For information only - not an official document

27 January 2021


UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and Keldysh Institute announce opportunity for developing countries to receive telescopes and training

VIENNA, 27 January (United Nations Information Service) - The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KIAM RAS) announced an opportunity within the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) for selected academic and research institutions in developing countries to receive small telescopes and training on how to operate them.

The opportunity, named ISONscope, is part of UNOOSA's Access to Space 4 All Initiative, that aims to bridge the gap among countries' capabilities to leverage the benefits of space. The selected institutions will benefit from the experience of ISON and will have the chance to take part in global observation campaigns and contribute observation data to the Open Universe Initiative. The Initiative aims to increase the visibility, free accessibility and ease of utilisation of astronomy and space science for everyone, everywhere.

ISON, managed by the Keldysh Institute, is one of the largest observation systems in the world, involving optical telescopes at more than 20 observatories worldwide. While its focus is on collecting observational data on space debris in high orbits, ISON has been credited with the discovery of eight comets, 17 near-Earth asteroids and more than 1,500 asteroids in the main asteroid belt. Performing observations using a small-aperture telescope can help institutions contribute to scientific progress and join international exchanges of observation-based data through ISON.

Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, said: "UNOOSA is proud to offer this exciting opportunity, that will empower receiving institutions to contribute to global scientific advancements and knowledge exchanges. At UNOOSA, we aim to bridge the gap among 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 continuously expanding portfolio. By developing the capabilities of recipient institutions, this opportunity will contribute to advancing space related activities in their countries, in line with the objectives of the Initiative."

Boris Chetverushkin, Scientific Director of KIAM RAS, said: "It is a great honour for KIAM RAS to contribute to sustainable development through ISON by sharing technology, equipment, and data through this joint opportunity with UNOOSA. We believe that the participation of the selected institutions in this opportunity, as part of the Access to Space 4 All Initiative of UNOOSA, will benefit space exploration and lives everywhere."

See how to apply to ISONscope here:


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For more information, please contact:

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


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