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Opinion

Interview: The European Union’s Copernicus Programme and the Middle East

The European Union’s Copernicus programme is a boon for analysts and researchers around the world since it provides all of the imagery taken by its Sentinel earth observation satellites for free. SpaceWatch Middle East interviewed Andreas Veispak, the acting Head of Unit for Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, …

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The astropolitics of Iranian-Turkish competition in Central Asia

As both Iran and Turkey look to Central Asia to enhance their diplomatic and economic prospects and standings, space cooperation will become a more important and useful tool for gaining relative geopolitical advantage in the region for both countries. Who is better able to exploit the opportunities for space cooperation …

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NASA’s Charlie Bolden: Bringing Humans to Mars and Humanity Together

Charles Bolden, the administrator of the US space agency NASA, is visiting the Middle East to encourage greater international cooperation in the exploration of the planet Mars. Before departing Washington, DC, on 3 June 2016 for his visit to Israel, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Bolden wrote on his …

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Satellites and the Middle East’s cyber wars

The latest round of cyber skirmishes that have erupted between Iranian and Saudi Arabian hackers is a timely reminder that Middle Eastern satellites and their operators are vulnerable to more sophisticated cyber attacks. ThorGroup’s Dr. John B. Sheldon explores this often discussed yet poorly understood threat to space systems. On …

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What if Iran’s space programme is what the Iranians say it is… a space programme?

What if Iran’s space programme is exactly what the Iranian government says it is… a space programme? What if Iran’s Simorgh and Safir rockets are actual space launch vehicles rather than a cover for the development of long-range ballistic missiles? And, if we are to assume all of this is …

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Spacepower in the Middle East: The Paradox of Strategic Depth and Transparency

Tragically, the Middle East has been the backdrop for changes in the character of war over the past few decades. With the rapid dissemination of high-resolution Earth observation satellites throughout the region, even more changes in the character of war are in store, argues ThorGroup’s Dr. John B. Sheldon. The unique, …

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Securing reliable satellite navigation in the Middle East

It is difficult to overstate the critical importance of satellite navigation for the Middle East, yet the service is vulnerable to disruption. ThorGroup’s Dr. John B. Sheldon examines the threats to satellite navigation in the region, and ways to mitigate their worst effects. When Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized …

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No Pressure: The Hope Mars Mission and the Future of UAE Space Exploration

Recent developments in international space exploration plans for Mars have inadvertently placed the UAE’s Hope Mars Mission in the forefront, and impact the future of UAE’s space exploration ambitions. ThorGroup’s Chairman and President, Dr. John B. Sheldon, explains. Without even knowing or asking for it, the past several weeks have …

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