The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States Government (NASA) signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 17 December 2020 pledging cooperation in areas of science and technology to support the peaceful uses of outer space.
The MoU brings together NASA's wealth of open-source spacecraft data, tools, and expertise and UNOOSA's unique position as the only UN entity dedicated to outer space affairs, to expand global opportunities to leverage the benefits of space. The partners will design capacity-building programmes, particularly for institutions in countries that do not yet have or that are developing space capabilities, to help them access space.
Together, UNOOSA and NASA will develop ways to leverage the Artemis programme as part of UNOOSA's Access to Space 4 All Initiative, which offers opportunities for international researchers and institutions, especially in developing countries, to acquire space research and exploration capabilities and take part in this unprecedented journey of discovery.
The two organizations will also work together on public outreach, to increase awareness and understanding of the global benefits that can emerge from increased investments in the use of space.
UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said: "This is an historic moment for space affairs at the UN. This MoU provides a solid foundation to create new opportunities for the global space community. UNOOSA's experience helping countries access space, combined with NASA's know-how and capabilities, will open doors for all countries, in particular developing ones, to take part in the benefits of the next exciting phase of space exploration and gain new tools to advance sustainable development."
"From suborbital flights to the International Space Station, the Moon, Mars, and beyond, our scientific and exploration activities represent a singular opportunity for the advancement of human knowledge and international partnerships," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "In cooperation with UNOOSA, NASA's Earth observation data and capabilities can greatly improve life here on Earth, informing efforts to fight famine, support disaster relief efforts, and even improve water management and sustainable urban development."