Israel boldly goes into prestigious UN space body
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Israel boldly goes into prestigious UN space body

Only Namibia votes against decision to include Jewish state on the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Israel from space, as seen in a series of photos taken by astronaut Barry Wilmore at the International Space Station on December 25, 2014 (photo credit: NASA)
Israel from space, as seen in a series of photos taken by astronaut Barry Wilmore at the International Space Station on December 25, 2014 (photo credit: NASA)

Israel was accepted Thursday as a full member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

A vast majority of the committee’s members voted in favor of accepting Israel to COPUOS, the Maariv website reported, with only Namibia voting against the move, and Qatar abstaining.

COPUOS is part of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), whose job is to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

That includes efforts to clean up space debris (the thousands of now-defunct satellites that orbit the earth, getting in the way of new satellites), establishing legal codes for space exploration (claims of planets by specific countries, etc.), and developing applications based on space technology to solve earthly problems like food shortages and desertification.

“This day marks an important achievement for Israel,” said Hadas Meitzad, the official who spearheaded Israel’s campaign to join the body, according to the Israeli delegation to the UN’s Twitter account.

“Israel’s advanced capabilities in the field of peaceful uses of [outer space]… granted our acceptance [to] this committee,” she said. “We look forward to working with our partners to advance this field further.”

In January, top UN space official Simonetta Di Pippo visited Israel, where she got a first-hand look at Israeli satellite technology, coming away “very impressed,” Danon’s office said.

The organization could even conceivably sponsor Star Trek-style missions to the far end of the galaxy, according to one of the agreements sponsored by UNOOSA.

David Shama contributed to this report.

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