In a Lecture Held by the ECSSR, Al Ahbabi: “The UAE and Space, a Dream Turned into Reality”

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) organized lecture No. (752) on Thursday evening, July 16, 2020, titled ‘From Dream to Reality: An Overview of the UAE Space Sector’. The lecture was delivered by H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency. The ECSSR broadcast the lecture on its Twitter page, which attracted many interested viewers.

Dr. Al Ahbabi began by discussing the UAE’s motivations for investing in space exploration, which has seen it develop the largest space industry in the Middle East. He explored the social, economic, strategic and scientific importance of the sector; as a source of inspiration, a platform for creativity and a model of cooperation.

The lecturer then offered some background on the UAE’s space program, which through tireless efforts, has reached the historic stage of the Hope Probe launch. He discussed the nine components of the sector, the most prominent being the Emirates Mars Mission, the UAE Astronaut Programme and the UAE Space Agency. Summarizing the UAE Space Agency’s main objectives, Dr. Al Ahbabi explained that it regulates the space sector, develops human resources, promotes scientific research and is carrying out the Mars Mission.

Dr. Al Ahbabi also detailed the legislative framework for the space sector in the UAE, referring to the space accords the UAE has signed. The UAE is an active member of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, the International Space Information Alliance and the International Astronautical Federation.

In emphasizing the importance of international space partnerships and cooperation, Dr. Al Ahbabi said the UAE has signed more than thirty international agreements and memoranda of understanding. He also stressed the vital importance of Arab space cooperation, which was initiated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai (may God protect him), with the launch of the Arab Space Cooperation Group last year in Abu Dhabi. The Group brings together a variety of space and scientific institutions and entities from the Arab world.

Dr. Al Ahbabi concluded his lecture by discussing the mission of the Arab Geniuses Space Programme, which aims to train young Arabs to become specialists in space technology and science, in order to join the space sector. He also spoke about the UAE Astronaut Programme and its development, beginning with the selection of astronauts and leading up to the International Space Station mission, which launched on September 25, 2019.