UAE to send Arab world's first spaceship to Mars
Abu Dhabi, July 16, 2014
The UAE is set to establish a space agency to co-ordinate the country’s space technology sector and to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021 – the Arab world’s first mission to another planet.
The probe will take nine months to make the more than 60 million km journey to Mars and will mark UAE out as one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet, said a statement.
Besides advancing human knowledge, the project aims at developing Emirati human capital and boost the space technology industry as a sustainable driver of the UAE’s increasingly diversified economy.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s President, said: “The UAE Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity.
“The purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration.”
“Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients. Our region is a region of civilisation. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilise,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The mission will be led by Emiratis whose expertise will grow through from knowledge transfer from international partners, he said.
The Red Planet project would be a turning point in the UAE’s development, establishing the space technology sector as a key component of the national economy for years to come, said the statement.
“The UAE’s purpose is to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country’s development plans,” Sheikh Khalifa noted.
The UAE’s investments in space technologies already exceed Dh20 billion ($5.4 billion) including satellite data and TV broadcast company Al Yah Satellite Communications, mobile satellite communication company Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications, and earth mapping and observation system Dubai Sat.
The UAE Space Agency would be responsible for supervising and organising all such activities, developing the sector, ensuring knowledge transfer, enhancing the UAE’s position as a global player in aerospace, and maximising the contribution of space industries to the national economy, said Sheikh Mohammed.
The agency will report to the Cabinet and enjoy financial and administrative independence, he said.
“We aim for the UAE to be among the top countries in the field of aerospace by 2021. We have a great belief in the talents of our young people and a clear plan to reach our targets,” Sheikh Khalifa added. - TradeArabia News Service