The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs has announced that it will launch its first-ever space mission with Sierra Nevada Corporation.
SpaceX and NASA can’t have all the fun; the United Nations has confirmed that – in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation – it will launch its first-ever space mission.
Announced today at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, the mission is designed to provide developing nations the opportunity to develop and fly microgravity payloads in orbit. However, all member states will be afforded the ability to propose payloads for the mission.
The flight is intended to launch in 2021, where it will enable member states to participate in the 14-day flight which will charter a course in low-Earth orbit on board Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spacecraft.
The Dream Chaser craft – which itself is a reusable, lifting-body, multi-purpose vehicle – will be able to land at any licensed member state while facilitating the mission, and Sierra Nevada Corporation has announced that it is presently working with airports and spaceports to be granted a Federal Aviation Administration license for commercial missions.
Proposals for what payloads should be brought aboard the craft will be solicited and finally selected in 2018 in time for the 2021 launch. The United States Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) will offer technical support to make the programme accessible to developing nations.
While major sponsors will be sought to cover most of the costs involved, nations chosen to provide a payload will have to pay a portion of the mission’s total expense.
What are your thoughts? Are you excited to see the United Nations launch its first space mission? Which states do you think should be chosen to provide a payload? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!