The 2007 conference "Celebrating the Space Age: 50 Years of Space Technology, 40 Years of the Outer Space Treaty" is the sixth conference held by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) on the issue of space security, the peaceful uses of outer space and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

This year marks not only the fortieth anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty but also the 50th anniversary of the launch by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957 of the world's first artificial satellite. Sputnik I ushered in the space age and paved the way for technological and scientific progress. Today, there are hundreds of satellites in various orbits, but Sputnik was the trailblazer.

An increasing number of civil and military actors are in the process of transforming the use of outer space and bringing a new focus of political, economic and military attention to it. The Earth's dependence on space-based assets has grown, for developed and developing countries alike, as these assets have become rapidly an integral part of our critical national and international infrastructures and, as such, a crucial element in our daily lives. This growing and ever more diverse use of outer space has brought with it legitimate concerns about the security of space-based assets and generated much needed debate—including in the Conference on Disarmament—about the nature of space security. The challenge today is to preserve both the security of outer space objects and the unrestricted access to outer space by all nations.