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UAE’s MBRSC Receives IAF Flag For 2020’s 71st International Astronautical Congress In Dubai

The MBRSC team receiving the IAF flag at the close of the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington, DC.

The UAE, represented by Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), received the organising committee flag for the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which is set to be held in Dubai in 2020.

Al Shaibani and Pascale Ehrenfreund, the new President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) signed the contract in the presence of state and media delegations. This took place at the closing ceremony of the 70th IAC, which was held in Washington, DC, from 21 to 25 October 2019.

Al Shaibani received the accreditation flag from the IAF and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), this year’s host organisation for the event.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC, said, “We are proud of the participation of MBRSC’s team, in this prestigious global conference. The academic research that was presented, highlighted our latest developments in the national space sector and its applications, and reflected the potential of our team of researchers in the field of space”.

Al Mansoori stressed that the research presented by MBRSC’s engineers and researchers was supported by our wise leadership, who continuously motivates young Emirati talent by providing the necessary tools for their success. This, in turn, contributes to enriching the global community and improving life on Earth.

“Organising the 71st IAC, the world’s largest specialised conference in the global space sector, in Dubai next year, confirms the UAE’s prominent global position in this vital sector,” added Al Mansoori.

Al Mansoori also stressed that organising the IAC in Dubai will reflect the UAE’s global excellence in hosting conferences, adding that it will enhance international partnership and exchange of knowledge and experience, with international specialists and decision-makers in the space sector.

“During our participation in the 70th IAC, we highlighted the UAE’s prominent and influential role in the global space sector and shed light on our preparations to organise IAC 2020 in Dubai,” said Al Shaibani.

“MBRSC’s initiatives and programmes in the space sector highlight the UAE’s positive role in this field and qualify it as the host of this global event. We are confident that the conference, which will be held for the first time in the Arab region, will motivate emerging countries in this sector to step up, as they will benefit from the opportunities offered at the conference. The conference will be an opportunity for the exchange of experiences and ideas between leaders and decision-makers, and the participating entities,” noted Al Shaibani.

A high-level delegation from MBRSC, headed by Hamad Al Mansoori, and Al Shaibani, participated in the 70th IAC, which was held in Washington DC, under the theme “Space: The Power of the Past, the Promise of the Future”.

The delegation included Salem Al Marri, Head of the UAE Astronaut Programme and Chairman of the Dubai Hosting Committee for IAC 2020, Adnan Al Rais, Director of Remote Sensing and International Programme Committee Co-Chair, Saeed Al Mansoori, Senior Manager – Application Development & Analysis Section – MBRSC, Saud Karmustaji, Director of Strategic Communications at MBRSC, Asma Al Janahi, Specialist in Communications Engineering, Ahmed Al Yammahi, Engineer – Mechanical Manufacturing Unit, Fatima Al Marzooqi, Analyst in Applications and Analysis, Hessa Ali, Senior Engineer – Data & Control Unit, Mariam Al Zarouni, Head of the Studies Unit at MBRSC, as well as other members from MBRSC.

MBRSC’s participating delegation highlighted the general details of the agenda and preparations for the IAC 2020, which will be held for the first time in Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

MBRSC also presented the planning, execution, and design stages of the Emirates Mars Mission – Hope Probe, in addition to the initial measurements and verification results from KhalifaSat’s images. MBRSC also explained the mechanics of KhalifaSat, the first satellite developed 100% in the UAE by a team of Emirati engineers.

During the conference, Fatima Al Marzooqi presented research on using GIS and image processing technologies to analyse satellite images taken by DubaiSat-2 for Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.

During an interactive presentation, Saeed AlMansoori spoke about the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to extract ships from KhalifaSat imagery. He explained the project implementation and discussed key findings and future plans. His research paper was among the top three from 260 presenters and participants in the applications category.

Furthermore, a panel discussion was held, with the participation of Salem Al Marri, Adnan Al Rais, Saud Karmustaji, and Mariam Al Zarouni, where they shed light on the UAE Astronaut Programme, and how the first Emirati astronaut corps were selected, trained and prepared.

On the side-lines of the conference, Al Marri was elected as a member at the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) for the second time. Al Marri was elected in 2016 for the first time as a corresponding member.

Al Marri was elected for his outstanding contributions to the science, technology and space sectors in the UAE and his efforts in promoting international cooperation in the advancement of the space sector worldwide.

In a panel discussion, Al Marri said that IAC 2020 will be an important global platform that highlights the UAE’s achievements in the space sector, and allows discussion of the future challenges facing the global community in this vital sector.

“Participating in the Congress is essential for our preparations to host IAC 2020 in Dubai, from 12th to 16th October, 2020, for the first time in the Arab world. Hosting the conference in Dubai will have a positive impact on the region. The year 2020 will be a special year for the UAE, as it will see the launch of the Hope Probe and Expo 2020,” added Al Marri.

IAC covers all sectors and topics related to space exploration, regulation, and education. It also offers attendees the latest academic trends and industry developments, as well as excellent networking and partnership opportunities.

IAA, which is based in Paris, France, is an independent non-governmental organisation recognised by the United Nations in 1996. Through its distinguished international programmes and conferences, the IAA aspires to promote the development of space navigation for peaceful purposes and to honour individuals who have distinguished themselves in space science and technology.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Esraa Ismail

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