Outer Space

The U.N.'s First Space Mission Launches In 2021

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) was originally established in 1958. In 2021—more than 60 years later—it will launch its first space mission. The focus of the mission is to give developing nations, many of which don't have a dedicated space program, a chance to put scientific experiments in microgravity. The mission will rely on the Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft, a reusable, airplane-like shuttle that can land at an ordinary airport upon its return. The flight will last 14 days, and while it's meant for developing countries, any United Nations member state can apply to include its own payload.

The U.N. may seem like an unlikely organization to be planning a space mission, but the project lines up with its principles rather well. "One of UNOOSA's core responsibilities is to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space," UNOOSA director Simonetta Di Pippo said in the project's press release. The U.N. will offer technical support to the countries who apply, along with financial assistance through a variety of sponsors. The hope is that this mission will go even further toward making outer space a place where countries can put aside their differences and collaborate as citizens of Earth. Learn more about the mission in the videos below.

The U.N.'s First Space Mission

Find out why it's happening.

The United Nations Office For Outer Space Affairs

Explore the achievements UNOOSA has made in its six-decade history.

A Closer Look At The Dream Chaser Spacecraft

Learn about the craft that will make this mission a reality.

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.