Press Release

UNOOSA and the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics are working on an Announcement of Opportunity to provide telescopes to institutions in develop

By SpaceRef Editor
December 24, 2019
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The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (KIAM), on behalf of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 14 June 2019. The objective of this MoU is to provide the opportunity for selected academic and research institutions in developing countries to receive small telescopes and training to operate them free of charge. UNOOSA and KIAM are working on this Announcement of Opportunity (AO), expected to be published in early 2020. The selected institutions will benefit from the experience of ISON and will have the chance to take part in global observation campaigns and distribute observation data openly and freely. 

ISON is an open international project consisting of more than 50 installed telescopes in 20 observatories in different countries. ISON is managed by KIAM, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and it has been credited with the discovery of eight comets, 17 near Earth asteroids and around 1,500 asteroids in the main asteroid belt. It is now one of the largest observation systems in the world. Acquiring a small telescope can help receiving institutions contribute to scientific progress and join international exchanges in the observation field.

The AO will be part of UNOOSA’ s Access to Space 4 All initiative, which already provides a portfolio of research and orbital opportunities for all countries, in particular developing countries, to access space and its innovative tools. 

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, said: “UNOOSA is proud to be working on such an exciting initiative that will make a concrete difference for receiving institutions, empowering their talents to contribute to global scientific advancements and knowledge exchanges. At UNOOSA, we aim to bridge the gap between space-faring and non-space faring nations, to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can benefit from space. The Access to Space 4 All Initiative was created with this goal in mind, and this partnership is a welcome addition to its portfolio. By empowering recipient institutions, this opportunity will contribute to advance their countries’ space related activities, in line with the objectives of the Initiative.” 

“ISON is an open international non-government project mainly aimed at being a free source of information on space objects for scientific analysis and other applications. International cooperation has always been at the heart of big astronomical projects. Observations that requires covering the complete sky stimulate large international cooperation and are fundamental for many scientific fields,” said Igor Molotov, coordinator of ISON project and senior researcher of KIAM who added: “UNOOSA works to promote international cooperation on the peaceful uses of outer space, so this collaboration is natural.”

The Announcement of Opportunity will be posted on the Access to Space 4 All pages on the UNOOSA website (

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For further information, please contact:

Ottavia Pesce
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
Telephone: (+43 699) 1459 8718
Email: pesce[at]

SpaceRef staff editor.