KiboCUBE: Teams from Mexico and Tunisia Selected for Sixth Round

National Research & Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

TOKYO — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) cooperate under the KiboCUBE program launched in 2015 to provide developing countries with opportunities to deploy CubeSats from the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station (ISS).

JAXA and UNOOSA have selected teams from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP) of Mexico and the Private Higher School of Engineering and Applied Technology (ESPITA) of Tunisia for the sixth round of KiboCUBE program, which was open for applications from December 20, 2020 through May 31, 2021.

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UNOOSA and United Kingdom Sign Agreement to Map Global Space-related Climate Action Efforts

VIENNA, 21 December 2021 (UN Information Service PR) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement to address the information gap for space-related climate actions. The scientific community and the United Nations (UN) system have long recognized and utilized space-based technologies, data and applications as essential components in climate change research, monitoring, and policy enactment. However, a comprehensive overview of the broad spectrum of current and planned activities in using space for climate action has been missing.

Through this new partnership, the UN and the United Kingdom strive to address this information gap and build synergies, facilitate coherence, and contribute to avoiding duplication of existing efforts. With a Strategic Mapping Exercise, the core of the mutual work, the two parties are going to review existing activities at the international and regional levels, in the UN system, for non-UN groups, partnerships, organizations and other relevant entities.

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When Debris Disaster Strikes in Earth Orbit

Credit: ESA

In brief

PARIS (ESA PR) — In 2021 so far, some 2467 new objects large enough to be tracked have been added to world catalogues of orbital objects, out of which 1493 are new satellites and the rest are debris. While new objects are added, others are dragged down to Earth by the atmosphere where they safely burn up, resulting in a net increase of at least 1387 trackable objects between 2020 and 2021.

In addition, an estimated 1500 new objects – an increase of about 5% with respect to the total population – were added just this week, meaning the risk to missions must be reassessed.

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UK and UN Join Forces in Using Space Tech to Tackle Climate Change

GLASGOW, Scotland (UK Space Agency PR) — A new project to map existing work to tackle climate action through the use of space technology and identify what more could be done has been launched by the UK Space Agency and the United Nations at COP26.

The government’s National Space Strategy, which was unveiled in September, set out an ambition for the UK to be a leader on using space for climate action. Now, the UK Space Agency will work with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on a new review of existing activity on climate action through the use of space technologies.

The aim is to develop a strategic view of climate activities being carried out in space on a scale that has never been done before and, through this, increase policy coherence across the multilateral system and relevant international organisations.

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UNOOSA and MBRSC Sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Satellite Payload Hosting

VIENNA, 28 October (UN Information Service) – The capacity-building portfolio under the Access to Space for All Initiative of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is expanding. UNOOSA and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote technical development and cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

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UNOOSA and Airbus Pick African Team to Fly “Free” Climate Monitoring Payload on the International Space Station

Bartolomeo external experiment platform (Credit: NASA)

VIENNA, 26 October 2021 (Airbus PR) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Airbus Defence and Space have selected the winner of their joint opportunity for a free one year mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The climate mission supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will fly on Bartolomeo, the Airbus external payload hosting platform.

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UK Working with Global Partners to Clear up Dangerous Space Debris

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is today announcing a range of different initiatives aimed at supporting safe and sustainable space operations.

From developing our space tracking capabilities and promoting international efforts in space sustainability, to finding novel ways of removing space debris – the UK is leading the way to ensure the Earth’s orbit can continue to be used now and in the future.

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Report Calls for Immediate Actions to Address Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy, Environment

A wide-field image (2.2 degrees across) from the Dark Energy Camera on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, taken on 18 November 2019. Several Starlink satellites crossed the field of view. (Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/DECam DELVE Survey)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new report recommends “immediate, well-funded, comprehensive, and collaborative work” to implement a series of measures to mitigate the negative impacts that large satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy.

The report, whose executive summary was published last week, includes 10 recommendations for observatories and constellation operators that include the development of software to identify and mask satellite trails and designs changes to lessen the reflectivity of satellites. (The full list of recommendations are below.)

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China, Russia Hold International Lunar Research Station Seminar

China/Russia International Lunar Research Station seminar. (Credit: CNSA)

ZHUHAI, China (CNSA PR) — On September 27, 2021, a closed-door seminar on the International Lunar Research Station jointly sponsored by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Roscosmos was held in Zhuhai. Experts from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, ESA, and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization conducted special seminars on the declaration of the International Lunar Research Station.

In March 2021, China and Russia signed the “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperative Construction of International Lunar Research Stations.” At present, the declaration of the International Lunar Research Station jointly drafted by China and Russia clarifies the general principles, joining methods and activity guidelines for the construction of the International Lunar Research Station. 

The international consultation on the declaration of the International Lunar Research Station is the common expectation of the international community, and it is also an important part of the steady promotion of the cooperation process of the International Lunar Research Station between China and Russia.

The Declaration of the International Lunar Research Station will serve as an important document for follow-up cooperation. It is planned to be introduced to the international community at the 72nd International Astronautical Conference in Dubai, UAE in October 2021, and to further listen to the opinions and suggestions of the international community.

Growing Number of Satellites Contribute Significant Light Pollution to Night Skies

Trails caused by the fifth deployment of satellites making up the Starlink constellation. (Credit: Andreas Möller)

LONDON (Royal Astronomical Society PR) — Scientists reported new research results today suggesting that artificial objects in orbit around the Earth are brightening night skies on our planet significantly more than previously understood.

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UK Space Sector Receives £1 Million Government Boost to Support International Innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Five new projects have been awarded a share of over £1 million [$1.38 million] of government funding to work with international partners on innovative space technology.

Projects to remotely probe ice on Mars to help explorers find life below the surface, a system to warn of impacts of flood risks to infrastructure based on research in India and a scheme to design UK imaging technology for a space telescope are among the new international initiatives to receive backing from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP).

The funding will see UK companies and organisations working with partners such as NASA, and space agencies from Canada, Japan and Italy. NSIP is the first fund dedicated to supporting the UK space sector’s innovation through collaborations with international partners designed to contribute to UK science, security and prosperity.

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Samantha Bee Looks at Space Junk & the Kessler Syndrome

Video Caption: While we’ve been so focused on separating our cardboard and plastic down on Earth, waste, abandoned satellites, and other man made debris have been accumulating in space. If we want to continue our progress in space and maintain our technology, it’s time for a major cleanup! Watch Full Frontal with Samantha Bee all new Wednesdays at 10:30/ 9:30c on TBS!

An Enormous Increase in Launches Threatens More Orbital Debris

Credit: ESA/UNOOSA

PARIS (ESA PR) — Since the beginning of the space age, with the launch of Sputnik in 1957, we have launched thousands of rockets carrying more than ten thousand satellites into space.

The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in these numbers, and over the last few decades there has been a change in the type of mission flown, with private companies (yellow) launching smaller satellites than those launched by non-commercial agencies (blue).

This graph, created in a joint project between ESA and the UN, also shows the number of unregistered objects (red) has increased in recent years. It should be noted that these are objects not yet registered with the UN, and registration rates are expected to increase.

In episode 4 of the ESA-UNOOSA space debris series, Ian Freeman and Francesca Letizia discuss what these changes mean for the future of spaceflight and the creation of space debris.

NASA, UN Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Peaceful Uses of Space

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging cooperation in areas of science and technology to support the peaceful use of outer space.

The MOU, signed Thursday, Dec. 17, brings together NASA’s wealth of publicly available Earth observation data and dynamic exploration opportunities with UNOOSA’s unique position as the only U.N. entity dedicated to outer space affairs.

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