The policy has been prepared in cooperation with a number of key stakeholders in the government sector, national companies in the private sector, academic foundations and research centres
The UAE Space Agency has issued the national space sector policy. The document was approved on September 4 by the Council of Ministers, headed by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The event held at Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi, was attended by Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, board members, Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General, as well as several government entities and stakeholders.
Attendees were introduced to the regulatory framework of space sector in the UAE, in addition to the objectives, enabling capabilities, and success factors of the policy. It also explained the roles involved in implementing the policy, and provided an update on the national space sector strategy to be issued soon and the space activities law being drafted.
The policy has been prepared in cooperation with a number of key stakeholders in the government sector, national companies in the private sector, academic foundations and research centres, international companies operating out of the UAE, and international experts from several legislative, legal and scientific areas.
The policy aims to build a strong and sustainable space sector in the UAE that supports and protects national interests and related vital industries. This includes contributing to economic growth and diversification, strengthening specialized Emirati skillsets and developing scientific and hi-tech capabilities. It also seeks to nurture and grow a culture of innovation and enhance the UAEs status on regional and global levels.
H.E. Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: Our national space policy stems from the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father, in addition to the directives of their Excellences, Members of the Federal Supreme Council. This vision enabled us to establish a solid economic foundation and comprehensive infrastructure, thus allowing the UAE to occupy a leading position across numerous fields.
Al Romaithi added: The policy is in line with the UAEs vision and strategic plans for all other sectors in support of economic growth and diversity in the country. It is considered as a cornerstone that the UAE space sector is built and developed further over the coming years, with the aim that the sector reaches short and long term goals, and strengthens the UAEs position amongst leading countries in space exploration and space capabilities development.
H.E. Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: The national space sector policy will guarantee the organising, managing, developing and best of use of national resources, especially with the advanced scientific and space infrastructure that the UAE enjoys.
The policy aims for the space sector to provide a significant contribution to the UAEs economy, a sector that is among the seven major national sectors within the National Innovation Strategy. It also supports scientific research and innovations in space related fields, and the Mars Hope Probe Mission, he added.
H.E Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), has confirmed that the UAE has defined the rules and strategies it needs to adopt in its push towards a knowledge-based economy, which depends on promoting the culture of scientific research and technical innovation. Certainly, the UAEs interest in space science and industry is just a gateway to promising major economic investments in the future, he said.
He added: The implementation of the National Space Policy approved by the UAE cabinet chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, will enhance the space sector locally and internationally, and will drive it towards a futuristic stage beyond sustainability; a developing and evolving stage.
Al Shaibani concluded: The fruitful coordination and cooperation among all the parties will shape a prosperous future for the space sector in the UAE. Under the leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of MBRSC and General Supervisor of all the Centres projects, strategic and development plans, MBRSC adopts an approach and objective based on strengthening local infrastructure, qualifying and investing in the capability of Emirati youth, strengthening international partnerships, and launching more ambitious space projects that serve development in the UAE and humanity worldwide.
Commenting on the Policy, Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, Yahsat said: Since its inception, the UAE Space Agency has worked toward developing and advancing the nations space capacity. Today’s issuance of the national space policy is a further milestone toward the country’s vision and ambition to become one of the worlds main players in the space industry.
He added: In the past few years, the UAE space sector has contributed to the diversification of the national economy. Further to the critical role that the space industry plays in connectivity, it also develops local talent. There is no doubt that establishing sustainable space infrastructure in the UAE represents a very important move toward achieving our ambitions and economics goals.
Samer Halawi, Thuraya Telecommunications Company CEO, said: As members of the National Space Policy Committee, we are proud to have been a member of the committee which drafted the national space policy, paving the way for the UAE to be a key contributor in space science and innovation. It is an honour to carry the UAE flag across the world in major international forums, and we will continue to support and contribute to the success of the space sector in the UAE. Thuraya was the first company to fulfill the founding fathers vision that the UAE should be a key player in space for the benefit of humankind. We save and improve lives daily – by responding to distressed calls, by supporting NGOs and the United Nations in crisis response and management, and simply by connecting loved ones with one another.
The policy consists of six sections, including an introduction that places emphasis on the UAEs historical relationship with space and its efforts in this field since 2014 with the founding of the UAE Space Agency the regions first national space agency and coincided with the UAE leaderships announcement of its intention to explore Mars and its atmosphere. The UAE Mars mission will launch in 2020.
The document outlines core principles for the space sector which fall in line with the UAEs vision and strategic planning across other sectors, the UAEs goals and ambitions for space sector activity, including support for key industries and the development of a sustainable, competitive and diverse commercial space industry.
It also identifies the basic enabling capabilities necessary for realising its aims, provides the relevant authorities with instructions for supporting space sector development, and Includes follow-up measures to ensure that the policy is successfully implemented.
Following the launch of the policy, the UAE Space Agency will turn its efforts to launching the National Space Sector Strategy, and the related legislations and laws.