Senior UAE Space Agency officials have delivered speeches on issues related to the space and aerospace sectors at a joint event held by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Held in Vienna, Austria, from August 29 to 31, the three-day event provides a platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities surrounding emerging space activities and civil aviation.
H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, delivered a key note speech during the welcoming session, alongside Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, and Hajime Yoshimura, President of Air Navigation Commission at the ICAO. The session comes ahead of the UN-UAE High Level Forum in Dubai, which is titled “Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development” and will be held November 6–9, 2017.
Speaking to the global inter-sector audience, Dr. Al Ahbabi spoke of the current applications and possibilities offered by space: “From communications to financial operations, agriculture to accurate weather forecasting, remote sensing to navigation, surveillance to treaty monitoring – outer space and its applications are playing an increasing role in the activities of all nations and their peoples’ daily lives. Over the past few years, the space sector has experienced new trends, following the development and implementation of a range of remarkable technologies.”
He went on to discuss some of the most prominent challenges facing the global space sector, before addressing solutions being implemented by the UAE: “Space debris poses an increasing threat to orbital bodies, satellite frequency bands are limited and prone to interference, growing space traffic is leading to orbital congestion, and cybersecurity presents a new range of challenges in space. In the UAE we are of the firm belief that we need to be better prepared for such challenges in order to ensure the long term sustainability of space activities. We believe such preparation should take place on two levels. On the national level, through the development of appropriate regulatory regimes; and on the international level, through the expansion or modification of existing governance systems and mechanisms.”
Naser Al Rashedi, Director of Space Policy and Regulation, UAE Space Agency, spoke on a panel exploring the regulatory, operational, and practical perspectives of aerospace activities. The discussion sought to foster a better understanding of legal and regulatory mechanisms under international aerospace and space laws. The panel also addressed factors affecting aerospace operations, with a view to ensuring safe and sustainable civil aviation operation, suborbital operations and space activities, as well as promoting reliable and consistent national regulatory frameworks.
The ICAO is the United Nations organisation responsible for codifying principles and techniques of international air navigation, and ensures the safe development of international air transportation. UNOOSA is mandated with implementing and overseeing decisions of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, working with a range of national space agencies and non-governmental organisations involved in space activities.