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UAE Space Agency advisory committee convenes in Abu Dhabi to review national space strategy

Posted 23 May 2016 · Add Comment

The UAE Space Agency advisory committee convened Monday in Abu Dhabi to discuss and review the Agency's achievements in developing the national space sector and its future approach. The committee comprises an elite group of space experts and officials from around the globe.

The meeting was attended by Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency and members of the advisory committee, consisting of a number of world-class experts, specialists and officials in the global space sector. 

During the meeting, committee members discussed UAE space policy, strategy, regulations updates, and possibilities for developing the UAE into a regional space hub. They also addressed ways for the UAE Space Agency to play an international role and participate in international projects, agreeing on a level to be reached over the next 15 years and ways to generate financial return and protect space-related assets. 

The committee assessed the potential for the Space Agency to capitalise on the worldwide interest it has received since being founded, as demonstrated by the number of Memorandums of Understandings it has signed with various space agencies, bodies and stakeholders. The meeting looked at events and projects that the Space Agency should focus on and organise within the UAE, as well as the role it can play within the United Nations’ space-related offices and committees. 

The committee debated the current and future initiatives for human development that the Agency has introduced in light of the need for qualified specialists in the space sector on the whole. Members advised on the best international universities and institutions that the Space Agency should work with, including the provision of internships and scholarships, in an effort to encourage students to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses. 

The Space Agency capitalised on the expertise within the advisory committee to predict future space activities within the international space sector, including opportunities following the “Hope Probe” Mars project, exploitation of space resources, the sub-orbital flights market, and the future of the International Space Station after 2024. 

Al Romaithi said: “The second meeting of the Advisory Committee of the UAE Space Agency comes at a time when the Space Agency is working on finalizing the draft national policy for the space sector space. It will determine the major features of the overall strategy for the sector, as well as legislative regulations and laws governing future space-related activities.” 

He added: “The national policy for the space sector in the UAE aims to build an industry that is strong and sustainable — one that supports and protects national interests and other vital sectors, and that contributes to economic diversification and growth. It also seeks to enhance Emirati talent, develop scientific and technical capabilities, and nurture a culture of innovation and national pride, thus consolidating the UAE's role and position both in the region and across the world.”

Al Romaithi expressed his confidence in the opinions shared by members of the advisory committee and their comments on the draft policy, stating that they are extremely valuable due to the experience they have enjoyed across various fields. This includes governmental criteria for success, knowledge of space technologies, experience in space research, and expertise in relevant regulation and legislation. All have occupied posts in senior leadership positions in a range of agencies and research centers. 

Al Romaithi noted that the advisory committee was formed to provide the necessary guidance over the creation and development of the Space Agency. “We greatly benefit from the collection of this unique elite of specialists and experts in various fields and disciplines meeting under one roof,” he said. 

He added: “The benefit and exchange of experiences with space specialists is part of the framework of the strategic plans for the UAE, which were drafted in line with the vision of the wise leadership. It is all in line with the UAE's 2021 vision, which aims to help the UAE become one of the best countries in the world by the time of its 50thanniversary.” 

Al Romaithi said that the UAE Space Agency is about to take a major leap forward since its inception two years ago, as it nears the completion of a regulatory framework for the space sector. The Space Agency is now ending its establishment phase and beginning projects, activities, and future space missions. He noted the pivotal role played by the advisory committee in supporting the development of these projects and initiatives. 

He clarified that the “Hope Probe" project to explore Mars remains at the top of the Space Agency’s projects, given not only the scientific significance that it will bring to mankind, but also the boost it will provide in developing the national space sector. 

Al Romaithi added: “This ambitious project puts the UAE in the ranks of developed countries that have space programs. This will serve as the pride of the nation — and the region as a whole — as it is the first Arab project to launch a space probe to explore other planets. It is a sign of the Arab world's capacity  to contribute to the enrichment of human civilisation and knowledge.”

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