The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) have announced the winners of their joint opportunity to conduct experiments on board the China Space Station (CSS).
Six winning projects were selected, and three were conditionally selected. The winning institutions come from a variety of countries, including Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland.
The research areas proposed by the winners include space medicine, space life science, biotechnology, microgravity fluid physics, microgravity combustion, astronomy, and space technologies.
The opportunity, which was first announced in May 2018, was open to all Member States of the United Nations, with particular consideration given to developing countries. In the months following the Announcement of Opportunity (AO), a total of 42 applications, from organisations in 27 countries, were received by UNOOSA. They were then carefully evaluated by a team of around 60 experts from UNOOSA, CMSA and the international space community, in line with the eligibility and selection criteria outlined in the AO.
The selected winners will have the chance to physically access space by flying their experiment on the CSS, developing their capabilities in space science and technology for peaceful purposes. This opportunity will also enhance their capacity to leverage space to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The cooperation is part of UNOOSA’s Access to Space for All portfolio, which includes several research and orbital opportunities to provide Member States of the United Nations with increased access to space and its benefits.
UNOOSA Director, Simonetta Di Pippo, said: “Despite the incredible advances made in the space sector in recent decades, many millions of people worldwide still do not have access to the benefits of space. This opportunity with CMSA helps bridge this gap by opening the unique research environment on board the CSS to all Member States. At UNOOSA, we are incredibly proud to have enabled this opportunity, which is a pioneering approach to capacity building in space. I look forward to furthering our collaboration with the Government of China and CMSA to provide even more opportunities to enhance access to space in the near future.”
CMSA Director-General, Chun Hao, said: “The CSS is a unique space laboratory and we are proud of this initiative to open its incredible research potential to all Member States of the United Nations since the inception of its operation. We are pleased that so many researchers and scientists from around the world participated in this joint effort with excellent proposals. I congratulate the winners for having emerged from such a competitive selection. CMSA stands ready to help the winning teams prepare and implement their experiments on board of the Station. CMSA is working closely with UNOOSA to further our existing cooperation and create more opportunities to enhance access to space: for example, we are thinking of releasing the next call for experiments in the near future.”
The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna Wang Qun said: “The CSS cooperation is a vivid manifestation of the multilateralism upheld by China and the international system, with the United Nations at its core. Through this opportunity, the achievements of China’s space development will bring benefits to the international community. The cooperation takes into account the special needs of developing countries, which were encouraged to submit joint project applications with developed countries. Applications from governments and non-profit organizations can enjoy certain financial support. This is therefore a truly inclusive process and a vivid portrayal of building a shared vision for the future of outer space, bringing its benefits to all humankind in line with the principles of the Outer Space Treaty. I sincerely hope that the follow-up implementation of all selected experiments will be successful, and I wish that the CSS cooperation will produce more fruitful results in the future.”