UAE Space Agency Advisory Committee Meets to Discuss Future of National Space Projects

24 April 2018

The UAE Space Agency Advisory Committee has 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 in 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, who was joined by H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and a number of officials, administrators and engineers.


The meeting was attended by members of the UAE Space Agency's Advisory Committee: Jean-Jacques Dordain, Former Director General, European Space Agency; Charles Elachi,  Former Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Vice President of California Institute of Technology; Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Research Professor  at Boston University; Ji WU, Chief scientist and project leader of Strategic Priority Program on Space Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); 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; Joo-Jin LEE, Former President of Korea Aerospace Research Institute; Koichi Wakata, Vice President of JAXA and a veteran of four NASA Space Shuttle missions, a Russian Soyuz mission, and a long-duration stay on the ISS; Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev, Vice President of the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and Administrator of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center.


H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi gave an introductory speech welcoming the members and emphasizing 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. Dr. Eng. Mohamed Al Ahbabi then 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 Program. 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 then 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 organizations. 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," added H.E. Dr. Al Falasi.


H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency said: “The past year has been extraordinary with the launch of numerous ambitious projects and initiatives, which form a part of the UAE’s plans for the upcoming years and decades. We arranged these Advisory Committee meetings at a time when the Agency is putting the final touches on several important projects.”


The UAE Space Agency Advisory Committee meets regularly to provide practical and technical advice to the Agency in the development and launch of projects, initiatives, strategies, policies and laws, in addition to ensuring the performance of different programs and staying abreast of the latest technology in the global space sector.