UAE Leads the Arab and Muslim World into Space

  • 17 July 2014

When it is said that the UAE’s ambitions are boundless and that nothing is impossible for the country, it is not a mere slogan but fulfillment of the wise UAE leadership’s determination to succeed. This determination was evident in the announcement made by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him) and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, regarding the establishment of a space agency with a project to send an unmanned probe to Mars in the Arab world’s first mission to another planet. Led by a UAE team, this will be a scientific expedition to reach the Red Planet in the next seven years, which is significant considering 2021 marks the UAE’s 50th anniversary.

Space exploration has always been limited to countries that had access to advanced technology. However, the UAE has belief in its ability to compete in any area of development as long as it owns the tools and mechanisms of this competition. The country has the confidence, material and human resources, good planning, and a strategy for the future, all of which is based on a clear vision. This was confirmed by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who said on the occasion: “We aim for the UAE to be among the top countries in the field of aerospace by 2021. We have immense faith in Allah and in the talent of our young people. We have the strongest determination, the greatest ambitions, and a clear plan to reach our targets.”

The most distinguishing characteristic of the UAE’s development philosophy has been that it doesn’t seek to excel by regional standards, but as per global ones. The country believes that big goals create synergies, encourage determination and mobilize capabilities. As a result, the UAE always chooses major challenges for itself and isn’t satisfied with whatever great achievements it has made already. It seeks to make progress a continuous process that does not stop at a certain point, irrespective of its rank. This was reflected in the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum when he said: “We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward.”

The most important characteristic of the UAE’s space project is that it leads the Arab and Islamic worlds into space, to send the first Arab and Islamic probe to Mars. Moreover, the unmanned probe will be led by a team from the UAE. The UAE has opened a new horizon before Arab and Islamic countries for space exploration and active participation in this vital discipline. At the same time, it has also laid a foundation for the nation’s human workforce in this domain. It shows that our wise leadership is not only interested in bringing advanced technology from abroad but also in producing it, and building a technological base, which depends on national human resource who have the tools of modern science in various fields.