The U.N. is launching its first space mission in collaboration with the Sierra Nevada Corporation, which aims to offer developing countries a chance to create and fly microgravity payloads for an extended duration in orbit. These nations may not have the infrastructure or funds to have their own space programs. The U.N. will also offer technical support to countries that want to participate but don’t have adequate expertise.
The mission is set to launch in 2021. Participating nations will send a payload on a 14-day flight to low-Earth orbit on the Dream Chaser, a reusable spacecraft created by the Sierra Nevada Corporation. Countries will pay a pro-rated price, based on the total mission cost, but the U.N. will also keep in mind their ability to pay. It is also looking for major sponsors.