UAE Space Agency's strategic plan launched


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday witnessed the launch of the Strategic Plan for the UAE Space Agency in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was joined by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister.

"The establishment of a fully-fledged space sector in the UAE, with all necessary human resources, infrastructure and scientific research, is a primary national objective. It requires everyone involved to work as one team to establish the UAE’s leadership in this sector and to build advanced scientific capabilities in the space domain," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.

"The Hope Probe and the UAE Space Agency are milestones for the development of the UAE. Today, we are at the dawn of a new era that holds the promise of ambitious advancements; an era in which we build our national capacity and establish a new international standing for the UAE in the space sector. Building a new space sector that is integrated and comprehensive is a value-added step for our national economy, technical knowledge, human capital, and international reputation", Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.

The ceremony, held in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, detailed the strategy of the UAE Space Agency with a programme including the Agency’s mission, vision and priorities for the future. The event also introduced a number of initiatives and programmes being carried out in line with the Agency’s four strategic goals. These UAE Space Agency initiatives will pave the way for the UAE’s entrance into the global space sector as the Agency works to organise and support the space sector in the UAE.

Along the sidelines of the event, Their Highnesses, ministers, representatives of government agencies, national leaders and representatives from international space agencies toured the Space Experience and Exhibition Area, which includes a ‘Mini Space Museum’ organised in cooperation with the Global Space & Satellite Forum (GSSF). The GSSF aims to strengthen awareness of the space sector and is being held from May 26-27 in Abu Dhabi. The forum will highlight a number of international programmes and experiences in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Missions and the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Mir Space Station.

Sheikh Mohammed also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Orbital ATK Inc. The agreement between the three entities, with coordination and oversight from the UAE Space Agency, marks the launch of a joint venture to introduce a graduate degree programmein Advanced Space Science for the first time in the Middle East. The programme, which enjoys the support of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will allow students to earn a Master’s Degree in Engineering with a Focus on Space Systems and Technology.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid observed the first-ever Airbus Little Engineer Space Workshop. More than 100 students from UAE public and private schools took part in the educational workshop, organised by the UAE Space Agency in cooperation with Airbus Group.
In his introductory speech to attendees, the Chairman of the UAE Space Agency Dr. Khalifa Mohammed Al Rumaithi said, "The UAE was founded upon the great hopes and aspirations of its founders to be a world-leading nation. Under the guidance and leadership of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, those hopes and aspirations have been made a reality."

"The UAE’s focus on space is no mere impulse or whim," Dr. Rumaithi added. "The UAE’s path to space dates back to 1976, when the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan met the NASA team responsible for the Apollo Moon programme. That meeting inspired nearly three decades of efforts guiding the UAE towards space and will be realised with the arrival the Hope Probe at the red planet in the coming years."

"The UAE has developed a long-term strategic plan to create a solid and sustainable foundation for a society based on science and knowledge," Dr. Rumaithi said. "This in turn will lead to advanced discoveries and innovations in the space sector, stimulate the economy and affirm the UAE’s place as an international player in this pioneering sector."

Dr. Rumaithi went on to note in his speech that the value of the UAE’s investment in the space sector today exceeds Dh20 billion ($5.4 billion). That investment is represented by the UAE’s space-based communications systems, data services, satellite TV broadcasting, mobile telecommunications industry and other space-based industries and technologies. Dr. Rumaithi pointed to the pivotal role of the UAE Space Agency in organising this growing sector and in training Emiratis to become world leaders in the space sector in accordance with the UAE’s message to the world: that Emiratis are willing and able to take on any challenge.

The UAE Space Agency’s Director General Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi said: "The UAE Space Agency has drafted its strategic plan in line with the vision of the wise leadership of the UAE and the UAE Vision 2021  aimed at establishing the UAE as one of the world’s leading countries in time for the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the nation."

Dr. Al Ahbabi noted that the UAE Space Agency’s focus on human development would be a true pillar of future progress. Over the course of 2015, the UAE Space Agency will select 15 gifted students as an academic delegation traveling overseas and within the UAE. This educational mission will be in partnership with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Fund. The UAE Space Agency will work with educational and academic bodies to use the concept of space as an inspiration and encouragement for students to embark on the study of science and technology in order to contribute to the UAE’s journey toward space.

Dr. Al Ahbabi also revealed that the agency is working on the establishment of the first Space Research Centre in the Middle East. The centre, which will cost nearly Dh100 million over five years, is the result of a strategic partnership between the UAE Space Agency, UAE University and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority represented by the ICT Fund. The centre will act as an incubator for space research and innovation at the federal level. To that end, the UAE Space Agency will coordinate with a number of agencies to implement the Emirates Mobile Observatory projects, to help enrich research and innovation in the field of space.
The UAE Space Agency indicated that the strategic plan was part of an overall vision of "proudly crafting the future of the UAE as a leader in space, and to inspire future generations for the benefit of the nation and humankind." This goal is backed by its mission in organising and guiding the space sector, contributing to the national economy and sustainable development, preparing generations of highly skilled professionals, and developing space research, programmes and strategic partnerships.

