UAE, 10 Other Arab Nations Form New Space Coordination Group

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The UAE Space Agency today announced the creation of the Arab Space Coordination Group to facilitate cooperation among its 11 member nations.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the group’s formation and attended a signing ceremony during the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi.

In addition to UAE, charter members of the new group include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

The coordination group’s first project will be the development of the UAE-funded spacecraft 813, an observation satellite that will monitor the Earth’s environment and climate. The satellite will be built over the next three years by engineers from member countries at United Arab Emirates University’s National Space Science and Technology Center in Al Ain.

The satellite’s name is a homage to the year in which the House of Wisdom was founded in Baghdad under the reign of Al-Ma’mun. The house embraced scientists from throughout the region, who translated notable texts and advanced science.

“The Satellite 813 is a message the UAE is sending to the Arab communities on the ambitions to regain Arabs glories as pioneers in the space domains,” said Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency.

More Details on UAE National Space Strategy 2030

ABU DHABI, UAE (UAE Cabinet PR) — The UAE Cabinet, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has adopted the National Space Strategy 2030 during its meeting at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.

The Cabinet meeting was attended by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Sheikh Mohammed asserted that the UAE has established an economic powerhouse and advanced infrastructure by young Emirati talents, which enabled it to be at the forefront of the space exploration industry today.

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UAE Cabinet Approves National Space Strategy

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Cabinet has approved a National Space Strategy to guide the UAE until 2030, The National reports.

The strategy includes 79 projects in the areas of science and space research, manufacturing, assembly and testing in addition to the commercial space service sector, Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid] said.

“Last year we celebrated the launch of the first satellite fully built by young Emirati engineers, and in the very near future we will see them operating international space technology centers, based in the UAE,” he said in a news release from the Cabinet office.

“We will see Emirati cadres, highly skilled and specialised in space science, achieving scientific breakthroughs that serve the entire humanity.

“We are investing in the space industry, with ambitious projects and initiatives that will benefit our citizens and contribute to key sectors of the national economy. This is an important milestone for our country, and we are aiming to become a model for countries seeking to launch ambitious space programmes.”

Meanwhile, two Emirati astronauts — Hazza Al Mansouri, 34 and Sultan Al Neyadi, 37 — are in training in Russia for a spaceflight to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in September. It has not been announced which astronaut will fly with Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and American astronaut Chris Cassidy.

UAE Eyeing Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Flights

A view from SpacehipTwo. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is looking to host flights of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, The National reports.

Mohammad Al Ahbabi, director of the UAE Space Agency, said the organisation is working with Virgin Galactic on a bid to operate tourist space flights from Al Ain International Airport in the coming years….

“The reason why the company opted for Al Ain airport is that it is less crowded than other UAE airports, which are scheduled with thousands of flights.”

Airbus has used Al Ain airport to stress test its new aircraft in high summer temperatures, including the wide-body A350.

It was chosen for its hot, dry conditions and relatively quiet runways.

Abu Dhabi is part-owner of Virgin Galactic having invested $390 million in the company through its sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment Company (formerly known as aabar Investments).

NASA Deepens International Space Cooperation

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

BREMEN, Germany (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took advantage of the global presence at the 2018 International Astronautical Congress to sign three new agreements, underpinning the agency’s continued commitment to international cooperation. The agreements, with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Japan, covered lunar exploration, X-ray astronomy and human space flight.

NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) agreed to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL’s commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the Moon in 2019. NASA will contribute a laser retroreflector array to aid with ground tracking and Deep Space Network support to aid in mission communication. ISA and SpaceIL will share data with NASA from the SpaceIL lunar magnetometer installed aboard the spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site.

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NASA, UAE Space Agency Sign Historic Agreement for Cooperation in Human Spaceflight

BREMEN, Germany (NASA PR) — NASA and the UAE Space Agency (UAESA) signed an Implementing Arrangement (IA) Monday, Oct. 1, that outlines cooperation across a range of areas related to space exploration and human spaceflight. The document was signed by H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a ceremony at the 69th International Astronautical Congress, being held in Bremen, Germany Oct. 1-5.

The IA falls under the overarching Framework Agreement signed between the UAESA and NASA in June 2016, which established a framework for areas of cooperation in ground-based research; sub-orbital research; research and flight activities in low-Earth orbit (LEO); and human and robotic exploration in the vicinity of the moon, on the lunar surface, and beyond.

