VIENNA/TOKYO, Sep 11, 2017 (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have selected a team from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala for the second round of the UNOOSA-JAXA KiboCUBE programme. KiboCUBE is an initiative that offers educational and research institutions from developing countries the opportunity to deploy cube satellites (CubeSats) from the Kibo module of the International Space Station.
As the successful candidate, the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala team plans to use its Guatemalan CubeSat to test equipment for monitoring the concentration of harmful cyanobacteria (algae blooms) over inland bodies of water.
"The mission of the project is to design, develop, and operate a CubeSat-class satellite to test a multispectral sensor prototype, opening the field of space science and technology in Guatemala. It will also help us develop our country's human capital, and will enable the independent acquisition of remote sensing data for natural resource management and other peaceful purposes," said Luis Zea and Víctor Ayerdi, coordinators of the project at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
"We are pleased to continue our KiboCUBE partnership with JAXA. This is an important initiative that helps foster national capacity in space technology engineering, design and construction, and supports a number of Sustainable Development Goals. I am looking forward to seeing the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala's work as they develop Guatemala's first ever satellite, giving the country its own access to space for sustainable development benefits," said UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo.
"KiboCUBE forms part of the Office's increasingly holistic and tangible capacity-building activities that we are conducting for the benefit of Member States, with a particular focus on developing countries. Our partnership with JAXA is a triangular approach to capacity-building, where the Office works with a space faring nation to help non-space-faring nations develop their space technology capabilities. We are committed to ensuring access to space for all, in an open and inclusive manner, and KiboCUBE is key to this," said Ms Di Pippo.
"I am excited to see the advancement of the KiboCUBE programme, which assists capacity-building in space technologies in non-space-faring countries thanks to our partnership with UNOOSA. Utilizing the unique capabilities of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" on the International Space Station, we have deployed 198 small satellites from "Kibo" to date. And we are excited to work with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala towards their KiboCUBE launch and deployment. We are committed to achieving concrete results in space technology development in the partner countries of the KiboCUBE programme to further the Sustainable Development Goals," said JAXA International Space Station Programme Manager Koichi Wakata.
"This unique effort is aligned with Universidad del Valle de Guatemala's mission of preparing students to become change agents in our community, through science, technology and education. The launching of Guatemala's first satellite, which will be made possible by this opportunity, is a historic moment for our country," said Roberto Moreno, President of Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
The KiboCUBE initiative was launched in 2015 as a capacity-building initiative by UNOOSA and JAXA. The first round saw a team from the University of Nairobi selected, and preparations are currently underway for the launch of their satellite. Applications for the second round of KiboCUBE selection closed on 31 March 2017 and UNOOSA and JAXA were pleased with the quality of the applications received.
Further information about the United Nations/Japan Cooperation Programme on CubeSat Deployment from the International Space Station (ISS) Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo), "KiboCUBE", is available at: http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/psa/hsti/kibocube.html
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