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Pan-Arab Group For Space Collaboration Founded In Abu Dhabi

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (centre) flanked by the heads of agencies of the Arab Group for Space Collaboration. Photograph courtesy of WAM.

Under the patronage and presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the second edition of the Global Space Congress commenced on 19 March 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

The event, organised by the UAE Space Agency, is the largest gathering of global space industry leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed also attended the signing ceremony of the charter of the Arab Group for Space Collaboration. The 11 Arab founding member nations of the new body seek to work together to advance the development of the region’s space sector. On this occasion, His Highness announced the development of an advanced satellite to monitor environmental and climate changes. The satellite will be developed in the UAE.

“Today at the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi, we attended the signing of a charter to establish the first Arab body for space cooperation, bringing together 11 Arab states. Its first project will be a satellite that Arab scientists will jointly develop in the UAE,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “This satellite will be called ‘813’, which is the year in which the House of Wisdom in Baghdad reached the height of its reputation during the reign of Al-Ma’mun. The House of Wisdom brought together scientists, translated books of knowledge and became a place where the region’s scientific community flourished.”

His Highness also said that the UAE is leading the development of the Arab world’s space sector, adding that the Arab region has the competencies and expertise needed to achieve its objectives in this domain.

Sheikh Mohammed also expressed his pride at the UAE’s leadership in the region’s space sector. “A few months ago, we launched the first satellite fully developed by UAE citizens, and we are currently working on the Emirates Mars Mission, the first exploration mission to be conducted by an Arab and Islamic nation to Mars. Our objective is to advance Arab achievements and maximise its potential for development,” His Highness said.

“We extend our expertise, resources and help to Arab scientists who share the same dream and ambition we have to build the best possible future for the Arab nation,” Sheikh Mohammed said, and added, “The satellite is a message from the UAE to Arab people that through concerted efforts, we can build a brighter future for everyone.”

His Highness attended the opening session of the event, in the presence of H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future. Sheikh Mohammed also toured the exhibition section of the event, and was briefed about the UAE Space Agency’s projects.

Delivering a keynote speech, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, said that the global space sector is witnessing a new phase of development driven by technological breakthroughs. The entry of many new players into the sector has led to an increase in demand for space related services.

He also said that the current phase is seeing the fastest growth the space industry has ever seen. The sustained growth of the industry requires collaboration between various players.

Current members of the Arab Group for Space Collaboration include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.

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