September 26, 2017 – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) announced today the opportunity to participate in a space mission using Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft. The low-Earth orbit space mission will take 20 to 30 powered experiments provided by organizations within the participating UN Member States, with a particular emphasis on developing and emerging countries.
“The benefits of a joint mission between government and private organizations on a level of this scale are incalculable,” said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area. A key aspect of the mission is to provide training and facilitate development of technology, in particular for developing countries. The access to space and application of this technology, along with the overall growth of industry, are a part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In June 2016, UNOOSA and SNC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on this historic United Nations space mission. The first-ever United Nations space mission is intended to launch as early as 2021 and will allow United Nations Member States to participate in a 14-day flight to low-Earth orbit (LEO) on SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft.
“This is about scientific discovery, and about opening space to organizations that may not have access to it otherwise,” said Eren Ozmen, owner and President of SNC. “We’re thrilled to provide the vehicle that will make this happen.”
The Call for Interest issued by UNOOSA provides a summary of the two to three week long in-space mission and requests information from UN Member States interested in providing payloads. The deadline for submission is November 1, 2017.
“We expect our efforts in building industry capacity to have long-term impacts, especially in space-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs, and that these results will flow to the wider economy as a whole,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of UNOOSA. “We are here to support developing and emerging countries and institutions so that this mission can really enable inclusive access to space for all and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.”