The United Arab Emirates has signed a Letter of Intent with Russia and Kazakhstan to cooperate in space exploration and future space projects. The agreement was signed during a visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by a delegation from the UAE Space Agency led by Dr. Ahmad Abdullah Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency.
The Letter of Intent was signed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome by Dr. Al Falasi, Beibot Atamkulov, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Defence and Aerospace Industry, and Igor Komarov, head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.
The Letter of Intent proposes that the UAE, Russia, and Kazakhstan create joint working groups to discuss and consider a range of cooperative space projects and exploration initiatives, to be followed by a meeting later in April 2018 to discuss proposals, working group procedures, protocols, and mechanisms, and the roles and missions of each country.
Dr. Al Falasi said, “This agreement is the cornerstone of future cooperation between the rapidly-growing Emirati space sector and two of the most prominent players in the global space arena, and we look forward to expanding and enhancing such a mutually beneficial collaboration.”
“The UAE recognises the importance of developing national capabilities in the space sector through international cooperation and collaboration. The transfer of knowledge and expertise in science, research, and space technology is vital for the continued development of national industries for both parties and subsequently, for their national human capital. These values form a key part of the UAE Space Agency’s vision and mission, and since its founding, the Agency has worked to foster international cooperation and collaboration to both advance UAE’s space agenda as well as build on our local talents,” added Dr. Al Falasi.
Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said, “This agreement supports our mission at the UAE Space Agency to foster cooperation in the fields of space science, research, technology, and services. It also enhances our relationship and partnership with Russia and Kazakhstan, which strengthens international cooperation and ensures we collectively continue to advance our knowledge of space and the universe in which we live.”
“This agreement ensures our national cadres will have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the world’s leading space experts,” Dr. Al Ahbabi added.
The UAE Space Agency delegation were visiting Baikonur Cosmodrome to witness the launch of Soyuz MS-08 that carried a manned crew and cargo to the International Space Station. The UAE recently announced its own manned spaceflight programme, and is known to have been in discussions with Russian officials about procuring Russian training of Emirati cosmonauts. The UAE Space Agency delegation also took the opportunity of their visit to Baikonur Cosmodrome to discuss other space cooperation proposals with their Russian and Kazakh counterparts.