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The UAE Space Agency joined Kibo-ABC initiative!

Last Updated: May 8, 2020

Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency (Credit: UAESA)

The UAE Space Agency has become an official member of the Kibo-ABC initiative on Wednesday, 8 January, after gaining full support of all Kibo-ABC members. Being part of Kibo-ABC initiative consolidates the Agency's role in building Emirati human capabilities in the space sector, and developing the skills of the youth in science and technology.

The UAE Space Agency was established in Abu Dhabi in 2014, to develop and regulate the UAE's space sector, enhance national capabilities, and contribute to a diversified economy. The Agency also aims to establish international partnerships for the growth of the space industry, and encourage the development of space science and technology.

The educational program of the UAE Space Agency centers on four main objectives, targeting school and university students. These objectives include providing scholarships and sponsorships, training and development programs like space camps and competitions, outreach and awareness programs, and establishing new space degree programs. The UAE currently has three universities providing space programs and five Space Research and Development (R&D) centers with state-of-the-art facilities to provide students with the best education and training.

In 2018 and 2019, the UAE Space Agency has expanded its training and outreach programs, which is key for raising awareness about the space sector, engaging the society, and inspiring young talents to enter the space industry. Some of the Agency's activities involve sponsoring space camps like the Spacepreneur Academy, the Compass International's Space Camp, and the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences' (SCASS) Space Camp.

As part of its support for emerging talents, the UAE Space Agency has also provided scholarships to 48 students since 2015, which demonstrates the UAE's efforts to nurture and encourage youth to pursue STEM education and contribute to the space sector.

Additionally, the Agency has developed a Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Roadmap to identify a number of key science and technology areas for the Agency's support and funding throughout the next five years, as part of its efforts to enhance space science research and drive innovation capabilities in the UAE.

The UAE Space Agency has been actively promoting space activities including the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), which is set to launch in July 2020, and aims to accelerate the development of the UAE's space, education, and science and technology sectors.

His Excellency Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said, "The UAE Space Agency is committed to developing a sustainable space sector, therefore, one of our main objectives for reaching this goal is to develop highly skilled capabilities in science and technology, and nurture a culture of innovation."

"As the role of youth is critical for building a sustainable future, we make sure to empower youth through providing them with educational opportunities, scholarships, and career support, and we are proud to say that the space workforce in the UAE mainly consists of youth, with the average age of the UAE Space Agency's workforce being 30."

His Excellency added, "We are delighted to be joining Kibo-ABC initiative and contribute to developing human capacity in the space sector through Kibo's projects. We are also honored to be working with JAXA to promote the exchange of valuable knowledge and expertise."

On 22 March 2016, the UAE Space Agency signed an agreement with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which entails cooperation in space activities and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, to strengthen the cooperation between the two parties. The UAE Space Agency is interested in Kibo-ABC activities such as Asian Try Zero-G, SSAF (Space Seeds for Asian Future) and Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC).

Being involved in Kibo-ABC initiative supports the UAE's national strategy for innovation, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which aims to make the UAE a global innovation leader.

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