Abu Dhabi - The UAE Space Agency is currently working on the establishment of the Middle East’s first Space Research Centre which is expected to cost Dh100 million over the next five years.
The details of this project were unveiled at a glittering event held on Monday to mark the official unveiling of the UAE Space Agency’s strategy, plans and objectives for the coming years.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, witnessed the launch of the plan in Abu Dhabi.
“The establishment of a fully-fledged space sector in the UAE, with all necessary human resources, infrastructure and scientific research, is a primary national objective. It requires everyone involved to work as one team to establish the UAE’s leadership in this sector and to build advanced scientific capabilities in the space domain,” Shaikh Mohammed said.
“The Hope Probe and the UAE Space Agency are milestones for the development of the UAE. Today, we are at the dawn of a new era that holds the promise of ambitious advancements; an era in which we build our national capacity and establish a new international standing for the UAE in the space sector. Building a new space sector that is integrated and comprehensive is a value-added step for our national economy, technical knowledge, human capital and international reputation,” he added.
The impressive entrance of the conference hall at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre during the official launch of the UAE Space Agency Strategic Framework. -KT photo by Nezar Balout
The Space Agency’s Director-General Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi outlined a number of plans for 2015-2016, most notably the Hope probe designed for the exploration of Mars. “We know this project will provide the agency with a solid platform for developing the national space sector further across various fields,” he said.
Talking about the research centre, Dr Al Ahbabi said that it will serve as an incubator for space research and innovation.
Space Agency Chairman Dr Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi said that the value of the UAE’s investment in the space sector today exceeds Dh20 billion ($5.4 billion).
That investment is represented by the UAE’s space-based communications systems, data services, satellite TV broadcasting, mobile telecommunications industry and other space-based industries and technologies.
Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi said the UAE’s project to launch a probe to Mars is progressing as per schedule and within budget.
He outlined a number of plans for 2015-2016, most notably the Hope probe designed for the exploration of Mars. The mission — the first of its kind by an Arab, Islamic country — will be launched in 2021 to coincide with the UAE’s 50th anniversary, and will travel more than 60 million kilometres to the red planet.
“This is one of the first of the UAE Space Agency’s ambitious projects in terms of supervision and funding,” he said. “We know this project will provide the agency with a solid platform for developing the national space sector further across various fields.”
“The agency is working side by side with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and the project team in order to complete the mission and achieve the project’s objectives on time and within the approved funding,” he added.
At the event, the Space Agency unveiled its logo to be the same as the official logo of the UAE, becoming the first government agency to do so. Additionally, the event marked the first public release of the agency’s website and mobile application.
In his remarks, Dr Al Ahbabi noted that the Space Agency sees human development as a fundamental aspect of success in the years ahead. “Human development is the true pillar of future progress,” he said. “For this reason, the UAE Space Agency’s strategic plan is focused on building Emirati human capital, and training men and women who can take on any future challenges.”
“The UAE Space Agency has begun coordinating with educational and academic bodies to use the concept of space as an inspiration for our students and encourage them to study science and technology,” he added. “We aim to be a catalyst of the student curriculum and have begun to coordinate and organise competitions, workshops, educational activities and summer camps for students.”
As part of the agency’s efforts to prepare the country’s youth to play a role in the space sector, Dr Al Ahbabi announced that 20 outstanding local students will be selected to be part of an academic delegation travelling overseas and within the UAE.
Dr Al Ahbabi also noted that the Space Agency is currently working on the establishment of the Middle East’s first Space Research Centre, which is expected to cost Dh100 million over the next five years. Dr Al Ahbabi said that the centre will serve as an incubator for space research and innovation.
Space Agency Chairman Dr Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi said the country’s space dreams are inspired by the country’s past and the vision of its founder, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who met the astronauts responsible for the Apollo moon programme in 1976.
Rich history and heritage
“Our strategic direction for the future is inspired by our rich history and heritage, which was a foundation for astronomy and one that the world is still benefitting from today,” he said.
Dr Al Rumaithi said the Space programme will have economic and technological benefits across various sectors.
“The United Arab Emirates is seeking to confirm its status as a spacefaring nation in which the industry plays a key role in sustainable economic development,” he said.
“There is a long term strategy to lay a solid foundation for a society built on science and knowledge, leading to innovations and discoveries within space that will stimulate an economy based on advanced technology,” he added.
One of the Apollo astronauts who met Shaikh Zayed, Egyptian-American Dr Farouk Al Baz, was in attendance at the event on Monday, and congratulated the UAE on its achievements and aspirations.
“UAE leaders have continued to be interested in identifying the secrets of the universe through space expeditions. The most important thing that becomes clear..is that the UAE intends to realise the hopes of Arabs everywhere,” he said.
Dr Rumaithi said in his speech that the value of the UAE’s investment in the space sector today exceeds Dh20 billion ($5.4 billion). That investment is represented by the UAE’s space-based communications systems, data services, satellite TV broadcasting, mobile telecommunications industry and other space-based industries and technologies.
He also said that the pivotal role of the UAE Space Agency in organising this growing sector and in training Emiratis to become world leaders in the space sector in accordance with the UAE’s message to the world: that Emiratis are willing and able to take on any challenge.
Along the side-lines of the event, Their Highnesses, ministers, representatives of government agencies, national leaders and representatives from international space agencies toured the Space Experience and Exhibition Area, which includes a “Mini Space Museum” organised in cooperation with the Global Space and Satellite Forum (GSSF). — email@example.com
Master’s in Space programme
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, looks at the UAE flag that was carried to the moon by Apollo 17 in 1973. Wam
abu dhabi — Yahsat, wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Orbital ATK signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday to announce the joint creation of the first Master’s level advanced studies Space programme in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, in the presence of Shaikh Mohammed. The programme is endorsed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The MoU was signed by each of Dr Ahmed Belhoul, CEO of Masdar; Masood Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat; and Tom Wilson, Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development on behalf of David W. Thompson, President and CEO of Orbital ATK.
The degree programme offers a unique opportunity to UAE graduate students for contributing to high-tech research into space technology, and will provide opportunities to work alongside key Abu Dhabi stakeholders in developing CubeSats. Yahsat’s partnership with Orbital ATK has aided the development of this unique, comprehensive academic program by adding a robust technical dimension.
Quelle: Khaleej Times