The U.N.'s First Space Mission Launches In 2021
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) was originally established in 1958. In 2021—more than 60 years later—it will launch its first space mission. The focus of the mission is to give developing nations, many of which don't have a dedicated space program, a chance to put scientific experiments in microgravity. The mission will rely on the Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft, a reusable, airplane-like shuttle that can land at an ordinary airport upon its return. The flight will last 14 days, and while it's meant for developing countries, any United Nations member state can apply to include its own payload.
The U.N. may seem like an unlikely organization to be planning a space mission, but the project lines up with its principles rather well. "One of UNOOSA's core responsibilities is to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space," UNOOSA director Simonetta Di Pippo said in the project's press release. The U.N. will offer technical support to the countries who apply, along with financial assistance through a variety of sponsors. The hope is that this mission will go even further toward making outer space a place where countries can put aside their differences and collaborate as citizens of Earth. Learn more about the mission in the videos below.