Forum discusses developing space experts
Abu Dhabi, May 11, 2011
Developing the regional space industry’s experts of the future was the focus for a major space and satellite forum in Abu Dhabi that is ending today (May 11).
The Global Space and Satellite Forum (GSSF) 2011, which opened on May 9 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, saw participation from senior representatives from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa).
They delivered an interactive UAE Space Career and Exploration video uplink to a gathering of aspiring Emirati astronauts and space industry hopefuls.
Appearing live in the video presentation from the Nasa Lunar Simulation Centre in California, Doris Daou, director for Education and Public Outreach, Nasa Lunar Science Institute was joined by Nasa colleagues Greg Schmidt and Brad Bailey, deputy director and senior scientist respectively.
The scientists demonstrated the advanced robotic technology of the field science rovers used in inter-planetary exploration and the Centre’s simulated lunar environment. The presentation also gave attendees the chance to participate in an interactive Q&A session.
Dr Omar Al Emam, voluntary space technology advisor, Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), delivered the introductory address. He spoke about the work of the Nasa Lunar Science Institute in California and the importance of hands-on space technology for the youth of the region.
“Education in this field is important because it helps build national capability. Rather than simply outsourcing the expertise for such projects, this creates the ability to build local knowledge and boosts regional space technology capability,” said Dr Al Emam.
“Increasingly, we are seeing local universities within the UAE introducing space technology into their curricula and already Emirati students are becoming actively involved in the industry. We have seen UAE students already learning and applying knowledge about the use of space observation data,” he added.
He also referred to the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (Eiast), which commissioned the UAE’s first earth observation satellite, DubaiSat-1. Al Emam highlighted the involvement of Emirati scientists, who worked at the satellite’s Korean launch site.
At a panel discussion, Emirati professionals who lead some of the UAE’s most prestigious space and satellite projects spoke about their career motivations and how local students can prepare for careers in the sector.
Also featured on day three was the kick-off meeting of the European Space and Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC), run by the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) in partnership with the European Space Agency. – TradeArabia News Service
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