The UAE Space Agency Advisory Committee commenced its third annual meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss the latest developments in the national space sector. The Committee also discussed current and future space projects along with methods of further developing the sector’s capabilities with regards to scientific research, space technology and human capacity.
The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency. He was joined by Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and a number of officials, administrators and engineers.
Among members who attended the UAE Space Agency’s Advisory Committee were Jean-Jacques Dordain, Former Director General of European Space Agency; Charles F. Bolden Jr., Former NASA Administrator; Koppillil Radhakrishnan, Former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Honorary Distinguished Advisor at the Department of Space/ISRO; and other key people from Korea Aerospace Research Institute; Japan and Russia.
H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi emphasised the importance of the projects that the UAE Space Agency supervises and will be implementing over the next few years. His Excellency also highlighted the Agency’s strategic role in cementing the UAE’s position internationally as an advanced space faring nation.
H.E. Eng. Mohamed Al Ahbabi briefed the committee on the Agency’s latest developments and the current status of the national space sector. His Excellency spoke about the Emirates Mars Mission, the Mars 2117 project, Mars Scientific City and the UAE Astronaut Programme. The briefing also included a discussion on the nation’s future manned space missions, means of further developing space science research capabilities, and enhancing international partnerships and collaboration.
The Committee discussed a number of potential future projects in terms of their feasibility and funding mechanisms. The committee examined the capacity of national research institutions and universities to support the proposed projects and ensure their success. In addition, the members discussed the future of space agencies within the context of the expanding commercial space sector and the emergence of artificial intelligence and its role in space exploration.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said: “The UAE Space Agency is working to facilitate the exchange of knowledge through cooperation with the world’s leading space agencies and organisations. The committee members here today have been chosen in view of their extensive knowledge and wide experience in the space sector. Through these meetings we aim to strengthen our ambitious national space projects and ensure they are implemented in accordance with the highest international standards, in order to cement the UAE’s position as a leading space faring nation.
“Our Advisory Committee members have far-reaching experience in leading global space projects, drafting space legislation and laws, and supporting space science and scientific research. The Committee includes former astronauts who have spent long periods of time in outer space or have participated in a number of manned space missions and other missions to the International Space Station.”.