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An University Team from Guatemala Selected for Second Round of KiboCUBE

September 11, 2017 (JST)

National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have selected a team from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala for the second round of the UNOOSA-JAXA KiboCUBE programme. KiboCUBE is an initiative that offers educational and research institutions from developing countries the opportunity to deploy cube satellites (CubeSats) from the Kibo module of the International Space Station.

As the successful candidate, the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala team plans to use its Guatemalan CubeSat to test equipment for monitoring the concentration of harmful cyanobacteria (algae blooms) over inland bodies of water.

The KiboCUBE initiative was launched in 2015 as a capacity-building initiative by UNOOSA and JAXA. The first round saw a team from the University of Nairobi selected, and preparations are currently underway for the launch of their satellite. Applications for the second round of KiboCUBE selection closed on 31 March 2017 and UNOOSA and JAXA were pleased with the quality of the applications received.

Further information about the "KiboCUBE" is available at:

Name of the satellite: Guatemalan CubeSat

  • Organization/Country: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, the Republic of Guatemala
  • Mission Overview: Capacity-building to develop satellites and technology demonstration of a prototype of multispectral sensor for remote sensing data that help determine the concentration of chlorophyll-a –for the monitoring of water quality.
  • Satellite size: 1U
  • Deployment Schedule: The CubeSat is scheduled to be launched in the Japanese Fiscal Year 2018 (until March 2019)

Image: Guatemalan CubeSat
(Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, the Republic of Guatemala)

Related Press release

Collaboration between JAXA and UNOOSA to Offer Small Satellite Deployment Opportunity from Kibo to Contribute to Developing Countries to Improve Space Technology”, dated September 8, 2015

Overview of KiboCUBE cooperation between JAXA and UNOOSA

Period: 3 years from September 8, 2015 through September 7, 2018
Scope: Once a year/ a small satellite of about the same size as the CubeSat (1U)
  • Information for applications will be issued by UNOOSA
  • The selection of a satellite will be done by JAXA and UNOOSA
  • Development and operation of a selected satellite will be performed by the user
Opportunity: Three rounds for application are planned to be offered in the period. A team from the University of Nairobi was granted e for the 1st round of KiboCUBE, and the satellite is scheduled to be deployed in Japanese Fiscal Year (JFY) 2017 (by end of March 2018).


Reference 1: Messages from the representatives

Dr. Koichi Wakata, ISS Program Manager, JAXA

I am excited to see the advancement of the KiboCUBE programme which assists capacity-building in space technologies in non-space-fairing countries thanks to our partnership with UNOOSA. Utilizing the unique capabilities of the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” on the International Space Station, we have deployed 198 small satellites from “Kibo” to date. And we are excited to work with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala towards their KiboCUBE launch and deployment. We are committed to achieving concrete results in space technology development in the partner countries of the KiboCUBE programme to further the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director, UNOOSA

We are pleased to continue our KiboCUBE partnership with JAXA. This is an important initiative that helps foster national capacity in space technology engineering, design and construction, and supports a number of Sustainable Development Goals. I am looking forward to seeing the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala’s work as they develop Guatemala’s first ever satellite, giving the country its own access to space for sustainable development.
KiboCUBE forms part of the Office’s increasingly holistic and tangible capacity-building activities that we are conducting for the benefit of Member States, with a particular focus on developing countries. Our partnership with JAXA is a triangular approach to capacity-building, where the Office works with a space faring nation to help non-space-faring nations develop their space technology capabilities. We are committed to ensuring access to space for all, in an open and inclusive manner, and KiboCUBE is key to this.

Mr. Roberto Moreno, President, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala

This unique effort is aligned with UVG's mission of preparing students to become change agents in our community, through science, technology and education. The launching of Guatemala's first satellite, which will be made possible by this opportunity, is a historic moment for our country.

Mr. Luis Zea and Mr. Víctor Ayerdi, coordinators for project, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala

The mission of the project is to design, develop, and operate a CubeSat-class satellite to test a multispectral sensor prototype, opening the field of space science & technology in Guatemala. It will also help us develop our country’s human capital, and will enable the independent acquisition of remote sensing data for natural resource management and other peaceful purposes.