VIENNA, TOKYO, September 10, 2015 — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) today announced the joint initiative “KiboCUBE” which will offer educational and research institutions from developing countries the opportunity to deploy cube satellites (CubeSats) from the International Space Station (ISS).
CubeSats are low-cost satellites using accessible, off-the-shelf technology. Their applications include projects for education, communication, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian assistance.
The Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” – the first element of which was delivered into space by United Nations Expert on Space Applications and veteran astronaut, Takao Doi – has been operating on the ISS since 2008. Kibo’s unique capability permits CubeSats to be deployed from space, through use of an airlock system and robotic arm.
The agreement announced today will enable UNOOSA and JAXA to harness KIBO’s capability for the benefit of developing nations. Through this latest example of international cooperation in space, countries without their own capability to launch satellites will now for the first time be able to deploy satellites based on their individual needs.
Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, said: “By offering this unprecedented opportunity, UNOOSA and JAXA are raising awareness of the role that space science and technology plays in promoting sustainable development and contributing to building national capacities in spacecraft engineering, design and construction, thus building space economies in developing nations.”
Hakubun Shimomura, Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said: “KiboCUBE is an unprecedented programme in which Japan and the United Nations jointly provide developing nations with the opportunity to deploy CubeSats from Kibo, and I am pleased that Japan will be able to contribute, through this joint programme, to opening up new opportunities in space environment utilization and to benefiting more countries from the unique platform of Kibo.”
UNOOSA promotes greater international cooperation in space science and technology for peaceful purposes, in particular, for developing countries. The Office serves to build the capacity of all nations to ensure equal access to space and its full use for sustainable development.