The UAE Space Agency’s strategic plan consists of four main objectives. The first is to develop and guide a world-class national space sector that serves the country’s highest interests, contributes to a diversified national economy and supports sustainable development. The second is to promote scientific research and innovation to support the state’s scientific progress in space sciences and technologies. The third is to attract and promote national resources to become space scientists and technology pioneers. The Agency’s fourth objective is to build and enhance international cooperation and partnership in a manner that serves the national space sector and that provides administrative services with high quality standards and transparency.

The UAE Space Agency will create international partnerships to develop the national space sector in order to contribute to and facilitate knowledge transfers of Space technology. The agency also aims to represent the UAE in international conventions and programmes, the application of space technology, as well as contributing to space conferences and seminars within and outside the UAE. Moreover, the Agency will lend a helping hand to the tech sector in utilising space science and technology in the UAE. It will also provide consultation and technical support for all space sector stakeholders in the UAE.

Within the framework of those objectives, the strategic plan will be built on five pillars: Emirati pride, integrity, excellence, commitment, cooperation and innovation.

The UAE Space Agency’s plan contains a number of initiatives, programmes and activities that the Agency team will implement. To that end, key performance indicators have been put in place to match real-world performance with the goals of each initiative and program. Among the most important initiatives is working with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and the Hope Probe team to deliver the Mars orbiter project on time, within budget and in accordance with industry best-practices.

The UAE Space Agency’s programmes concentrate on creating the organisational and legal framework for the space sector as well as its development and guidance. Moreover, these programs will support national efforts in the space sector, develop youth talent and increase public awareness about space.
Ex- NASA scientist and Apollo missions team member Dr. Farouk El Baz said: "I would like to congratulate all citizens of the UAE for what has been achieved by this young nation in less than half a century.

"Many people may not know that the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, cared greatly about space and the scientific results achieved from the Apollo trips."

El Baz highlighted that he first met the late Sheikh Zayed in June 1974 following the end of the Apollo lunar exploration mission. He went on to meet Sheikh Zayed two more times along with astronauts from the Apollo missions to explain their missions. 

He added: "UAE leaders have continued to be interested in identifying the secrets of the universe through space expeditions. The most important thing that becomes clear from all of the above is that the UAE intends to realise the hopes of Arabs everywhere."
Samer Halawi, CEO of Thuraya Telecommunications Company, underlined Thuraya’s commitment to supporting the UAE Space Agency. Mr. Halawi commented on the inauguration of the UAE Space Agency strategic plan, saying: "We are proud to be part of the UAE’s effort to place itself among the leading countries for satellite technology and the overall space sector. We strongly believe that the UAE is ready to lead the way."

He added: "The UAE has come a long way in the space sector. Thuraya Telecommunications provides mobile satellite communication and data services to 160 countries. There is also YahSat for satellite communications, data transfer and broadcasting services, in addition to the Dubai Sat System. All of these achievements lead us to believe that the UAE will continue develop its abilities here on Earth and will have a valuable contribution to space science in order to serve humanity, which will earn the UAE pride of place in the international space sector."
Yahsat CEO Masood. M. Sharif Mahmoud commented: "Space is proving to be a major economic driver here in the UAE, and for nations elsewhere. Through the UAE Space Agency, the country has developed a long-term strategic plan to create a solid and sustainable foundation for advanced space innovation and exploration – a plan of which we are proud to be part.

''We remain confident that our collective industry experience and cutting-edge technology will continue to provide an excellent platform to launch the next phase of growth for the industry across the Middle East. This is only the start of the UAE’s satellite and space adventure, and Yahsat is wholly committed to the rest of the journey."
The UAE Space Agency will join the international space community to support space exploration and the international scientific community. The Agency will also oversee the development of the space sector in the UAE through the management and coordination of space-related activities.

The UAE Space Agency has developed its strategy in support of three main objectives stipulated by Decree No. 1 of 2014 issued by the the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. That legal decree established the UAE Space Agency as a federal authority reporting directly to the Cabinet with financial and administrative independence. These three objectives comprise the development of the UAE Space sector, the development of policies for space-related activities and the promotion of space projects that will benefit the UAE economy.
The UAE Space Programme focuses on utilising local space technology, enabling Emirati scientists and engineers to focus on knowledge transfers, and establishing a basis for an integrated educational structure. Led by the wise vision of the UAE leadership, this vision aims at developing human capital in industrial, research and academic institutions that are the basis upon which sustainable development is built.

