UAE: New initiative to make space accessible to developing countries

UNOOSA and MBRSC announce opportunity to host satellite payload



The two parties will provide a 5U slot in the Payload Hosting Initiative -1 (PHI-1) mission, which to date is the biggest payload size offered under this initiative. Photo: Supplied
The two parties will provide a 5U slot in the Payload Hosting Initiative -1 (PHI-1) mission, which to date is the biggest payload size offered under this initiative. Photo: Supplied
by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Tue 25 Jan 2022, 6:59 PM

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) have announced a satellite payload hosting opportunity for entities, especially for developing countries under the 'Access to Space for All' initiative.

This new opportunity falls under the Satellite Development Track and is open for entities in the United Nations Member States.

Through this announcement, the two parties provide a 5U slot in the Payload Hosting Initiative -1 (PHI-1) mission, which to date is the biggest payload size offered under this initiative.

Depending on the size and configuration of the proposals, more than one payload can be selected.

Concerned stakeholders can apply for the "Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI)", applications for which will be accepted until April 17, 2022.

Throwing light on the Access to Space for All, UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said, "We are using this initiative to showcase how space can contribute to the SDGs."

She explained this would lower the entry barrier to access space and enable development teams to focus on their envisioned objectives aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Pippo further opined, "We are fully committed to developing a more just, equal and diverse area in space, leaving no one behind. 'Access to space all' is groundbreaking, and this initiative would not be possible without the generous support of our partners, space agencies, the private sectors and even academia. It is with great excitement that the new partner is joining us today.

"The MBRSC has been a long-standing partner to UNOOSA across many activities, and I cannot give enough credit to announce your involvement into 'Access to Space for All'."

The MBRSC and the UNOOSA had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote technical development and cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

Through this agreement, the two parties will provide opportunities in the Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI) which offers a cost-effective and modular satellite platform that can host multi-purpose payloads.

Pippo added, "Expanding our portfolio is critical for the democratisation of space benefits. Engaging with MBRSC in a cooperation provides a new opportunity to make a real difference for our member states.

"By hosting one or several payloads in a combined volume of five units in a novel platform developed by MBRSC through the Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI) will contribute to enhancing research and development and supporting innovation through technology development and demonstration. We ask for a proposal indicating the links between their technology and the activities conducted with SDGs."

Payload Hosting Initiative (PHI) is intended to broaden space activities and applications and advance human resource development.

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Experts from MBRSC highlighted that the launch of the PHI will facilitate a greater understanding of the benefits of using satellite-related technologies and will also act as a platform for new countries to enter space through cooperation with the UAE.

Access to Space for All is a joint initiative of UNOOSA and space agencies, research institutions and industry to offer access to space research facilities, infrastructure, and information.

This aims to bolster technical know-how, engineering processes and infrastructure in the areas of hypergravity and microgravity, satellite development and space exploration and promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director, MBRSC said, "This occasion marks another milestone in not just our quest the UAE space programme to the next level but also to work very closely with our partners UNOOSA and today specifically the Access to space all initiative can provide many nations an excellent opportunity for many nations to launch their satellite into space.

"This follows an agreement that we signed with UNOOSA during the IAC hosted in Dubai. This agreement seeks to facilitate a greater understanding of satellite-related technology and of course teaching the smooth operations of satellite in space".

He further said, "The collaboration and innovation that has gone into making the Payload Hosting Initiative will not only advance the use of satellite-related technologies but also presents an opportunity for entities and countries alike to deploy and operate their own satellites in space."


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