motherboard: This is finally slated to change in 2021, when the UN plans to send a spacecraft into orbit. by Daniel Oberhaus
'As detailed for a small crowd at the International Astronautical Congress yesterday, the goal of the 2021 UN mission is to make space accessible to developing member states that lack the resources to develop a standalone, national space program.
'“One of UNOOSA’s core responsibilities is to promote cooperation and the peaceful uses of outer space, but our work is about more than that,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, the director of UNOOSA. “We have the vision of bringing the benefits of space to humankind, and that means helping developing countries access space technologies and their benefits.”
'Yesterday’s announcement comes on the heels of a memorandum of understanding signed last June by the UNOOSA and the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace company specializing in deploying orbital payloads, such as microsatellites. Considering that UNOOSA is responsible for overseeing the peaceful use of outer space, its partnership with Sierra Nevada makes sense: the corporation’s relationship with the US military is much less robust than other American aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and instead it directs most of its efforts to commercial ventures.
'The mission will make use of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser space plane, a reusable spacecraft that looks like a scaled-down version of NASA’s space shuttles, and can be used to transport both crew and cargo to orbit. The Dream Chaser is still under development by Sierra Nevada, but the company expects to resume test flights in December and begin shuttling cargo to the International Space Station in 2019.'