Space Generation Advisory Council

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Space Generation Advisory Council
Non-governmental organisation
Industry Space
Founded Vienna, Austria (July 1999 (1999-07))
Headquarters Vienna, Austria
Members 4000 members from 90 countries

The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications is a non-governmental organisation and professional network which "aims to bring the views of students and young space professionals to the United Nations (UN), space industry and other organisations". While the term "Space Generation" defines the generation born after October 4, 1957, the launch of Sputnik, the network is geared towards university students and young professionals in the space sector, aged roughly from 18-35.

The organisation is based in Vienna, Austria, and is also a registered 501c3 organisation in the United States. The volunteer network has over 4000 members in 90 countries between the ages of 18 and 35. The official languages of the SGAC are the six official languages of the United Nations, yet the official working language is English.

SGAC's primary work is in advancing space policy development, representing the world's young adults in space policy to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and other international organisations. SGAC continues to present perspectives of university students and young professionals to the UN through its Observer Status with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS).


In December 1997, the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs Secretariat invited the International Space University (ISU) to organise a young adult forum as part of the UNISPACE III Conference, in July 1999 in Vienna.

The Space Generation Forum, organised by ISU alumni volunteers, hosted 160 participants from 60 different countries. Experts explored a wide variety of topics relating to the field of space, which included: science, engineering, technology, law, ethics, art, literature, anthropology and architecture. More than 100 visions and ideas were generated during the conference, written in the form of recommendations. The ten most important ones were drafted as the “Declaration of the Space Generation” which got approved by the UNISPACE III Plenary as the SGF’s Technical Report (refer UN-Document A/Conf.184/L.14) [Reference: click here) Of these ten recommendations, five were integrated into the Vienna Declaration. One of the recommendations was "To create a council to support the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, through raising awareness and exchange of fresh ideas by young adults. The vision is to employ the creativity and vigour of younger generations in advancing humanity through the peaceful uses space". From this directive, the Space Generation Advisory Council in Support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications was established.

Since its establishment, SGAC has grown rapidly, in 2001 earning Permanent Observer status in UN COPUOS and earning consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2003. The organisation officially opened its headquarters at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in 2005 in Vienna, and hired its first paid employee in 2006. Today, the organisation’s professional network is made up of over 4000 members from 90 countries.


SGAC is headed by the Executive Council, which consists of two elected co-chairs as well as 12 elected regional coordinators, two per UN region. The Executive Council is supported by an appointed Executive Office, which is made up of a treasurer, executive officer, two co-secretaries and other members. The rest of the organisation is made up of the National Points of Contact, up to two per participating nation, and the 4000 volunteers who make up the supporting Space Generation Network.

A General Assembly is held annually and serves to bring the National Points of Contact and the Executive Council together, in order to approve or reject propositions introduced by the Executive Council and to change statutes of the organisation.

SGAC works with many outside space-related organisations from around the world. Examples of SGAC’s partners, sponsors, and collaborators include UNOOSA, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Secure World Foundation, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), The European Space Policy Institute, ISU, ... (A complete list of the sponsors and supporter is available on the SGAC website [1]).

The organisation receives advice from its Advisory Board, composed of twelve current space sector leaders who represent the views of the organisation in promoting space among young generations of the world. The board serves to evaluate work of the organisation and suggest ways to improve its functions and its engagement.

There is also an Honorary Board which is composed of distinguished individuals who have served the organisation in the past and whom SGAC wishes to "recognise for their furtherance of goals similar to those of SGAC."

SGAC Involvement with the UN[edit]

SGAC works constantly to accomplish a key component of its mission as an organisation: to be the dialogue agent between UN Member States present at the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the next generation of international space sector leaders.

  • United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS). SGAC has Permanent Observer status in UN COPUOS and is regularly present at its annual meeting (in June) and at its two subcommittees' meetings: Legal (in March) and Scientific and Technical (in February). As one of only twenty Permanent Observers in COPUOS, SGAC contributes to the activities and action teams of COPUOS. SGAC contributes to the discussion by making statements and presentations on the various work that SGAC's network produces throughout the year. This includes the reporting of the recommendations gathered at the annual Space Generation Congress and the Space Generation Fusion Forum.
  • United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (OOSA). SGAC works together with OOSA in promoting United Nations workshops and in supporting SGAC members to attend various conferences around the world.Its partnership with OOSA is also manifested throughout its networks.
  • United Nations Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC). SGAC is proud to be member of the UN Economic and Social Committee since 2003. In this position, SGAC attends the UN General Assembly every year, and represents young professionals and university students in this important world forum. SGAC ECOSOC representatives report back on the important recommendations from all UN Member States.

