UAE a leader in region’s space sector - GulfToday

UAE a leader in region’s space sector


Sheikh Mohammed greets children. WAM

The signing of a charter to establish the first Arab body for space cooperation, bringing together as many as 11 Arab states at the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi, is an unambiguous indication that the UAE is leading the development of the Arab world’s space sector.

As UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum points out, it also proves that the Arab region has the competencies and expertise needed to achieve its objectives in this domain.

The space sector has become integral to many aspects of life from telecommunications to broadcasting and monitoring of weather and natural disasters. The current phase is seeing the fastest growth the space industry has ever seen. Recognising this aspect, the UAE has moved way ahead of others in the region in achieving its space goals.

It should be noted that the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi, organised by the UAE Space Agency, is the largest gathering of global space industry leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.

As the 11 Arab founding member nations of the new body will work together to advance the development of the region’s space sector, the progress is bound to be rapid.

Sheikh Mohammed has made it clear that its first project will be a satellite jointly developed in the UAE by Arab scientists. Interestingly, this satellite will be called ‘813’, which is the year in which the House of Wisdom in Baghdad reached the height of its reputation during the reign of Al-Ma’mun. The House of Wisdom brought together scientists, translated books of knowledge and became a place where the region’s scientific community flourished.

The UAE is blessed with a leadership that believes the journey of development will always remain a race for excellence. The only country to have the Mars probe programme in the region, the UAE already boasts a huge list of achievements in the space sector.

For example, September 25, 2019 will be marked as another glorious day for the UAE as well as the entire Arab region as, for the first time, an Emirati Arab astronaut will travel to the International Space Station (ISS).

The selection earlier of first two Emirati astronauts, Hazza Ali Abdan Al Mansouri and Sultan Saif Hamad Al Neyadi, to travel to the ISS marked an extraordinarily proud moment as they were whittled down from a total 4,022 applicants to the UAE Astronaut Programme, after a series of advanced medical and psychological tests, as well as personal interviews, according to the highest international standards.

The UAE Astronaut Programme was launched by Sheikh Mohammed and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in 2017 with the purpose of training and preparing Emirati astronauts to travel to space on scientific missions.

Sheikh Mohammed’s own words reflect the gracious goal of the UAE: “We extend our expertise, resources and help to Arab scientists who share the same dream and ambition we have to build the best possible future for the Arab nation. The satellite is a message from the UAE to Arab people that through concerted efforts, we can build a brighter future for everyone.”