The UAE Space Agency indicated that the efforts made towards capacity building would set an example and outline the initial features of the UAE’s experience in the space sector. Under the supervision of a national authority, this advancement in space technology will be employed to serve various development programmes. The Hope Probe to Mars is one such example of a scientific platform for future development in the space sector.

In line with UAE’s first steps in space, the UAE Space Agency will continue in its efforts to attract talented students in the UAE in order to nurture their talents in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).The UAE’s initial steps will include contributions to satellite technology as well as working with agencies like NASA and European Space Agency to train the new generation of engineers. Building on these investments, the UAE will be able to realise its development goals.

The UAE Space Agency’s strategy to discover these talents will include invitations to apply for research scholarships and awards for sharing ideas, designs, experiences, missions and goals. Likewise, the agency will empower UAE students to consistently achieve success in astronomy and space in advanced countries such as the United States, European countries, Republic of Korea and Japan, through educational institutions and regional agencies.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said: "We applaud the initiatives of the UAE Space Agency as it officially launches today. Space offers the opportunity for inspiration, discovery and progress. The aerospace industry is driving economic growth and technological innovation around the world, and the UAE is at the forefront of these trends." 
The inaugural Airbus Little Engineer Space Workshop will challenge some 100 students aged 15 - 17 to carry out a simulation of a launch mission to space. The workshop focuses on introducing students to the world of space exploration and enhancing their understanding of the benefits and applications of space technology. Over the course of four hours, students will assemble and launch a rocket, set up a base and establish communications. In addition to its direct scientific applications, Airbus Little Engineer Space Workshops will help students practice soft skills including teamwork, communication, critical thinking, public speaking and creativity.

The Airbus Group Little Engineer initiative aims at instilling a passion for science at an early age and encouraging students to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through a series of exciting, hands-on workshops.

The workshops will also be offered as part of the Global Space & Satellite Forum 2015, which is officially hosted by the UAE Space Agency and will continue for three days at Adnec.
Francois Auque, Head of Space Systems at Airbus Space, said: "The UAE, in a very short span of time, has played a key role in the advancement of space activities in the region. As the UAE embarks on a historic mission to Mars, we are convinced that it will become a major contributor to the development of space technologies for the future. This leap forward is poised to create a legacy that will benefit generations to come not just in the Emirates, but across the Middle East region. As an organisation with technical know-how and a long-term commitment to this region, it was only natural for us to collaborate with the UAE Space Agency and introduce the Airbus Little Engineer initiative here to make a lasting impact and instil a passion for science and technology among the youth of this nation."

The UAE Space agency has organised a mini museum in cooperation with the Global Space and Satellite Forum,which aims at enhancing knowledge about the space industry by shedding light on space adventures.

The little museum, carried out along the side-lines of the launch of the UAE Space Agency Strategic Plan, coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Missions and the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Mir Space Station. The museum highlights the efforts of these missions and their contributions to human knowledge.
The museum showcases models of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project missions in addition to original tools used during the missions including headsets, a USSR stamped document signed by Alexey Leonev, and the Fisher Space Pen. The Museum includes letters written by the astronaut Donald Deke Slayton and plastic and glass models of the Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 spacecraft.
Earlier this month, the UAE revealed the scientific and technical details and timeline of the UAE Hope Probe, which will be launched to orbit and study Mars and is scheduled to arrive in 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s founding. The probe will be made by a team of Emirati engineers and scientists in cooperation with prestigious scientific and research centres around the world.

The UAE project to explore Mars is the first Arab project of its kind, and will demonstrate that the Arab world is capable of enriching civilisation and human knowledge. The Hope Probe will also prove that enthusiasm, confidence and ambition can lead to success, despite the hardships the Arab world is facing. It is also a real model to be followed by other nations and to inspire the people of the Middle East.

The Hope Probe will stand as a symbol of hope and as a source of inspiration for new generations to look for a future filled with opportunity.
Dr. Charles Elachi, Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, said: "The UAE’s Hope Probe to Mars will not only advance human scientific knowledge and strengthen the UAE’s technological capabilities; it will also provide inspiration to all the young people in the UAE and throughout the Arab world "
The UAE Space Agency is hosting the Global Space & Satellite Forum (GSSF) 2015. Taking place in Abu Dhabi from May 26-27, the 5th GSSF will bring together more than 400 C-level executives, senior decision makers and government officials from the space and satellite sector.