Vision and Goal[edit]

The guiding vision of SGAC is “to employ the creativity and vigour of young generations in advancing humanity through the peaceful uses of outer space.” Furthermore, the organisation states that “[we] believe that the voice of students and young professionals should be heard in the creation of international space policy. As those who will be becoming the key policymakers, providers and users of space, we believe that it is imperative that their opinion is taken into account.”

The primary goal of SGAC is “to provide access to our members to inject their thoughts, views and opinions on the direction of international space policy.” Other goals include:

  • to undertake projects on key topics of relevance to the SGAC members and to international space policy
  • to present the university students and young professionals viewpoint around the world
  • to provide a dynamic forum in which university students and young professionals can expand their knowledge of international space policy issues, build networks and think creatively about the future direction of humanity’s use of space


  • Space Generation Congress (SGC). The SGAC holds an annual event called the Space Generation Congress, which is held in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). The event is attended by approximately 130 top university students and young professionals with a passion for space who are selected from among applicants from the Space Generation international network. With the Space Generation Congress, SGAC aims to hone and promote the voice of the young adults on the topic of international space development through the future leaders of the space sector. The Congress explores numerous themes including: Agency, Industry, Society, Exploration, and Outreach. The results and recommendations of the congress are presented at the United Nations, during the UN COPUOS meetings of the following year. The Space Generation Congress is held in a different location every year. The reason for this is that the Congress is held in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which rotates on an annual basis. Past and future locations include:
Year Location
2002 Houston, USA
2003 Bremen, Germany
2004 Vancouver, Canada
2005 Fukuoka, Japan
2006 Valencia, Spain
2007 Hyderabad, India
2008 Glasgow, Scotland
2009 Daejeon, South Korea
2010 Prague, Czech Republic
2011 Cape Town, South Africa
2012 Naples, Italy
2013 Beijing, China
2014 Toronto, Canada
2015 Jerusalem, Israel
2016 Guadalajara, Mexico
2017 Adelaide, Australia
2018 Bremen, Germany
  • Space Generation Fusion Forum. The inaugural Space Generation Fusion Forum took place in conjunction with the National Space Symposium on April 15 & 16, 2012 in Colorado, USA at The Broadmoor resort. The SGFF has since become an annual event in conjunction with the in 2014 renamed Space Symposium in Colorado, USA. This is the first major US event for SGAC since 2002, and it offers the next young generation of space sector leaders from government, industry, and academia the opportunity to come together to exchange views on current, hot space topics via interactive panels. The programme also allows these top delegates to network with each other as well as with today’s current space leaders, who will be speaking and moderating the panels. The Fusion Forum provides an ideal atmosphere for discussion about international collaboration since the participants come from all over the world.

Speakers and moderators for past Space Generation Congresses and Fusion Forum include (no ordering):

  • Elliott Pulham, Chief Executive Officer Space Foundation
  • Lori Garver, Former Deputy Administrator NASA
  • Clayton Mowry, President of Arianespace, Inc.
  • Michael Simpson, Executive Director of the Secure World Foundation
  • Chummer Farina, Vice-President of the Canadian Space Agency
  • Yasushi Horikawa, Technical Counselor of JAXA
  • Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
  • Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • Kiyoshi Higuchi, President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF)
  • Mazlan Othman, Former Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
  • Sandra Magnus, Executive Director of the AIAA and former NASA Astronaut
  • John Karas, Vice President and General Manager of Human Spaceflight at Lockheed Martin

Advisory Board[edit]

SGAC's Advisory Board is designed to give strategic direction and advice to SGAC in order to help guide the organisation in its fulfillment of its goals and objectives. It provides comment substantively on the work of the organisation and suggests ways in which to improve its functions and its engagement. The board is composed of twelve board members, each of whom serves for a two-year term. The Advisory Board members are influential members of the international space community who have been strong supporters of the goals of SGAC and of the organisation itself.

