United Arab Emirates Launches National Space Agency Strategy

By Schreck, Adam | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), May 26, 2015 | Go to article overview

United Arab Emirates Launches National Space Agency Strategy


Schreck, Adam, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates on Monday laid out a strategic framework for a newly created space agency that aims to integrate various arms of the Gulf federations burgeoning space industry. The seven-state federation, perhaps best known for its oil wealth and extravagant attractions like Dubais palm-shaped islands and the record-breaking Burj Khalifa skyscraper, is fast establishing itself as the Arab worlds leader in the space sector.

The UAE Space Agency, created last year by presidential decree, aims to regulate and support the industry, which includes existing Earth-orbiting satellite programs and plans for a mission to Mars in 2020.

Agency Chairman Khalifa Mohammed Thani al-Rumaithi said the space industry will help diversify the countrys economy and create highly skilled jobs for a growing youth population.

The United Arab Emirates is seeking to confirm its status as a spacefaring nation, he told a gathering at an event rolling out the federal body in the capital, Abu Dhabi, that featured models of Emirati satellites and waiters serving space-themed canaps, like hummus in metal squeeze tubes.

Space technology is one of several high-tech industries the OPEC member is championing as a way to broaden an economy still heavily dependent on oil.

Thuraya, an Emirates-based satellite phone operator, was responsible for the countrys first commercial satellite, launched in 2000.

The Emirates first government- backed satellite, an Earth- observation satellite known as DubaiSat-1, blasted into orbit atop a Russian rocket launched from Kazakhstan in 2009. It and the follow- up DubaiSat-2 were collaborations between Emirati engineers and a South Korean satellite firm. …

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