A high level delegation representing the UAE Space Agency participated in the 34th Space Symposium, held last week in Colorado, USA. The Symposium brought together space leaders from different parts of the space sector including government, industry, and military experts from around the world, UAE national news agency WAM reported.
Led by Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, the delegation included Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and other senior officials and executives from the Agency.
Dr. Al Falasi took part in a panel titled Emerging Space Economies, where he discussed the accelerated impact space activities has had on the UAE’s economic diversification agenda in a relatively short period of time. Dr Al Falasi offered a unique perspective with respect to the contribution of the sector on the transition to a knowledge-based economy, working in cooperation with international counterparts.
The Space Agency Chairman noted that the national focus on space activities represents an investment in the future, bringing technological capabilities, educational benefits and advanced applications of STEM that impact other sectors, as well as produce financial returns.
Speaking at the event, Dr Al Falasi said: “The exploration and discovery of our universe is the greatest venture ever undertaken by mankind, and we believe that no country or community is too small to contribute. Every nation can have a role to play in these global efforts. It requires significant and collaborative efforts on the part of actors all over the world, particularly with regards to the transfer of knowledge and advanced skills.”
On the side-lines of the Space Symposium, the UAE Space Agency held high-level meetings with international counterparts including, Mr. Robert Lightfoot, Acting Administrator of NASA, Mr. Byung-Seon Jeong, Assistant Minister of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea, President of the Canadian Space Agency Mr. Sylvain Laporte, as well as representatives from Australia, Luxembourg, and various major industry players.
The UAE delegation, including Dr. Ahmad Al Falasi and Dr. Eng. Mohammed Al Ahbabi also met and congratulated the recently appointed President of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa, and discussed future cooperation and ongoing activities in regards to the Mars Hope Probe and its launch in 2020.
Speaking after the meeting, Dr Al Falasi said: “The Hope Probe is our first major mission to Mars and one of our main projects in terms of space exploration. Sending a probe to Mars will inspire our youth and demonstrate that with science and technology there is no limit to our aspirations.”
Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “This visit has reinforced the UAE’s deep ties with our close counterparts around the world. Throughout our time in the US, we have met with key partners that consistently provide strong support to our national space program. The youth engagement and education initiatives that have formed as a result of these partnerships, have successfully contributed to our strategies in transforming into a knowledge-based economy.”
The Space Symposium, attended by the UAE Space Agency for the third consecutive year, attracted 14,000 attendees and featured notable speakers including US Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross among others.