The event will discuss topics such as space technology applications, innovative solutions, low-cost satellite developments such as miniature satellites, and how satellite systems are improving lives – ranging from life-saving developments in disaster management to the delivery of entertainment media via handheld consumer devices.
Mohammed attends MoU signing of Master’s Degree Program in Space Systems and Technology

Yahsat, wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Orbital ATK on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to announce the joint creation of the first Master’s level advanced studies space program in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, in the presence of  Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktou. The program is endorsed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Alongside Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the signing was also be attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar; Homaid Al Shemmari, CEO of Aerospace and Engineering Services at Mubadala; Jassem Al Zaabi, Chairman of Yahsat; Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director-General, UAE Space Agency, and Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute.
The MoU was signed by each of Dr. Ahmed Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, Masood Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat, and Tom Wilson, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development on behalf of David W. Thompson, President and CEO of Orbital ATK.
The development of this program goes along with the establishment of the UAE Space Agency last year and the nation’s goal of entering the space industry through the launch of the ‘Hope Probe’ in 2021. The initiative also forms a part of the UAE’s efforts to encourage innovation across the nation, following the pronouncement of 2015 being the ‘Year of Innovation’.
Aimed at facilitating the growth of Emirati students into diversified, high-technology areas of study, the program, which aims to welcome its first group of graduate students at Masdar Institute in January 2016, will provide a rigorous academic grounding in a multitude of space-related scientific and engineering disciplines. The partnership will result in a Master’s degree program in Engineering with a concentration in Space Systems and Technology, after the program receives all the necessary approvals from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. 
The program will include the student-led design, integration, construction, testing and operation of a mini-satellite, known in the industry as a CubeSat, which will be launched into space and monitored from the ground station. 
The degree program offers a unique opportunity to UAE graduate students for contributing to high-tech research into space technology, and will provide opportunities to work alongside key Abu Dhabi stakeholders in developing CubeSats. Yahsat’s partnership with Orbital ATK has aided the development of this unique, comprehensive academic program by adding a robust technical dimension. 
Commenting on this agreement, Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar, signing on behalf of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, said: "As the UAE continues to increase its focus on its aerospace, defense and satellite industries, the requirement for local expertise, especially highly-trained UAE nationals, will also increase. The launch of the Gulf’s first Master’s program concentration in space systems and technology at Masdar Institute, in collaboration with Yahsat and Orbital ATK, will help create the necessary environment to develop this talent base."
 Masood Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat, said "This will lead to extraordinary achievements for the UAE and is an important step toward realising our national vision of becoming an innovation and technology capital for the region. Our partnership with Orbital ATK and Masdar Institute will provide these students with practical, hands-on experience bridging what they learn in the classroom and enabling them to apply these skills towards building and launching the mini-satellite."
 Dr Mohammad Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director-General, UAE Space Agency, commented: "This collaboration involving two of the UAE’s most innovative and forward thinking organisations is a giant leap forward for our country’s space program. By promoting the advanced study of space technology, Yahsat, Masdar and Orbital ATK are playing a vital role in developing the skills necessary for the UAE to become a leader in one of the most important industries of the future. I look forward to seeing the results of the new students’ endeavors. ."
Orbital ATK’s President and CEO David W. Thompson said, "We are thrilled to be a partner in this exciting project. Not only will our subject matter experts be helping refine and structure the program’s curriculum, we will also provide for the use of our testing facility to help students verify the design of their CubeSat before launch."
348 Master’s and over 148 PhD students are currently enrolled at the research-based Masdar Institute which offers eight Master’s programs and one interdisciplinary PhD program at present. Through a dynamic system of Institute Research Centers (iCenters) and sponsored research centers, Masdar Institute has been able to obtain six registered patents, with 52 pending patents and 82 invention disclosures. So far, five technology business startups have been established by Masdar Institute students as a result of the inspiring academic programs, a motivating environment and the adequate faculty support available on-campus. With its human capital development in clean energy and advanced technology areas, Masdar Institute is contributing to creating a UAE innovation ecosystem that positively impacts the country’s economy.
Yahsat is committed to developing talent and expertise in the field of science and technology, building a sustainable talent pool of the next generation of space engineers. Yahsat, a UAE-based satellite operator, wholly owned by the Mubadala Development Company, is the first company in the Middle East and Africa to offer multi-purpose satellite services and provides multipurpose satellite solutions for broadband, broadcast, government, and communications solutions across the Middle East, Africa, Central and South West Asia.

Mohammed graduates of 24th batch of the Joint Command and Staff College

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday honoured the graduates of the 24th batch of the Joint Command and Staff College.

The ceremony, held at the College’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, was attended by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Pilot Staff-Brigadier Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the National and Reserve Service Authority, Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour, Lt. General Misbah bin Rashid AI Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice-President, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director-General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, along with a number of senior officials, top police and army officers, and Arab and foreign diplomats and military attaches accredited to the UAE.


Print Email