JAXA, UN to Cooperate on CubeSat Deployment From ISS

At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these three-unit (3U) CubeSats are similar in design to IceCube. (Credit: NASA)
At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these three-unit (3U) CubeSats are similar in design to IceCube. (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) agreed to cooperate in providing opportunities to deploy cube satellites (CubeSats) from the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station (ISS).

The Kibo is equipped with a special airlock system and robotic arm; hence a small satellite can be released to space from it by utilizing the Kibo’s distinct functions. Satellite deployment capability is the Kibo’s unique feature on the ISS.

Small satellites can be manufactured at low cost and by utilizing relatively simple technology; therefore that can be useful for education, communication, disaster mitigation, and human resource development. With the agreement for collaboration this time, we can provide an opportunity for using space and verifying technology there to countries that do not possess the capacity to launch satellites.

While taking maximum advantage of the Kibo’s strong points and employing the network and know-how with UN member countries, JAXA will offer opportunities of small satellite utilization from the Kibo to developing countries so that we continue to contribute to the improvement of their space technology.

Information about how to apply for an opportunity will be published on the UNOOSA’s website soon. We will also announce the information in English on JAXA’s website “International Space Station, Japanese Experiment Module Kibo”.

Outline of the collaboration

Period :Three years from Sept. 8, 2015 thru Sept. 7, 2018
Scope :Once a year / a small size satellite of about the same size as the CubeSat (1U)
Application :
  • Information for application will be issued by UNOOSA.
  • The selection of a satellite will be done by JAXA and UNOOSA.
  • Development and operation of a selected satellite will be performed by the user.
Opportunity :As early as within 2017