Sheikh Mohammed meets UAE astronauts
Dubai - The Emirati space sector is the largest in the region in terms of size, diversity and foreign direct investment.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday, October 29, met with the UAE's astronauts, Hazzaa AlMansoori - the first Emirati to reach space - and reserve astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.
In the meeting held on the sidelines of a Cabinet session, Sheikh Mohammed praised AlMansoori's achievement of becoming the Arab astronaut to travel to the International Space Station and took part in a discussion on the milestones crossed by the country's space sector.
The meeting was attended by Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences; Yousef Hamad Al Shaibani, director-general of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre; and Salem Al Marri, head of the UAE Astronaut Programme.
UAE's space industry
The Emirati space sector is the largest in the region in terms of size, diversity and foreign direct investment. It has mapped out clear plans for future programmes and it is supported by a legislative and regulatory system, making it one of the country's fastest-growing sectors.
Currently, the UAE owns and operates eight major communication and space surveillance satellites, as well as two research satellites, Naif-1 and MySat-1.
It also plans to launch another eight research satellites before 2021, including the Hope Probe and Ain Al Saqr Surveillance Satellite.
The country's investment in space amounts to Dh22 billion, with a nine per cent annual growth rate.
It is home to the first Arab space agency and has been working on the Arab World's first Mars exploration project.
There are four research centres in the industry, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences, the National Space Science and Technology Centre at UAE University in Al Ain, Masdar Institute Research Laboratories, and the Yahsat Space Lab at Khalifa University.
Over 1,500 employees in their 30s work for 50 various companies in the national space sector, with 30 per cent being Emiratis and 35 per cent being women.