US gifts 'moonwalk flag' to UAE
Flag carried to the moon on board Apollo 14 months before UAE's independence.
The Dubai Airshow's US International Pavilion has presented the UAE Space Agency with a flag that was carried to the moon in 1971 - just months before the UAE's independence.
The six by four inch flag - which was carried on board the Apollo 14 mission and signed by Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell - was given to the UAE Space Agency Chairman, Khalifa Mohammed Al Romaithi, and Director-General, Mohammed Al Ahbabi.
The flag comes with an Apollo 14 mission patch and a photo of Mitchell on the moon taken by mission Commander Alan Shepherd.
"In the spirit of innovation, exploration and discovery that unites all mankind, we present this flag of the US, flown to the moon on Apollo 14 (on) January 31 - February 9, 1971, to the UAE Space Agency, with sincere best wishes for success," reads the inscription.
The American delegation at the ceremony was led by Kallman Worldwide, the organiser of the airshow's American International Pavilion. The other companies presenting the gift - which included Boeing, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin - were all contractors in the original Apollo programme, direct descendants of those contractors or are presently involved in space exploration.
"From pilot-to-pilot, generation-to-generation, aviators, and especially space explorers, share a mission to further the reaches of science. Apollo had extraordinary influence on the aerospace industry, and the presenters of this flag carry the programme's 'DNA' as they continue to forge our future," said Kallman Worldwide President and CEO Tom Kallman.
"Nation-to-nation, people-to-people, we're proud to present this gift as a symbol of goodwill and partnership to the UAE Space Agency and the new generation of pioneers and professionals who will engineer its vision to reality," he added.
Dr Al Romaithi noted that the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan met several members of Nasa's Apollo teams in the 1970s.
"We are delighted and honoured by this gesture of goodwill, and we thank the American aerospace companies and Kallman Worldwide for such a symbolic and meaningful gift," he said.
"His Highness the late Shaikh Zayed met with some of the Apollo teams in the 70s, and always had a vision for the UAE to enter into the space industry. We are proud today to be present here with a fully-fledged space agency welcoming the world's leading aerospace organisations to the UAE for the Dubai Airshow."
Dr Al Ahbabi said the Dubai Airshow offered a good chance for the UAE Space Agency to build ties with American companies involved in aerospace and space exploration.
"We share strong connections between the two countries, and we believe that through working together and cooperating we will exchange best practices and learn from each other as we all grow and develop within the sector," he said.
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