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International Partners Discuss Space Station at United Nations
Astronaut Shane Kimbrough works on a space microgravity bacteria virulence experiment. Astronaut Shane Kimbrough works on a space microgravity bacteria virulence experiment. (NASA) During a session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), NASA and its international partners discussed the benefits of research on the International Space Station at an outreach seminar. The Feb. 8, 2011, seminar in Vienna, Austria, was the first activity under the U.N.'s Human Space Technology Initiative, and was designed to improve U.N. members' awareness of the potential uses of the space station for research and technology development.

The international partners, comprised of the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NASA, and the Russian Federal Space Agency, discussed the space station’s transition from its construction phase to full utilization for research and technology development. The presentations covered management structure, research facilities, research accomplishments, education outreach activities and mechanisms for non-member countries to participate in space station research.

"This was an opportunity for NASA and our international partners to share the capabilities of the space station with the international community," said International Space Station Program Scientist Julie Robinson, who presented at the seminar. "Now that the station has shifted from construction to research and technology development, we are working as a partnership to optimize its use as a laboratory."

To date, 58 countries have participated in space station utilization through scientific experiments and educational activities. Educational activities on the space station reach millions of students and some can be readily extended to additional countries. For developing countries, the best way to participate in research on the space station is to find a common research interest and collaborate with partner nations.

Presentations included those by Robinson and NASA's International Space Station Program Payloads Office Manager Rod Jones.

› International Space StationNASA Research (PDF, 1.1 MB)
› International Space Station Research Accomplishments Overview (PDF, 8.7 MB)
› International Space Station-enabled Educational Opportunities (PDF, 3 MB)

by Tracy Thumm, International Space Station Program Science Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center