13 June 2016 News

NASA signs an agreement with United Arab Emirates

NASA and UAE signing formal agreement. Image: NASA
NASA and UAE signing formal agreement. Image: NASA

At a meeting in Abu Dhabi yesterday (12th June), NASA and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement to become space-faring collaborators with the mutual aim of working together in the exploration and peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of humanity.

“NASA is leading an ambitious journey to Mars that includes partnerships with the private sector and many international partners,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who formalised and signed the agreement with UAE Space Agency Chairman Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi.

“I am confident this new framework agreement with the UAE Space Agency will help advance this journey, as well as other endeavours in the peaceful exploration of outer space. Already, technical experts from our two countries are engaged in discussions on several areas of mutual interest, and I believe our two agencies will collaborate for years to come through a common interest in aeronautics, exploration and discovery.”

The agreement, recognised by both parties as a mutual benefit to be gained from working together, covers many aspects of the space industry from technology, safety and mission assurance, along with Earth science, aeronautics, space operations and exploration. In addition, the two countries will aim to collaborate on the creation and implementation of education and public outreach programs and exchange scientific data via joint workshops.

As the first field of collaboration between the two agencies, NASA and the UAE Space Agency formalised cooperation in the exploration of Mars by signing an Implementing Arrangement under the Framework. This will involve establishing a joint steering group to discuss potential future projects that contribute to exploring the Red Planet.

Missions to our martian neighbour by NASA have recently come under scrutiny by the U.S congress who have questioned whether such a mission is even affordable. Nonetheless, the deal with NASA will no doubt benefit both parties and extend the reach of the UAE to Mars, as its current mission is limited to an unmanned probe expected to reach the Red Planet by 2021.

Meanwhile, this is not the first cooperative agreement the UEAs space agency has made. Last year UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Russian Federal Space Agency “ROSCOSMOS,” along with similar deals made with UK and China.

Speaking of the agreement with NASA, Al Romaithi says, “the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America are long-standing allies and have deep economic, cultural and diplomatic ties. We at the UAE Space Agency genuinely welcome the opportunity to collaborate and work with the USA and NASA in the fields of aeronautics, space science, and the peaceful exploration of outer space toward the common goal of fostering the well-being of humankind.”

“The reason why cooperation and collaboration are important to the UAESA is because we believe that working alongside international partners is the best way to accelerate the development of space technologies and the space sector within the UAE. The space sector serves as a catalysts for economic development and diversification, creating job opportunities and enabling scientists and engineers to become leaders of an industry that can bring huge benefits to our daily lives.”

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