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    UNIS/OS/559
    27 October 2021

    UNOOSA and Airbus pick African team to fly free climate monitoring payload on the International Space Station

    VIENNA, 27 October (UN Information Service) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Airbus Defence and Space have selected the winner of their joint opportunity for a free one-year mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The climate mission supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will fly on Bartolomeo, the Airbus’ external payload hosting platform.

    The winning ‘ClimCam’ team consists of specialists from different fields and symbolizes the power of international cooperation, bringing together researchers from three institutions: the Egyptian Space Agency, the Kenyan Space Agency and the Uganda National Space Programme within the Ugandan Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

    UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: "Together with Airbus, and thanks to the ingenuity of the brilliant researchers selected, we are making it possible for this module made in Africa to fly onboard the ISS. This project will acquire precious insights for the East African region to address pressing challenges such as droughts and floods and increase the resilience of its agricultural sector, potentially saving many lives and helping to build a better future. It will also be an important inspiration for talent in Africa to join the space sector. We are extremely proud to have played a role in making this happen, and we look forward to seeing the project take flight.”

    ”We are very pleased to welcome this UNOOSA-backed team with their African climate mission as a passenger on the Bartolomeo platform,” said Stéphane Vesval, Senior Vice President at Airbus Defence and space. “Of course, we are offering them our Bartolomeo All-in-One Space Mission Service, meaning that our own experienced space experts will take care of all aspects of this space mission – preparatory formalities, payload launch and installation, operations and data transfer. This way, the team can fully concentrate on the development and exploitation of their environmental monitoring payload, without having to worry about anything else. This is one of the fundamental benefits of the Bartolomeo Service – we make access to space easier than ever before.”

    “We are very happy that we have won this opportunity in such a world-class competition. The team are very grateful to UNOOSA and Airbus for this opportunity,” said Ayman Ahmed, team leader at the Egyptian Space Agency and ClimCam project coordinator. “Of course, we understand the challenges in our region. Climate change has a growing impact on Africa, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest, contributing to food insecurity, and putting stress on water resources. Having an imaging system at ISS will allow us to monitor and see the impacts on our home countries. Developing such a device to operate onboard the ISS is a challenging task but with the support from our partners, we can achieve that goal. The competition was stiff but being awarded this opportunity is only the beginning for our team to learn more and acquire great experience in the field of space technology and its applications.”

    This is the first time the UN has selected a winner for an opportunity to access space in partnership with a private sector company. For more information about Bartolomeo and its potential for reducing the space divide, please visit:  https://www.unoosa.org/documents/pdf/psa/hsti/Bartolomeo/BTL-UG.pdf

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    For more information, please contact:

    Martin Stasko
    United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
    Email: martin.stasko[at]un.org

     Ralph Heinrich
    Head of External Communications Space Systems
    Airbus Defence and Space
    Telephone: (+49) 1 71 30 49 75 1
    Email: ralph.heinrich@airbus.com