UAE Joins Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences Supreme Council Following Unanimous Vote

25 September 2018

The UAE has become a member of the Supreme Council of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences (AUASS) following a unanimous vote by its members. The UAE will be represented by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency.


AUASS is a member of the Arab League’s Arab Economic Unity Council, and works to promote and advance the study of astronomy and space science across the Arab region. The selection of H.E. Dr. Al Ahbabi as a member of the Supreme Council is the result of the UAE’s leading position in the regional and international space sectors.


With ambitious and impactful space exploration projects — including the Mars Hope Probe, Mars 2117 and Mars Scientific City — the UAE has developed an increasingly influential standing in the regional and global space sectors. In late 2017, the UAE launched its Astronaut Program, with two Emirati astronauts recently selected to take part in a comprehensive training program. One of the recruits will visit the International Space Station in April of 2019.


H.E. Dr. Al Ahbabi’s role within the Council also reflects the UAE’s position as a pioneer in Arab space activities. The UAE has become a reference point for Arab countries interested in developing their own space sectors, in support of their economic diversification strategies and national objectives.


H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of representing the UAE in the Supreme Council of the AUASS, and would like to thank the UAE’s visionary leadership and the Chairman and Board of Directors of the UAE Space Agency for their continuous support. The Union is one of the most prominent organizations within the regional space sector and with the support of Arab scientists, engineers and specialists. It works diligently to advance and promote astronomy and space sciences across the region.


“AUASS is incredibly successful in encouraging space sciences and astronomy education on a regional level, especially through its collaborative work with organizations throughout the Arab world to bolster advanced research and space activities. As a council member representing the UAE, I will strive to support AUASS in achieving its goals and share the UAE’s message of peace and unity through joint space science endeavors,” added H.E. Dr. Al Ahbabi.


AUASS was established in 1998 with the approval of the Arab League. Its aims to develop Arab astronomy and space sciences and to play an active role in the development of the Arab community across scientific and technological fields. AUASS also strives to preserve and revive the Arab and Islamic heritage in astronomy, and works to spread awareness of the region’s role in the development of human civilization.


In 2008, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah, agreed to assume the honorary chairmanship of AUASS during his meeting with the Union’s Higher Council members at Sharjah University. 


AUASS has a remarkable reputation among regional and international space, science and technology organizations. The Union conducts space research, cultural programs and activities, providing the Arab world with important research that supports researchers and academics embarking on careers in the sector.


In addition, AUASS is responsible for precise astronomical information, including prayer times and lunar calendar dates. It also works to standardize scientific Arabic terms related to astronomy and space sciences, as well as encouraging the publication of advanced scientific research in Arabic and the translation of scientific content into Arabic.