspire students worldwide to study STEM and business, and offer space companies the opportunity to recruit the workforce needed for the expanding commercial space industry. It will also serve as a forum for important discussions on the transition of Low Earth Orbit to a more entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the WSWA website states.

Visit WorldSpaceWeek.org for more details.

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