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October 21st, 2020
UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and aerospace company Avio

VIENNA(United Nations Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and aerospace company Avio S.p.A. announced an opportunity for educational or research institutions, in particular from developing countries, to deploy a 1 Unit (1U, 10 cubic cm) CubeSat or aggregates up to 3U into orbit free of cost.

The Vega C launcher, designed and manufactured by Avio and operated by Arianespace from the Guyana Space Centre, will take the selected cubesat(s) into orbit. Vega C has the capacity to carry more than two tonnes of total payload in Sun-Synchronous Orbit, can reach 700 km of altitude, and can handle up to five launches per year.

The opportunity is part of UNOOSA’s Access to Space 4 All Initiative, that aims to bridge the gap among countries in their capability to access and benefit from space and its applications, particularly for sustainable development purposes. In this spirit, entities in countries that do not have the means to transport satellites into space and place them in orbit are particularly encouraged to apply for this opportunity. While partnerships can be formed with entities from developed countries, the entity leading the proposed project must be from a developing country.

With this collaboration, UNOOSA and Avio will raise awareness of the role small satellites play for sustainable development and contribute to build space science and technology know-how in countries without established space sectors.

A selection board composed of experts from UNOOSA and Avio will review the applications and select the winner, who will be granted coverage of the launch service costs.

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: “This is an exciting addition to our Access to Space 4 All portfolio, and we are thrilled to be working with an industry leader like Avio to give entities from all over the world, in particular from countries without established space capabilities, the opportunity to deploy a cubesat in orbit. We believe everyone, everywhere, should be able to access the unique benefits that space offers humanity, and this project brings us closer to this goal.”

Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, said: “Avio is very proud to support UNOOSA in this ambitious and worthy cause. Thanks to Vega, new countries all over the world will experience their first access to space and become part of the ever-growing space community. We look forward to working with the winner and with Arianespace to accommodate payloads on board the Vega C Launcher!”

Information on how to apply is available here: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/psa/hsti/vegac.html

Applications should be received by 4 April 2021.