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ITU Symposium on small satellites

ITU International Symposium in Prague ended with success

In 2-4 March, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) held Symposium in Prague that was focused on rules for communication of small satellites. The event was organised in collaboration with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Prague and the Czech Space Office. There were more than 160 participants from 37 countries discussing topics of international telecommunications law and space law in relation to operation of small satellites.

Representatives of ITU and national telecommunications authorities, also adressed challenges in legislation harmonizing in relation to small satellites, deny the mystification arising from some of the online resources on the regulatory framework in the region and other issues. Representatives of research and development teams, universities, space agencies (ESA, NASA, etc.) and private companies focused on summarizing their experience with the development of small satellites, their operation and harmonization of their telecommunications systems parameters.

One of the presenters of the Czech Republic, the Director of CSO, Jan Kolář, recalled in his speech the historical achievements of the Czech Republic in the field of small satellites and instruments, namely the MAGION in international Intercosmos programme. Despite the downturn of the space during the period of social and political changes in our country in the early 90s, last years the Czech Republic has been successfully involved in ESA and EU space programmes, and though developed it space activities.

Placement of Czech accelerometers and the SATRAM detector aboard SWARM and Proba-V satellites serves as example of successes of Czech organisations in this area. The Czech Republic is currently active in the field of small satellites, that was documented by introducing three of the current Czech projects - PilsenCube, CzechTechSat and VZLUSAT.

The last day of the event there was held a press conference where the main actors summarized the most important events of the past days. An interesting speech had the Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector, Francois Rancy, who emphasized the role of ITU in the management of natural resources (frequencies, orbits etc.), which belongs to all countries. He also drew attention to the fact that in recent years, an alternative approach is applied to the operation of space activities, which is different from the one in previous years. The traditional method consisted in long-term development activities and intensive validation campaigns of the individual components and subsystems. Currently, there is applied the principle of simplified development together with the serial production of the small satellites elements.

"The important task for ITU is to ensure that the combination of both approaches will not create new problems," said Rancy, and emphasized the ITU main objective, which lies in the creation of legislation that will prevent harmful interference when implemented.

The significance of the Prague Symposium summarized the Director of the ITU Space Services Department, Yvon Henri, who presented the proposal named Prague Declaration on the need for compliance of international rules and procedures initiated by the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) and ITU. This declaration will raise awareness of the importance of implementing the national legal framework in accordance with relevant international laws and to clearly define the rights and obligations of each participant. In the future, it would ensure the long-term sustainability of space projects.

The importance of the Prague Symposium is crucial, because it was the first time in history, when the small satellites community have met at the global level to discuss the possibilities of their use.