The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, founded in 2006, is home to the UAE National Space Programme. The Centre builds and operates earth observation satellites, offering imaging and data analysis services to clients around the world. The Centre launched DubaiSat-1, DubaiSat-2, and recently launched KhalifaSat on 29 October 2018 from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. KhalifaSat was developed 100% in the UAE by a team of highly qualified Emirati engineers. The Centre is responsible for the development of the Emirates Mars Mission and the Mars Hope Probe, a mission to reach Mars orbit by 2021 and gather key science data about Mars’ atmosphere, as well as the UAE Astronaut Programme and the development of the Mars 2117 vision to build a human colony on Mars.
The significance associated with winning the right to host the IAC in 2020 would not be lost on the young people of the UAE, and would serve to further illustrate the progress that has been made in the space sector in just over a decade. Space has become an attractive sector to many Emiratis and MBRSC’s strategy is mainly to harness space technology in the country and region in a way that attains socioeconomic development over the long term.
Hosting IAC 2020 will be a knowledge enrichment platform for the youth in the fields of space science and technology. It will act as an accelerator for STEM education, and will be a source of enormous pride and inspiration for the next generations who are hoping to participate in the space sector. The legacy of IAC 2020 will also be felt across the region, acting as a catalyst for other nations to establish space centres and agencies.
However, the impact of both the IAC 2020 coming to Dubai and the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission - Hope mission in the same year will send a message that reaches much further than the UAE. It will send a message to Arabs that they too can have an impact in space, and that their contributions are respected and valued by the international community. The UAE is regarded as being a shining light in the region, and a beacon of hope for young people, and the Hope probe is an example of this, sending the message that the Arab world can contribute to humanity, to science and to human endeavor.
Space is a sector that is growing in the UAE, and, as a result of the increased activity, it’s now growing in the region too. To see an Arab nation hosting the IAC would act as an accelerator to this growth, as the people would see the impact the UAE is having after just over a decade of space activity.
The Arab world once played a vital role in advancing humanity’s understanding of science, mathematics and the stars themselves, and while during the course of time parts of the region have become embroiled in difficulties, the UAE hopes to spread the message to the youth that they can make a difference, and that they can accomplish amazing things. Space is central to this.
The UAE is also keen to strengthen and enhance cooperation between all countries in the space sector. International cooperation is fundamental for the development of space activities in the UAE and the region. IAC provides the ideal platform for the exchange of experiences and mutual cooperation, pushing the industry on to an even more advanced level.
The congress has had a huge impact on the space industry in a number of ways, encouraging new business relationships, international cooperation between countries and agencies, the introduction of investment plans to support space launches, manufacturing, ground station operations and services. Finally, it gives members and attendees the possibility to grow their space program and get their projects and missions off the ground.
Our vision in the UAE is to make a contribution to humanity and to science. We see an honour such as hosting IAC 2020 as being a pivotal step in our journey towards accomplishing our ambitions.