UAE’s moon mission is a new beginning for space cooperation

This is a fresh beginning for the country

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Published: Wed 15 Jun 2022, 11:49 PM

Space for peace is the UAE’s motto as the country pushes for cooperation in the sector for the benefit of humanity. There is a larger purpose in the country’s projects: to seek, find and benefit from its first missions. After the successful manned space mission in 2020 and the Mars Hope mission the following year when the pandemic was at its peak, the country’s moon mission is on track to launch by the end of the year. Space agencies around the world have collaborated with the UAE on these missions that turn our eyes from the conflicts that threaten humanity to a new phase of exploration in what is known as the last frontier. Space has been exploited in the past by superpowers who raced to get there first. Modern powers like the US, Russia, China, and India have even developed missiles to shoot down satellites to show their military prowess. Fears of the weaponisation of the sector are real and countries like the UAE are keen to set things right in the sector.

For the UAE, this is a fresh beginning, as it seeks to strive to give a new direction to space projects leaving behind the animosities that scarred past missions. It’s even chairing a panel for the peaceful purposes of peace and is using its influence to make space safer and a friendly sector where every country has a role to play. To put the UAE’s current mission in context, it’s important to turn the pages of history. It began with the space race when the erstwhile USSR beat the United States to launch the first satellite in 1957. In 1961, the Soviets had the distinction of sending the first man to space. Yuri Gagarin became synonymous with the frontier until the United States did one better to send a manned mission to the moon in 1969. Neil Armstrong became the toast of a generation, a cult figure of sorts. The Soviets, for the record, never managed to send a human to the moon, and the US lost interest in lunar missions in the 1970s. Meanwhile, the Cold War between the US and USSR had reached its peak. Confrontation in the last frontier seemed inevitable in the 1980s. The US Strategic Defense Initiative named Stars Wars took it to a dangerous level with a plan to deploy missiles in space to defend against Intercontinental Continental Ballistic Missiles, if the USSR ever intended to use them against Washington. Mercifully, that did not happen with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But space is becoming crowded with several, often unregulated missions being launched. Debris is threatening vehicles and space stations. The private sector led by the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and wants a say and slice of the profits. The UAE’s active presence in the sector opens new avenues for collaboration and goes beyond profits. And with the launch of the moon mission that will carry the Rashid rover, the UAE is set to make history, and like we said earlier, a new beginning for humans in the final frontier.

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