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United Nations and China agree to increased space cooperation

UN Office for Outer Space Affairs Director Simonetta Di Pippo. Photograph courtesy of UNOOSA.
UN Office for Outer Space Affairs Director Simonetta Di Pippo. Photograph courtesy of UNOOSA.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) have agreed on 16 June 2016 to work together to develop the space capabilities of United Nations Member States via opportunities on-board China’s future space station.

Following the signing of a Framework Agreement and a Funding Agreement earlier this year, Wu Ping, Deputy Director General of CMSA, presented the project to the 59th session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) at the UN in Vienna earlier this week.

Under the agreements, UNOOSA and CMSA will work together to enable United Nations Member States, particularly developing countries, to conduct space experiments on-board China’s space station, as well as to provide flight opportunities for astronauts and payload engineers. Both parties will also promote international cooperation in human space flight and other space activities, increased awareness of the benefits of human space technology and its applications, and capacity-building activities in space technology. CMSA will provide funding support to UNOOSA in this regard.

“This is an exciting opportunity to further build the space capacity of developing countries and increase understanding of the benefits space can bring to humankind, including for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. My Office and I are looking forward to working with CMSA on these initiatives,” said UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo.

China expects that its space station will be operational around 2022.

“Space exploration is the common dream and wish of humankind. We believe that the implementation of the agreements will definitely promote international cooperation on space exploration, and create opportunities for United Nations Member States, particularly developing countries, to take part in, and benefit from, the utilization of China’s space station,” said CMSA Deputy Director General Wu Ping.

This agreement offers opportunities for Middle East space agencies, research institutes, and universities to propose astronaut candidates under the auspices of this agreement. In particular, Iran and the United Arab Emirates have space cooperation agreements with China, and Beijing has had extensive space discussions with other countries in the region such as Egypt, Kuwait, and Turkey.

Original published at: http://spacewatchme.com/2016/06/united-nations-china-agree-increased-space-cooperation/

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