UAE's success in space journey inspires young explorer in Philippines

On Sunday, the Emirates launched Rashid Rover; if successful, it will be the first Emirati and Arab mission, and only the fourth globally, to land on the surface of the Moon

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Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 12 Dec 2022, 6:51 PM

The UAE’s achievements in space are inspiring a new generation of explorers and researchers in the Philippines, a top official from the Philippine Space Agency said.

“We are truly inspired by what the UAE has been accomplishing and continues to do in the space domain. And this has inspired Filipinos, especially youngsters,” Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr, Director General of the Philippine Space Agency said in an interview with Khaleej Times.

On Sunday, Rashid Rover, the UAE’s latest space mission was launched. If successful, it will be the first Emirati and Arab mission, and only the fourth globally, to land on the surface of the Moon.

“The UAE has emerged in space in a short span of time, similar in some ways to the Philippines, that is building up. When we look to international cooperation, there are various countries with different efforts in space, and we see the UAE as a good partner in building up such capabilities and creating value in space for the benefit of not just our respective countries, but also for the entire humanity.”

While the UAE Space Agency was established in 2014, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) was created in 2019. The UAE has an ambitious space programme starting with missions to Mars, Moon, and a planned one to Venus.

Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana and Joel Joseph S Marciano Jr in Abu Dhabi.
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana and Joel Joseph S Marciano Jr in Abu Dhabi.

Marciano Jr pointed out that the progress of the UAE space missions, and projects have been keenly followed in the Philippines.

“It is truly inspirational to witness the aspirations of the UAE. They are so focused, dedicated and committed to it, and to creating that impact for the society, and how it is a mission of nation building, which resonates with that of the Philippines. One way to build a nation is of course to look forward to these capabilities, including in space that can help us address various challenges, not just now, but in the future.”

Recently during the Abu Dhabi Space Debate both the agencies inked a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in scientific research, space exploration and knowledge exchange.

“This could involve our universities and researchers, also interfacing with universities and researchers in the UAE, building relationships and starting projects, exchange of students, researchers and academics. We look forward to the exchange of these young people. When we have partnerships with young people and academics, these are long-lasting relationships because they take it into their career, and they start writing proposals and projects together. So, it’s a good backdrop to build a relationship,” Marciano Jr said and noted such cooperation can result in developing “further connections” between different public and private sector entities, and universities in their respective countries.

Data, information sharing

Marciano Jr said that the PhilSA has been using space technologies, Earth observation-derived data to address disaster risk reduction management, agriculture, food security among others.

“There are similar concerns in the UAE, which can be addressed by such data and services and in general, capabilities from space.”

Marciano Jr underlined that PhilSA can provide important data and information to help the scientific community and humanity at large.

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“We have plenty of experience in the value adding and processing of these satellite data, because we have to deal with various environmental challenges and that’s where you can get these data from satellites. So, I think there’s plenty of room for sharing experiences, best practices and therefore deriving value from these types of activities.”

The space agency, he highlighted, is continuing to build up and seeks more global partnership to learn, innovate and grow, including enhancing relations with the UAE in space.

“We continue to build satellites. We have six small satellites. These are two for Earth observation and four, which are our cube satellites, which are technology demonstration and student-led projects. That’s an area of cooperation we did like to have with the UAE, which is to build more of these international satellites between universities and students.”

PhilSA is planning to launch a multi-spectral Earth observation satellite, Marciano Jr said.

“As we continue to write the young history of the Philippines in space, the UAE will have a significant chapter in that history in terms of promoting cooperation and peaceful, responsible and sustainable uses of outer space.”


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