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Emirates gifts satellite to strengthen Arab expertise

Posted 2 July 2019 · Add Comment

The Global Space Congress, the largest gathering of space industry leaders hosted by the Middle East and North Africa region, was held at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi from March 18-21. Steve Nichols reports.

No less than 15 space agency heads were attracted to the conference, as well as executives from leading aerospace companies, government bodies, organisations and institutions.
They were there to discuss a range of important topics related to the sector, plus policies and strategies.
The conference featured more than 50 specialised sessions, including the sustainability of the space environment, the exploitation of space resources and mining, as well as the protection of national infrastructure and new space projects.
In addition, the conference highlighted the future of manned space missions, the role of governments in promoting investment in the space sector, manufacturing and technology.
The Emirates Aerospace Agency (ESA) announced the details of its 813th satellite – a gift from the UAE to the Arab States.
The multi-spectral satellite will monitor the Earth and measure the environmental and climatic elements, vegetation, soil types, minerals and water sources, as well as measuring greenhouse gases, pollution and dust in the air in a number of Arab countries.
The satellite will be funded by the Emirates Space Agency and will be developed by Arab engineers at the National Center for Space Science and Technology at the University of the United Arab Emirates in Al Ain.
The National Center for Space Science and Technology was established in cooperation with the Emirates Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) and the United Arab Emirates University (UAE). It is the first space research centre in the Middle East and a hub for research, development and innovation.
The development of the satellite will take three years and it will have a lifespan of about five years in its polar orbit of 600 kilometres. Its data will be sent to a ground station in the UAE and receiving stations in other Arab countries.
The new satellite will be designed and manufactured by a number of Arab engineers and young people from countries that have signed the ‘Arab Group for Space Cooperation’ charter.
To date, the charter has been signed by the UAE, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Democratic Republic of Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the Lebanese Republic, the State of Kuwait, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Dr Ahmed bin Abdullah Humaid Al-Falus, minister of state for higher education and advanced skills, said: “The new satellite will be developed by the hands of the Arabs to serve Arabs and will play a major role in enhancing Arab capabilities in the field of space manufacturing.”
The conference also included a variety of activities to inspire and encourage young people to expand their knowledge of opportunities in the sector.
The youth space leaders forum, which seeks to empower young people and develop their capacity to contribute to the global space sector, sought ways to nurture and encourage young people with potential.
The conference also hosted the next generation space forum, which offered a variety of activities and workshops designed specifically for students of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, director general of the Emirates Space Agency, said: “The second edition of the conference has succeeded in attracting the world’s most important space leaders, who represent the leading space agencies working on advanced space projects for decades. This highlights the UAE’s prominent place in the global space map.
“Through various working sessions, the conference seeks to cover all topics related to the global space sector, encouraging all parties to share their experiences and opinions in a manner that will lead to the development of future forms of cooperation.”
 

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