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UAE Space Agency, NASA Sign Agreement for Human Spaceflight Cooperation

The UAE is in the midst of creating an astronaut corps, with nine finalists vying for four spots in the program. The nation has already signed an agreement with Roscosmos to fly an astronaut to the International Space Station in 2019.

UAE Astronaut Search: And Then There Were 18

The National reports that the United Arab Emirates has a short list for its astronaut corps.

With 4,022 Emiratis originally applying, a shortlist of 95 men and women was whittled down to 39. Now now the remaining 18 candidates will proceed to the final interview stage.

Four of these will form the country’s first astronaut corps and travel into space. The first UAE astronaut will lift off next April as part of the agreement reached with Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency.

As part of the crew on a Soyuz spaceship, they will spend 10 days conducting scientific research on the International Space Station (ISS) before returning to Earth.

The 39 went through a round of tests that included a range of activities to measure intelligence, aptitude, neurocognitive ability, personality, and working memory, according to the MBRSC.

UAE Space Agency Announces Details of National Space Sector Policy

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoDUBAI (UAE Space Agency PR) — The UAE Space Agency announced today details of the National Space Sector Policy. The document was approved on September 4 by the Council of Ministers, headed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The policy aims to build a strong and sustainable space sector in the UAE that supports and protects national interests and related vital industries. This includes contributing to economic growth and diversification, strengthening specialized Emirati skillsets and developing scientific and hi-tech capabilities. It also seeks to nurture and grow a culture of innovation and enhance the UAE’s status on regional and global levels.

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NASA, UAE Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

NASA LOGOABU DHABI, UAE — The United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have entered into an agreement to cooperate in aeronautics research, and the exploration and use of airspace and outer space for peaceful purposes, working together in the peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of humanity.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and UAE Space Agency Chairman Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi formalized and signed the agreement Sunday at a meeting in Abu Dhabi.

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UAE Space Agency Signs MoC with Japanese Government

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoABU DHABI — The UAE Space Agency has signed a significant memorandum of cooperation with the Government of Japan, representing a major step forward in safe space exploration and strategic cooperation in the short and long terms.

The MoC was signed by H.E. Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, H.E. Dr. Tsutomu Tomioka, State Minister of Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), H.E. Yosuke Takagi, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and H.E. Yasuyuki Sakai, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office of Japan, with the presence of H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and representatives from the Cabinet Office of Japan, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.

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UAE Space Agency Develops Science & Technology Road Map

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoABU DHABI (UAESA PR) — The UAE Space Agency held the opening workshop of the Emirates Space Innovation Group (ESIG). The group has been established to develop the science, technology and innovation capabilities in space sector in the UAE and to coordinate projects being undertaken by stakeholders across the space sector, including government entities, corporate elements, universities, and research facilities.

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USSTRATCOM Signs Space Situational Awareness Agreement With UAE Space Agency

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (UAESA PR) — The United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) entered into an agreement with the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to share space situational awareness (SSA) services and information today at the 32nd Space Symposium.

The arrangement, which will enhance awareness within the space domain and increase the safety of spaceflight operations, was formalized in a memorandum of understanding that was signed by His Excellency, Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi, the UAESA chairman, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, USSTRATCOM director of plans and policy.
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UAE Mars Probe to be Launched on Japanese Rocket

H-IIA launch (Credit: JAXA)
H-IIA launch (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO & DUBAI, UAE (MHI/MBRSC PR)–Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (TOKYO:7011) (MHI) has received an order for H-IIA launch services from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for launch of the Emirates Mars Mission’s (EMM) Hope spacecraft.

In order to better understand the Martian atmosphere and climate, Hope is expected to be launched in the summer of 2020 on MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle, and is set to arrive at Mars in 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. This order for the EMM marks MHI’s fourth overseas contract for its launch services.

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JAXA, UAE Space Agency Sign Cooperation Agreement

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoTOKYO (JAXA PR) — On March 22, 2016, Dr. Naoki Okumura, President of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and H.E Dr. Khalifa Mohammed Thani Al-Romaithi, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the UAESA, newly signed an “Arrangement between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency regarding Cooperation in Space Activities and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes” to strengthen the cooperation between JAXA and UAESA.
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