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UAE Space Agency hosts second Advisory Committee meeting in Abu Dhabi

Dr. Khalifa Al-Romaithi (front and centre), Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, pictured with members of the UAE Space Agency's Advisory Committee and officials of the UAE Space Agency. Photograph courtesy of the UAE Space Agency.
Dr. Khalifa Al-Romaithi (front and centre), Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, pictured with members of the UAE Space Agency’s Advisory Committee and officials of the UAE Space Agency. Photograph courtesy of the UAE Space Agency.

The United Arab Emirates Space Agency hosted its second meeting of the agency’s Advisory Committee in Abu Dhabi on 22-23 May 2016.

The UAE Space Agency’s Advisory Committee, comprising leading experts on space policy from around the world, were hosted in Abu Dhabi by Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency.

The UAE Space Agency’s Advisory Committee is comprised of Dr. Saeed Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Smart World; Jean-Jacques Dordain, former Director General of the European Space Agency; Dr. Charles Elaichi, 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; Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Former Director of the Higher Colleges of Technology at the state level; Dr. Mazlan Othman, former Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Director General of the Malaysian National Space Agency; Dong-Sung Park, CEO of the Satric Initiative, a South Korean firm that provides solutions for Earth observation missions, including DubaiSat-1; and Sir Martin Sweeting, Director General of the Surrey Space Centre in the United Kingdom.

The second Advisory Committee meeting debated UAE space policy and strategy, regulatory issues, the possibility of developing the UAE as a regional space hub, as well as the international role of the UAE Space Agency, human development and capacity building, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to encourage young Emiratis to take up careers in science, technology, and engineering so that the UAE Space Agency has a pool of talent to recruit from in the future.

Dr. Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said, “The second meeting of the UAE Space Agency advisory committee was a perfect platform to learn and take advantage of the wide knowledge and experience the committee members possesses, as their insights play an important role in developing the Agency’s programmes on a legislative, organisational and educational level, as well as the space programmes and missions, and the “Hope Probe” Mars project.”

“The national policy for the space sector in the UAE aims to build an industry that is strong and sustainable — one that supports and protects national interests and other vital sectors, and that contributes to economic diversification and growth. It also seeks to enhance Emirati talent, develop scientific and technical capabilities, and nurture a culture of innovation and national pride, thus consolidating the UAE’s role and position both in the region and across the world,” added Dr. Al Romaithi.

Sir Martin Sweeting, member of the Advisory Committee and Director General of the UK’s Surrey Space Centre, said, “I was very impressed by the rigorous and careful analysis of all the issues and the process by which the Space Agency is developing its programme.”

Sir Martin added that, “The key is learning how to prioritise actions, a long-term road map is very important but then you have to prioritise what you can do with the resources available. The discussions were really quite wide ranging and it was good to hear different viewpoints from experts coming from a range of different backgrounds, countries, and experiences.”

Another member of the Advisory Committee, Jean-Jacques Dordain, the former Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), said that, “The meeting was very useful because each side has learned something, which is good because a one-way conversation is not helpful. We hope that our UAE colleagues have benefited from our discussions, we have definitely learned from them. Beyond the technical exchange, the friendship is alive in this meeting and that is very important because I think the human aspect is always the most important.”

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