The UAE Space Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), defining a framework for cooperation in the fields of space science, research and technology as well as the development of a joint mission to monitor Earth’s spectrum and atmosphere. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the World Government Summit, taking place in Dubai between the 11th and 13th of February, 2018.
The MoU was signed by H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the French National Centre for Space Studies, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and H.E. Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France.
The MoU defines a framework for collaboration and the exchange of information and expertise in the fields of space science, research and technology, with the aim of developing joint projects that support the UAE’s extensive human capacity building initiatives. The MoU also proposes the development of public awareness programs to highlight the importance of space exploration as well as the establishment of special channels for the exchange of scientific data, especially relating to atmospheric data and spectrum monitoring.
H.E. Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the UAE Space Agency said: “The UAE enjoys a strong relationship France in various fields, including education, business and culture. We are looking forward to enhancing this relationship through this MoU with the French National Centre for Space Studies, which is in line with our strategic plans to expand cooperation with France in ways that benefit both our nations.”
“The UAE Space Agency recognizes the importance of international collaboration in the fields of space science, technology and exploration, as these fields are considered part of humankind’s common heritage. It is extremely important in our view for all leading entities in the field of space to work together towards the common goal of enhancing the welfare of humanity and to help inspire and train the next generation of space leaders," added H.E. Al Falasi.
H.E. Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The UAE Space Agency is keen on building on the success of other space programs in its plans and strategies, which necessitates knowledge and experience transfer into the UAE. France’s space program is considered one of the most prominent programs worldwide, with a rich record of achievements since its establishment. This MoU will play an important role in developing capacities in both countries in the space sector, and within space exploration in particular.”
H.E. Al Ahbabi noted that this is not the first instance of cooperation between the Agency and CNES, both parties having previously signed an MoU in 2015 that promoted collaboration in the peaceful exploration of outer space. The UAE and France also signed a declaration of common principles for establishing a global climate observatory in November 2017, to support advanced remote sensing and environmental monitoring activities.
The UAE Space Agency, the first national space agency in the region, was established in 2014, and is responsible for organizing, regulating and supporting the national space sector under federal law. This includes the complete oversight and funding of space missions such as the Mars Hope Probe, the UAE’s unmanned mission to Mars.
The primary goals of the UAE Space Agency are to contribute significantly to diversification of the national economy, prepare the upcoming generation of Emiratis for leadership in the space sector through a range of capacity building programs, and raise awareness about space sciences and STEM fields among the general public. In addition, it is responsible for expanding and enhancing the UAE’s international standing in space-related fields, and for issuing policy and laws for the space sector.