Leaders during their visit to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. File photo
With a growing number of young nations and the proliferation of private sector players developing space capabilities, the need for international co-operation and collaboration in the development of the space sector has never been more pressing. That’s the message behind a new global forum taking place later this year: the Abu Dhabi Space Debate.
Under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Space Debate global forum is set to take place on the 5th and 6th December, 2022. Organised by the UAE Space Agency, the two-day conference is set to form an important new global forum for the space industry, nations, business leaders and policy makers to come together and forge real consensus and address the issues facing growth and innovation in space.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, “The UAE is proud to be hosting the Abu Dhabi Space Debate in December. The event is a platform to facilitate dialogue and aims to strengthen cooperation, formulate new international policies and develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the global space sector.”
On the other hand, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed has issued a federal decree appointing Omran Sharaf as a Member of the UAE Diplomatic and Consular Corps with the rank of ambassador, and as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to handle the Advanced Science and Technology portfolio.
Omran Sharaf is the Project Director of the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) and also serves as the Director of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. He is a former member of the UAE delegation to the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG).
Sharaf was responsible for developing, launching, and operating projects at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), including responsibility for developing and implementing the Command & Data Handling Subsystem (C&DH) for DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, along with being a system engineer of that project.
Sharaf earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia, USA, in 2005, and his Master’s in Science and Technology Policy from the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea, in 2013.
Sharaf was a winner of the Pride of the Emirates medal, within the Mohammed Bin Rashid Government Excellence Award.
Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Space Debate sets out to provide a platform for leaders and policy makers from the space sector around the world to review the opportunities and challenges facing the sector and aims to advance not only global dialogue and collaboration between nations but also forge concrete alliances, multilateral agreements and provide a platform to advance the sector as a whole.
Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, Chair of the UAE Space Agency and the Abu Dhabi Space Debate Committee, said, “We are seeing a huge expansion in organisations developing space capabilities and potential, but that growth in the sector brings challenges, ranging from preservation of national interests through to the regulation of private sector players. The Abu Dhabi Space Debate aims to create a global platform that will bring together a diverse and challenging audience and forge concrete progress in advancing international co-operation, standards and policy-setting for the space sector.”
The Emirates’ space sector alone is a vibrant and fast-growing area of economic growth, with the country operating 19 Earth-orbiting satellites with a further ten satellites under development. With over 50 organisations and institutions and five research centres for space sciences and the development of a strong educational sector in space sciences, research and engineering, the Emirates has committed to long-term interplanetary exploration missions and the accelerated development of its emerging private sector space ecosystem.
“As we implement our long-term ambitions in space, the first steps of which are clearly outlined in our National Space Strategy 2030, we cannot over-emphasise the importance of international collaboration to our plans. Our space programme has been built on such collaboration, with partners in Europe, South Korea, the US, Japan and elsewhere...”