Current Members in alphabetical order:

Name Position
Michael Brett Outgoing SGAC Chair 2012
Catherine Doldirina Outgoing SGAC Chair 2013
Steve Eisenhart Senior Vice President - Strategic & International Affairs at the Space Foundation
Norbert Frischauf Future Studies Systems Engineer for Spacetec
Yasushi Horikawa Chairman of UN COPUOS and Technical Counselor at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Agnieszka Lukaszczyk Former SGAC Chairperson and Brussels Office Director for the Secure World Foundation
Peter Martinez Chairman of the South African Council for Space Affairs
Tanja Masson-Zwaan President of the International Institute of Space Law
Clayton Mowry President, Arianespace, Inc.
Enrique Pacheco-Cabrera Deputy Director for Space Science and Technology Affairs, Mexican Space Agency
Nicolas Peter Exploration Strategy Officer in the Director General's Cabinet - European Space Agency
Chris Welch Director MSc Programmes, International Space University

Projects and Scholarships[edit]

In addition to the Space Generation Congress and the Space Generation Fusion Forum, SGAC hosts a number of competitions and projects. The technical competitions at SGAC, such as the Move an Asteroid Campaign, Entrepreneurship Paper Competition and others, enable young professionals and university students to submit their work and ideas, giving them the chance to get awarded with participation to space conferences to present their work.

SGAC acts as a forum to discuss and debate current topics in international space policy. This is done in a number of project groups. Their output is published in the annual report and papers.

As of 2014, the organisation has a number of active projects:

  • Commercial Space Project Group: Driven by the game-changing current developments in the commercial space world and their foreseeable importance in the future,it aims to equip the young generation with knowledge, tools and network to be active in the realm of commercial space and entrepreneurship.
  • Space Law Project Group: Dedicated to investigating and addressing current issues in international and national space law, and anticipating likely space law issues in the coming decades, the Project Group will pursue projects relevant to the field of space law, and to the broader international space community.
  • Youth Promoting Cooperation and Education in Global Navigation Satellite Systems Project Group (YGNSS): YGNSS is a team of university students and young professionals who aim to promote the benefits of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and promote activities relating to international cooperation in GNSS. YGNSS supports the International Committee on GNSS (ICG), an international forum for cooperation on Global Navigation Satellite Systems recognised by the United Nations.
  • The Near Earth Object Project Group (NEO): NEO is dedicated to helping the worldwide planetary defence community observe and track planetary comets and asteroids which have a possibility of colliding with Earth. The group provides a young adult perspective to planetary defence through annual reports, competitions, conference attendance, and public outreach projects related to Near Earth Objects.
  • Space Technologies for Disaster Management Project Group (STDM): STDM, created in June 2009, aims to provide universal access to all types of space-based information and services relevant to disaster management. The group strives to inform the general public on how space technologies are valuable in disaster management as well as to provide a channel for new perspectives allowing for greater research elements, and a forum for those interested in disaster management and space activities.
  • Space Safety and Sustainability Project Group (SSS): SSS Identifies and examines key issues concerning the safety and long-term sustainability of current and proposed space operations. Additionally, SSS seeks to provide an international space forum to showcase]the young adult’s perspective on the safety of space activities, and the sustainability of the space environment for future generations.
  • Small Satellites Project Group (SSPG): SSPG provides career and project assistance for young professionals and students active in the small satellite community and current information on small satellites topics as well as recommendations for future research and development and/or policy and legal issues. The project group aims to attract young professionals and students to the topic of small satellites and in general encourage the interest in space exploration.


In SGAC’s quest to increase youth input and engagement on international space issues, the organisation works to provide financial resources for its members. The SGAC therefore awards numerous scholarships throughout the year to university students and young professionals interested in the field of Space. Since the council is made up of such a globally diverse network, these scholarships allow for a greater number of members to take part in the international space policy creation process from attendance and presentations at UN COPUOS to participating in SGAC’s annual congress, the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) or issue-specific seminars around the world.


SGAC official website:

External links[edit]