UN to launch first ever space mission

It aims at giving developing nations a chance to fly payloads in microgravity.

Lila Alexander | Oct 03, 2016

It was announced yesterday at the International Astronautical Congress that the United Nations will launch its first-ever space mission aboard Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser space plane in 2021.

It aims at giving developing nations a chance to fly payloads in microgravity. Motherboard reports that proposals are being accepted by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on anything from developing materials that resist corrosion in space to studying climate change and food security.

The mission is open to all UN member states while developing countries get first dibs. The payloads will be selected by UNOOSA in 2018 and will be launched into low Earth orbit up to about 1200 miles above the earth in 2021.

"Its core responsibilities are to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space, " said Simonetta Di Pipo, the director of UNOOSA. "And also aiming at making it more affordable to nations that can't access it quickly."

Sierra Nevada Corporation which makes the Dream Chaser a '30 foot long reusable spacecraft with small wings' and is perfectly designed to land gently on the runway was recently awarded a NASA contract along with Orbital ATK and SpaceX to resupply the International Space Station between 2019 and 2024. The contract energized the company and made it look forward to the upcoming project.

According to a UNOOSA press release, the UNOOSA is presently looking for benefactors to fund the mission capital wise. The countries that send the payloads to space will also be asked to cover some of the costs, according to on how much they can afford. Some of the developing countries will benefit fundamentally from this forthcoming project.

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