United Nations & China Invite Applications to Conduct Experiments On-board China’s Space Station

Artist’s conception of China’s Tianhe-1 space station. (Credit: China Manned Space Engineering)

VIENNA, 28 May 2018 (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and China’s Manned Space Agency (CMSA) have invited applications from United Nations Member States to conduct experiments on-board China’s Space Station (CSS).

In 2016 UNOOSA and CMSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop the space capabilities of United Nations Member States via opportunities on-board the CSS, which is expected to be operational from 2022. The Announcement of Opportunity for this initiative, as well as application instructions, were released at a ceremony hosted by UNOOSA and the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Vienna on 28 May.

The UNOOSA-CMSA initiative aims to:

  • promote international cooperation in human space flight and activities related to space exploration;
  • provide flight experiment and space application opportunities on-board the CSS for United Nations Member States;
  • promote capacity-building activities by making use of human space flight technologies, including facilities and resources from China’s human spaceflight programme; and
  • promote increased awareness among United Nations Member States of the benefits of utilizing human space technology and its applications.

“Since the launch of the first Chinese satellite in 1970, China has become one of the major space faring nations. Its state of the art space programme, including the well-established Manned Space Programme, is one of the most holistic and technologically advanced in the world. Such technical advances in space have broader benefits to all of us, as space is a driver and a tool for socio-economic sustainable development. With the global challenges we all face here on Earth, it is important to foster collaboration and cooperation in space activities. This is space diplomacy in action. I appreciate China’s partnership and support on this exciting initiative, and look forward to seeing a number of interesting applications from United Nations Member States,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA.

“The China Space Station belongs not only to China, but also to the world. Just as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed, the exploration and use of outer space shall be a common province for humankind. Outer space should become a new domain for promoting the common interests of everyone, rather than a new battlefield for competition and confrontation. Guided by the idea of a shared future, the CSS will become a common home in space for all humankind. It will be a home that is inclusive and open to cooperation with all countries, a home of peace and good will, and a home of cooperation for mutual benefit. Through the CSS, we would like to build up a model of sincere mutually beneficial cooperation among countries in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space,” said Ambassador Shi Zhongjun, representative of China to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna.

There are three possibilities for orbital experiments in the first round of opportunities:

1. Conducting experiments inside the CSS by utilizing experiment payloads developed by selected applicants.

2. Conducting experiments inside the CSS by utilizing experiment facilities provided by China.

3. Conducting experiments outside the CSS by utilizing payloads developed by selected applicants.

Public and private organizations including institutes, academies, universities and private enterprises with a scientific orientation are invited to apply for the opportunity by 31 August 2018. Institutions from developing countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

  • delphinus100

    Though at least one permanent module or a schedule commitment (including some more successful Long March 5 launches) first, would be nice…

  • ThomasLMatula

    This is geopolitics and they will probably be providing the service below cost for nations they want to control and influence. So it really doesn’t matter when it flies.

  • Michael Halpern

    Of course if American commercial habitats go up first and provide 1/3rd of ISS volume in one launch why do they need China?

  • ThomasLMatula

    Because the Chinese will be paying for the research as part of their “foreign aid” to these emerging nations.

  • Michael Halpern

    EU isn’t “emerging”

  • Aerospike

    Nothing about this news story says “EU”, “Europe” or “ESA”.
    This is a United Nations thing.

  • Zed_WEASEL


  • Michael Halpern

    Only gets in the way of China, beyond that it doesn’t stop people from putting foriegn payloads on American hardware, it mostly is just the other way around

  • Zed_WEASEL

    You misunderstood my point.

    The people who want their hardware in orbit have to make a choice of either getting a stay in the Chinese space station with no ITAR restrictions or some US space station with ITAR restrictions. It is a lot easier and cheaper to developed hardware without ITAR restrictions. If the ITAR regime is more or less the same as it is now, a lot of experiments will migrate to the Chinese station.

    By people I meant non US entities.