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UAE Space Agency Signs Wide-Reaching Agreement With Luxembourg

Officials from the UAE Space Agency and the government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Photograph courtesy of the UAE Space Agency.

The UAE Space Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, defining a framework for collaboration and the exchange of information and expertise in the fields of space science, research, and technology.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Internal Security and Defence of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The signing of took place as part of an official visit to Abu Dhabi by a high-level delegation from Luxembourg, headed by HRH Prince Guillaume, Crown Prince of Luxembourg, and including HRH Princess Stephanie, Crown Princess of Luxembourg, and Elisabeth Cardoso, Ambassador of Luxembourg to the UAE.

The delegation met with UAE Space Agency officials including Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi and Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency.

The MoU promotes cooperation in various aspects of space exploration, including space science, research, technology, remote sensing, and navigation. In addition to this, the MoU encourages collaboration on space policy, law, regulation, and personnel training for space activities.

Luxembourg created the initiative in February 2016 in order to establish the small European country as a major global space hub. Luxembourg provides a legal regime for companies seeking to exploit space resources, such as asteroids, that allows a path toward ownership of those resources for commercial purposes. Prominent space resources companies such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries have since established offices in Luxembourg.

The UAE’s national space policy alludes to exploiting space resources as part of the UAE’s economic diversification plans over the coming years.

“Luxembourg is promoting actively the peaceful exploration and the sustainable utilisation of space resources for the benefit of humankind. In line with those goals, the Grand Duchy encourages discussions on space resources exploration and utilisation in all relevant international fora,” said Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Étienne Schneider, quoted in Arabian Business.

“By signing this MoU with the UAE Space Agency, we continue to endorse cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels in order to progress together with other nations on a future governance scheme and a global regulatory framework for space resources utilisation,” he added.

Commenting on the signing of the agreement, Dr Ahmad Al Falasi said, “Our agreement with the Government of the Grand Duchy Luxembourg falls within the strategic visions of both the Space Agency and the UAE. This includes working towards closer international cooperation, establishing mutually beneficial international partnerships and exchanging scientific knowledge with the rest of the world.”

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