The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) concluded the first edition of its “Project Space” event, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and general supervisor of all projects of the Centre and its strategic and development plans. Day two of the event included a number of sessions and panel discussions, covering some of the most remarkable space discoveries and technological accomplishments, in addition to outlining the goals of the Emirates Mars Mission – Hope mission and the achievements of women in the space sector.
Mona Al Qemzi, Assistant Director General, Corporate Support Sector at MBRSC, said: “Project Space will be held on an annual basis in order to enhance the young generations’ knowledge in the field space science and technology. Recently, college and school students have shown a growing interest in space-related events and initiatives, and their interest was obvious through their participation at the event and interaction with the speakers.”
Al Qemzi affirmed that the generation of scientists, engineers and specialists currently being prepared will achieve the UAE directives in relation to the space industry, scientific research and technological innovation. She also placed strong emphasis on the importance of ongoing motivation for the rising generations towards various fields of science, being the backbone of increasing knowledge and advancement of science.
In the first session of the day, entitled: ‘How Could the UAE Get to Mars?’, Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission –Hope mission Project Manager at MBRSC talked about the UAE’s vision for EMM, the scientific goals and the journey to Mars. He also spoke about the efforts being made to ensure the mission’s success, saying that the scientific heritage and knowledge to be gained through the mission will lead the UAE towards a new era of technological advancements, gaining a competitive advantage and a leading position for our nation.
Sharaf highlighted MBRSC team endeavours and initiatives aiming to strengthen the space-related research capacities of Emirati college students, and to help meet the future needs of human resources in the EMM and space sector in general.
Furthermore, the achievements of women in space were tackled by Dr. Cathy Swan, SouthWest Analytic Network, Ribbon Rider Member, International Space Elevator Consortium, Master Docent, Phoenix Art Museum; Bakhita Al Mheiri, a pilot for Emirates Airline; Dr Sara Al Maeeni, MBRSC expert in space communications and research on the EMM – Hope mission; and Abigail Harrison.in a panel discussion entitled ‘Women in Space’. The discussion also covered ways to support and motivate ambitious Emirati women, as well as the steps needed to be taken in the future to encourage women to become scientists, engineers, astronauts and pilots.
Dr. Peter Swan, President of Space Elevator Consortium, then shared with the attendees the concept of building a unique elevator taking people and goods into space. He talked about applicability, advantages and how it would revolutionise the space industry, if realised.
Under the theme of space exploration, Dr Carolyn Porco, Planetary Scientist and Head of Cassini Imaging Team presented her work with the famous Cassini probe currently orbiting Saturn. Dr Porco showcased some of the discoveries made by the team of scientists working on the Cassini mission, which has revealed a lot of information about the most likely places in the Solar System to host forms of life, raising many questions, such as what are these forms of life, and how can we find them?
The second day also included two workshops. The first was entitled ‘How Can an Engineer Build a Satellite – KhalifaSat Model’, where Engineer Ahmed Salem gave a detailed presentation on the KhalifaSat project. He talked about all phases of building a satellite starting from launching the project until it arrives in space, as well as its operation afterwards. This was followed by presentations given by several experts working at the space centre on energy saving in space and space communication technology, etc… The workshop was concluded by answering all questions of the participating students.
In the other workshop, entitled ‘Begin your Journey into Space’, Noora Al Shehi, Acting Manager, Talent Acquisition & Recruitment Section at MBRSC, informed the students about the centre’s initiatives and efforts of attracting national competencies, as well as the Entaliq Scholarship Programme. The workshop included testimonies of a number of new engineers and administrative officers featuring the journey they embarked upon up until they ended up working at MBRSC. She also provided them with information about the working environment at the centre.
Furthermore, there were informal discussions between the speakers and the attendees on all topics discussed at Project Space.