H.E Yosouf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), announced that the centre has submitted a request to the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) to host the 71st session of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which will be held in 2020, in coordination with the UAE Space Agency.
Al Shaibani made the announcement during the opening session of the Global Space Congress organised by the UAE Space Agency, from 31st January to 1st February 2017, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Al Shaibani confirmed that: “The IAF will announce the country hosting the conference in 2020 during the coming edition taking place in Australia next September. If we were to win, the UAE would become the first Arab and Muslim country to host the conference”.
“IAC is one of the most important conferences in the world addressing space affairs and issuing influential recommendations for the global space sector,” he added.
Al Shaibani also confirmed that MBRSC seeks to enhance communications with the global space community, organise and host international events aimed at sharing experiences and promoting cooperation, which will contribute to driving the sector to more advanced and sophisticated levels.
In the same context, Al Shaibani noted that: “Over the last two decades, the UAE has been advancing in its journey to develop a sustainable space sector. I can confirm that, in a few years from now, the UAE space sector will achieve a huge leap towards the consolidation of a distinct space industry in the Arab world, as an industry that reflects a reality filled with hope and ambition for the future generations.”
In his speech, Al Shaibani drew attention to the pillars upon which the UAE space sector is built, saying: “These pillars enable the space sector to become a driving force for economic growth and sustainable social development in the UAE. It is a journey with an already outstanding record of achievements through which a strong infrastructure was established, capacities were developed, three remote sensing satellite projects were launched, and the launch of the first Arab and Islamic project to explore Mars – Hope mission”.
“The Hope probe will not only send us images and data on the Martian atmosphere, it will also carry a message of hope to young Arab generations and will open the doors to a new era of scientific and technological invention and discovery,” Al Shaibani added.
Since 1950, IAF has been holding the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) annually, in cooperation with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), at one of the countries that falls under the umbrella of IAF, including the UAE. The International Astronautical Congress is one of the leading space conferences worldwide, attend by presidents and CEOs of international space agencies, decision makers, researchers, academics and professionals in the space sector from 70 countries over the last 66 years. In 2016, IAC received nearly 5,000 visitors, with an expected increase in 2020.
In this regard, Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs at MBRSC, was elected last September as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, at a ceremony held during the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. Al Marri has been chosen for his contribution to science, technology and the space sector in the UAE, as well as his excellence in projects aimed at promoting international cooperation in the development of the space sector. Through his membership, Al Marri contributes to activating international efforts and promoting cooperation among all countries and entities to advance and develop space science and technology worldwide.
Meanwhile, MBRSC showcased its space projects and initiatives at the Global Space Congress, while the centre’s engineers participated in a series of sessions. Eng. Amer Al Sayegh, the MBRSC Senior Director of Space Engineering department and KhalifaSat Project Manager, explained in a session entitled: “UAE Visions of New Technology Applications”, MBRSC strategy on building an integrated system for the space industry in the UAE. He stated during the session that: “UAE engineers have achieved great developments in the national space sector, from 2006 until they came to build the first Arab satellite on UAE soil with only Emirati expertise, as well as leading the first mission of its kind to explore space, with the Hope mission.”
Al Sayegh confirmed that: “The MBRSC satellites has developed significantly after the centre launched the first satellite project in the UAE. The MBRSC team invented new technology specifically for KhalifaSat, and there are other space applications, developed by the Application and Analysis Department within the centre, which will be used in studies and research aimed to improve the accuracy of satellite images”.
“Over the last decades, countries have participated and made advancements in the space industry and science, and have proved that space is a major driver of economic development, and a producer of new discoveries and technologies affecting human life directly and indirectly,” Al Sayegh added.
In an Interplanetary Science Symposium, Omran Sharaf, the MBRSC Project Manager of the Emirates Mars Mission – Hope mission, highlighted the project as the first Arab and Islamic project to explore outer space. He addressed the importance of these research and scientific initiatives for the future of mankind and the development of science and technology.
Sharaf said: “The Hope Probe has a great importance that goes beyond the knowledge advantage on Mars, it is about building human capacities that can be an efficient drive for local and global knowledge-based economy.”
He noted what was achieved for the moment and the final design of the probe has been approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Also, the scientific and engineering aspects of the project are proceeding on schedule”.
“This is the first of its kind mission to study the Martian climate around the clock and throughout the four seasons. It is a study that hasn’t been conducted by any previous missions to Mars which were limited to capturing images at specific times during the day or in certain seasons. The UAE will share the new data sent back by the probe with everyone from the international scientific community who has an interest in studying Mars,” Sharaf concluded.