The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to provide affordable opportunities for United Nations Member States to conduct experiments in space.
Under the agreement, UNOOSA and SNC will work with United Nations Member States to define a multi-country mission opportunity that will provide Member States, and especially non-space-faring ones, affordable access to space to develop and fly payloads for missions related to experiments in microgravity science, remote sensing, or space hardware qualification.
The SNC is the developer of the Dream Chaser, a reusable, orbital spacecraft designed to be a flexible Space Utility Vehicle and transportation system for a variety of Low-Earth orbit (LEO) missions.
One of the main goals of UNOOSA is to promote economic and social development through space activities. "At UNOOSA we are committed to helping all countries benefit from space technologies and capabilities. I am pleased that SNC has partnered with us to provide such tangible opportunities in pursuit of this goal," said Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA.
"SNC is honoured to partner with UNOOSA under our Dream Chaser Global Initiative to offer access to space to a wide range of countries, from those with well-defined space programmes and objectives to developing countries who would like the social and economic benefits of a space programme without the time and financial burden of developing the necessary infrastructure," said Mark N. Sirangelo, SNC corporate vice president for Space Systems.
He added: "Our vision, in partnership with the UN, is to provide UN Member States with affordable access to space and a range of multi-mission opportunities using the Dream Chaser spacecraft to host a wide range of payloads. Countries will be able to customize their participation level commensurate with the maturity of their space capabilities and national desires, while engaging their universities, industrial companies and government laboratories, and most importantly, their people. We offer a complete solution for participations, providing not only the spacecraft, but all aspects of flight including mission planning and operations."
UNOOSA is in a unique position to help connect SNC with UN Member States to enable a multi-country mission opportunity while highlighting the peaceful use and access to space for all nations. The MOU provides the framework for cooperation and understanding, and to facilitate collaboration between the Parties to further their shared goal of providing more countries the opportunity to realize the economic and educational benefits of participating in the space economy.
"The space arena is growing increasingly diverse as private industry actors become more involved in space technologies and exploration. It's great to see a company like SNC bring their expertise to UNOOSA's holistic approach to capacity building and our goal of bringing the benefits of space to all," said Ms Di Pippo.