Credit: CMSE


China is working with the United Nations to seek countries interested in performing experiments onboard that country’s space station.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and China’s Manned Space Agency have invited applications from United Nations Member States to conduct experiments on China’s Space Station.

Operational space station

In 2016, the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop the space capabilities of United Nations Member States via opportunities to use China’s space station, which is expected to be operational from 2022.

Credit: CSIS

The Announcement of Opportunity for this initiative, as well as application instructions, were released at a ceremony hosted by the UN Outer Space Affairs office and the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna on May 28.

Promote and provide

The UNOOSA-CMSA initiative aims to:

  • promote international cooperation in human space flight and activities related to space exploration;
  • provide flight experiment and space application opportunities on-board the CSS for United Nations Member States;
  • promote capacity-building activities by making use of human space flight technologies, including facilities and resources from China’s human spaceflight program; and
  • promote increased awareness among United Nations Member States of the benefits of utilizing human space technology and its applications.

Space diplomacy

“This is space diplomacy in action. I appreciate China’s partnership and support on this exciting initiative, and look forward to seeing a number of interesting applications from United Nations Member States,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

China’s medium-size space station for the 2020’s is depicted in this artwork.
Credit: CNSA

“The China Space Station belongs not only to China, but also to the world. Just as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed, the exploration and use of outer space shall be a common province for humankind. Outer space should become a new domain for promoting the common interests of everyone, rather than a new battlefield for competition and confrontation,” said Ambassador Shi Zhongjun, representative of China to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna.

Orbital experiments

There are three possibilities for orbital experiments in the first round of opportunities, according to a UN press statement.

  • Conducting experiments inside the Chinese space station by utilizing experiment payloads developed by selected applicants.
  • Conducting experiments inside the Chinese space station by utilizing experiment facilities provided by China.
  • Conducting experiments outside China’s space station by utilizing payloads developed by selected applicants.

Lastly, public and private organizations including institutes, academies, universities and private enterprises with a scientific orientation are invited to apply for the opportunity by August 31, 2018. Institutions from developing countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

For more information, go to these key documents as posted by the UN:

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