Winners of 6th round of KiboCUBE selected to deploy CubeSats from the International Space Station

by | Feb 18, 2022

VIENNA  (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have selected the winners of the 6th round of KiboCUBE, a joint programme launched in 2015 benefitting United Nations Member States. Teams from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP) of Mexico and the Private Higher School of Engineering and Applied Technology of Tunisia (ESPITA) will deploy CubeSats from the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station (ISS). Both teams improved their technical knowledge and documenting skills with KiboCUBE Academy, a joint UNOOSA /JAXA educational programme that provides the theoretical basis for small satellite development, operation and utilization.

The winning team from Mexico will utilize the Gxiba-1CubeSat for monitoring volcanic activities and the movement of volcanic ash by optical observation, upgrading technology and improving experience obtained through a previous project. The TUNSAT 1 of the winning team from Tunisia will focus on Earth observation by obtaining macroscopic images of Tunisia and technology demonstration by testing communication between the satellite and ground station.

The KiboCUBE programme advances a range of Sustainable Development Goals and has already helped three Member States in becoming spacefaring nations. Namely Kenya, Guatemala and Mauritius have launched their first satellites under the KiboCUBE partnership.

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo underscored the importance of bridging the space divide: “Working together in advancing inclusion and diversity in space activities is paramount to leaving no one behind. The KiboCUBE programme under the Access to Space for All initiative symbolizes the common mission of UNOOSA and JAXA to expand the space community sustainably. I congratulate the winning teams and look forward to our joint effort in turning your dreams and ambitions into reality.”

JAXA JEM Utilization Center Director Shiho Ogawa said: “I am very pleased to cooperate with UPAEP and ESPITA in Gxiba-1 and TUNSAT1 projects. I believe that this cooperation will further enhance the value of the KiboCUBE programme and demonstrate the potential of Kibo which paves a way to space for developing countries. JAXA has contributed to the capacity building of countries in Southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa through the six rounds of KiboCUBE and the new educational opportunity – KiboCUBE Academy. We continue to support developing countries or regions for the betterment of their space technology, through the broad network of UNOOSA and technology of JAXA including Kibo.”

President of UPAEP Emilio Baños-Ardavín said: “We are honoured that our project Gxiba-1 has been accepted by JAXA and UNOOSA. Being able to launch our CubeSat to space with your support is a source of huge joy for Mexico and UPAEP’s community of professors and students. This is not only a great opportunity for Mexico to continue to develop its presence in space, but also to advance its educational efforts in space technology. Gxiba-1 is a fundamental first step in developing diverse techniques for the observation of active volcanoes surrounding highly populated cities. We thank you for your efforts to foster this kind of initiative all around the world.”

ESPITA Director and TUNSAT-1 Project Coordinator Aouinet Hana said:” It is a great honour to be the first North African country awarded with a satellite launch opportunity under the unique and amazing KiboCUBE programme. This is an opportunity for Tunisian students and researchers to contribute to the enhancement of Tunisia’s position as an emerging nation in the global space industry. Our goal is to make ESPITA engineering school one of the best African universities for the most brilliant and elite students in the field of space science and engineering and to provide world-class level training to qualify the next generation of engineers who will develop the local African space industry. I would like to thank all our partners in this project. We will continue promoting teamwork and national as well as international partnerships in the space sector to make history together and to realize unprecedented achievements for our country, region, continent and the whole world.”

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