UAE, US eye closer space cooperation

Officials from the two countries met in Washington on Friday and reviewed “a broad list of potential areas of space cooperation”.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 23 Mar 2015, 1:06 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:35 PM

Dubai - As global space industry revenues reach more than $300 billion, the UAE’s presence on the world scene has well and truly lifted-off, with the US and UAE agreeing to work towards greater civil and national security space cooperation.

Officials from the two countries met in Washington on Friday and reviewed “a broad list of potential areas of space cooperation”, US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.

“They agreed on developing a strategic approach that would focus on building mutual confidence and understanding of space systems on which both countries rely for economic, environmental, security and social well-being.”

With talks focused on issues including space policy and regulatory developments, space security, space science cooperation, weather monitoring and the use of satellite-based applications, Friday’s meet further highlights the UAE’s dedication towards increasing its dominance in the space arena.

After entering the space arena in 2000 with the launch of Boeing-built satellite, Thuraya, the UAE has continued to remain actively present in the sector.

In August last year, the newly established UAE Space Agency was launched and in cooperation with the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), plans to build an unmanned probe to be sent to Mars were also announced.

Though the UAE robotic spacecraft will not land on Mars, it will orbit the Red Planet to measure atmospheric data — a task that no other such probes have done before.

If successful, the Emirati probe could bring home the answer to what happened to Mars’ waters. Due to launch in 2021, the mission will coincide with the nation’s 50th anniversary.

Earlier this month, EIAST also tasked Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for the launch of the landmark project, KhalifaSat.

Noted as the most advanced satellite ever created for the UAE and the first to be conceptualised and built by a team of Emirati engineers, KhalifaSat will be launched on MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Gosat-2.

The satellite will be tasked to observe the progression of greenhouse gases on Earth.

With global space industry revenues reaching $300 billion in 2014, satellite manufacturing, launch vehicle manufacturing, satellite services, space mission’s and ground equipment are noted among some of the biggest money spinners in the business.

So as Abu Dhabi and Dubai continue to invest time, money and efforts in the sector, it’s bid to become a well-established and respected player in the world has taken off. -kelly@khaleejtimes.com



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