UNGA 74: UNOOSA and Avio join forces to provide access to space for all


NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 23 – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Avio S.p.A. (Avio) joined forces at the 74 th UN General Assembly to announce an agreement to cooperate on providing institutions from UN Member States, in particular developing countries, with the opportunity to apply to use, free of charge, satellite slots for 1UCubesat or aggregates on a planned Vega launch vehicle scheduled in the second part of 2020.

The announcement was made by UNOOSA Director General Simonetta Di Pippo during a high-level event co-organized by Italy, the United States and Zambia. The Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affair Emanuela Del Re addressed the panel stressing that Italy, “a pioneer in space science and technology within vibrant private sector featuring a complete supply chain of over 100 companies, is committed to strengthening space diplomacy”. 

Applications for this Announcement of Opportunity will go through a selection process and the winners will have the chance to accommodate their payload on the launch. Avio has made available for the project satellite slots on the VEGA launcher for a maximum of three separate launches. Each launch will provide the institutions selected with room for the equivalent of a total of three 1U Cubesats. “This will mean that as of next year, we will be able to reach out to non and emerging space faring nations to offer the opportunity to access the space environment in a responsible and sustainable manner”, said Di Pippo.

As part of UNOOSA’s Access to Space 4 All initiative, this agreement provides in particular developing countries with no or emerging space capabilities with the opportunity to launch their satellites in orbit free of charge, fostering technological learning and capacity-building. UNOOSA Director, Simonetta Di Pippo, commented: “We are pleased to announce this latest addition to the portfolio of orbital opportunities under the Access to Space 4 All initiative that UNOOSA offers to UN member states, and in particular developing countries, together with strategic partners that are leaders in the space sector, such as Avio. This project will provide selected institutions with a unique opportunity to launch their space technology free of charge, expanding access to the benefits of space. This is happening also thanks to the agreement of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in its report A/72/20 and to the endorsement of the General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/72/77 that UNOOSA should pursue greater engagement with industry and private sector entities, for example for Access to Space 4 All.

After the successful deployment last year of the first Kenyan 1U Cubesats from the International Space Station thanks to UNOOSA’s partnership with the
Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, which allowed Kenya to become a space nation, we are proud to announce another partnership under this Initiative, which already counts several space agencies, private companies and a research centre.”.

Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, commented: “Avio’s commitment to structured collaboration with the United Nations highlights its focus on supporting, through business excellence and Research and Development, the use of the resources offered by space to benefit the entire international community. We will therefore contribute – through launching micro and nano-satellites and against a backdrop of constant technological innovations to make the SDGs available to all”.