UAE Space Agency Advisory Committee Discusses the Future of the Space Sector

25 March 2019

The UAE Space Agency Advisory Committee met twice on the sidelines of the Global Space Congress 2019, which took place in Abu Dhabi, from 19 March to 21 March. The Committee meetings involved briefings on space missions, education activities, and the promotion of investment in the space industry, and highlighted the importance of future foresight.  


The initial 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, several board members, HE Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and a number of senior officials from the agency.


H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi commenced the meeting by welcoming the members and emphasizing the importance of the projects that the UAE Space Agency is overseeing and implementing, where he discussed future ambitions and aspirations. H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi then provided a quick recap of the UAE Space Agency’s achievements over the last year, highlighting how the UAE’s space missions are moving ahead.


Regarding space law and space investment, H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi said, “We are witnessing a growth in investment in space activities, and our recently launched policy, law, and regulation have transformed the UAE into an attractive destination for space activities.”

The Committee discussed the UAE’s national space projects and science and technology activities, including topics such as the importance of the role of research and development in the space sector, and communicating with local universities to engage students in the space field. The advisory committee then discussed the future of space exploration and different global trends that the UAESA are looking to take part in.

On engaging local universities in the space sector, His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said: “After the establishment of the UAE Space Agency and announcing the Emirates Mars Mission, the number of students interested in fields relevant to space doubled, and we have seen a higher interest and involvement of females in STEM fields. We recognize the importance of having a direct discussion with universities and informing them about the impact of their contribution to the Emirates Mars Mission.”

“One of the important points to consider in our space projects is establishing a link between space exploration and our daily life challenges in the UAE and the broader region, like food security, water, and climate change, as this will help maximize the benefits of our projects,” H.E. Dr. Al Falasi added.

In addition to that, the Advisory Committee members tackled the challenges of space education and proposed ideas to attract the next generation and build human capital in the space sector, given the importance of engaging the youth in STEM fields for the growth of the space industry and related sectors.


The Advisory Committee also highlighted the importance of space law and space investment in the enablement and development of the space sector. The committee members shared ideas to attract investors from the UAE and oversees, to invest in the space sector and contribute to the growth of the industry. The Committee shared the most recent updates on the UAE National Space Sector Policy and the UAE Space Law, which were announced recently as part of the UAE Space Agency’s mission to build a strong and sustainable space sector in the UAE.


Another major element of the meeting was the importance of having a future foresight plan, where Alia Al Ameri, Head of Strategy and Future Management discussed how future foresight can leverage opportunities in the space sector. Al Ameri also noted that future foresight enhances the future readiness and increases flexibility of the UAE space policies and tactics. The Committee members shared their views on how to contribute to having a future foresight plan.


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 keeping up with the latest updates in the global space sector.


Members of the UAE Space Agency's Advisory Committee in attendance included: Jean-Jacques Dordain, Former Director General of European Space Agency; Dr. Charles Elachi, Former Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Vice President of the California Institute of Technology; Dr. Farouk Al Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Research Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University; Charles Bolden, Former Administrator of NASA; Dr. Ji Wu, Chief Scientist and Project Leader of the Strategic Priority Program on Space Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Dr. Koppillil Radhakrishnan, Former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO); Dr. Koichi Wakata, Astronaut and Vice President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; Joo-Jin Lee, Former President of Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI); and Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev, Vice president of the S.P. Korolev Rocket and space corporation Energia.