The following is an official backgrounder on the UAE Space Agency issued by the UAE government. It includes information about the agency’s strategic objecvtives, its leadership, and the structure and components of the nation’s space industry.
The UAE Space Agency was established in 2014 following a decree for federal law No.1 of 2014 issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. The agency was announced in July 2014.
Our vision is to proudly craft the future of the United Arab Emirates as a leader in space exploration and inspire the next generations for the benefit of the nation and mankind.
Organizing and guiding the space sector, by contributing to the national economy and sustainable development, by preparing generations of highly skilled professionals, and by developing space research, space programs, and strategic partnerships in the field of space.
The first strategic objective is to organise and develop the space sector ensuring that it meets international standards and serves national interests. The Agency aims to contribute to the diversification of the national economy and support sustainable development. This objective will be achieved through two initiatives including the creation of a legal and regulatory framework for the sector space. This will define the powers that fall under the Agency’s control. The second initiative is the development and guidance of the space sector in the UAE.
The preparation of a proposal for space policy space and law, the development of legislative regulations for the sector, and the preparation of an evaluation study of the industry will all be key elements of the first strategic objective. This program also includes the preparation of the UAE’s innovation strategy in the field of space and the development of a national plan for human capital development within the sector.
The second strategic objective is to promote and support the efforts of scientific research and innovation. This will be achieved through five services that will be provided by the Agency. These include the establishment of an internal organisational unit that will manage and coordinate space projects, supporting and financing the Mars mission, supporting existing space projects in the UAE, the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Committee to advise on national space programs and entering into partnerships with local and international agencies that can provide the necessary knowledge and expertise to support the UAE space sector.
The third strategic objective is to attract and prepare national cadres to become pioneers in the field of space science. This will involve the development of national talent, as well as increasing public awareness of the space industry. Training and scholarship programs will look to nurture national talent in local and international universities specializing in science and space-related studies. A strategic public relations and communications strategy will be key to this objective as well as digital communications which will help to strengthen public support for the Agency’s programs.
The fourth strategic objective is focused on ensuring that all the Agency’s services are in accordance with worldwide quality, efficiency and transparency standards. This will be achieved through the creation of an internal organizational unit that will manage and coordinate the agency projects, as well as the development of institutional performance systems. In addition, the fourth objective includes the preparation of an employment strategy and determining the Agency’s Emiratisation rate.
UAE Space Industry and Key Player
- The aerospace and space industries in the UAE are key drivers to the economy.
- The UAE’s investments in space technologies has already exceeded AED20 billion, including satellite data and TV broadcast company Al Yah Satellite Communications, mobile satellite communication company Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications and Earth mapping and observation system Dubai Sat.
- The UAE operates more than 7 satellites for both commercial and Milsatcom use.
Thuraya Telecommunications Company is an industry leading MSS operator and a global telecommunication provider offering innovative communications solutions to a variety of sectors including energy, broadcast media, maritime, military and humanitarian NGO. Thuraya Telecommunications Company was the first satellite operator to be founded in the UAE.
Yahsat provides multipurpose satellite solutions (government and commercial) for broadband, broadcast, government, and communications use across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe in addition to Central and South West Asia. Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company PJSC, the investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, Yahsat is the first company in the Middle East and Africa to offer multi-purpose satellite services.
MBRSC and EIAST
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) was created and established by the Dubai Government in 2015. The Centre is integral to the strategic initiative put in place by the government to inspire scientific innovation, technological advancement, and to advance sustainable development in Dubai and the wider UAE.
Emirates Institute for Advanced Science & Technology (EIAST) was created and established by the Dubai Government in 2006. According to EIAST’s mission statement, EIAST comprises a team of leading UAE engineers, analysts and experts, all working towards positioning the UAE as an internationally renowned leader within the field of science and technology. By developing new technology, expertise, and intellectual property, it is hoped that the UAE can emerge as a global front-runner within the industry.
H.E Dr. Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al-Romaithi
Chairman, UAE Space Agency
H.E Dr. Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al-Romaithi serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the UAE Space Agency. Dr. Khalifa has held major government positions, requiring the highest standards of leadership and integrity.
Dr. Khalifa has extensive professional experience and military service; he first enrolled in the UAE Armed Forces in 1978. Previous to his current position, he served as Director of Military Survey Department, Commander of Military Works and the Chief of Logistics Staff. In company with his primary responsibilities, he is also a Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Qualification Authority.
In addition to Dr. Al-Romaithi’s military education, he holds a Bachelor degree in Administration Science and Photogrammetry. He obtained his MSc in Geographic Information Science and Earth Observation from ITC in the Netherlands and PhD in Geomatics from UTM University.
H.E Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi
Director General, UAE Space Agency
H.E Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi has been appointed as Director General of the UAE Space Agency after having the responsibility of designing and creating the agency.
He obtained his first Degree in the USA, then his MSc and PhD in the United Kingdom within the Information and Communication Technologies domain where he has published more than 20 scientific papers.
Dr Ahbabi has contributed and led numerous strategic projects in the ICT domain towards the benefit of the UAE government. He has also led a UAE Armed Forces Think Tank Project within the Centre of Excellence. His role embedded advising the military and government at a strategic level on emerging concepts and technologies in the area of smart defense, cyber warfare and space developments.
He was the head of YAHSAT MilSatCom and other Space Projects. He has an active role in ITU-R, UN Space working groups and ICT professional associations.
Dr Ahbabi is also a key speaker in a number of international conferences in the area of Smart Defense, mil-Space, Cybersecurity, and Smart governments. He is also a board member of YahSat Company and of the UAE ICT fund.
In his role as the Director General of the UAE Space Agency, he leads a team of 50 that manages the UAE’s space sector. He is responsible for realizing the agency’s goals of growing this Sector. He recommends the National Space Strategy and related laws, policies, and regulations to the government. He promotes and supports Industrial and R&D space projects. Dr. Al Ahbabi is also responsible for establishing and maintaining international relationships and partnerships, coordinating with national concerned authorities and providing guidance to non-government space sector organizations.