The UAE yesterday announced its own Space Agency, and plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021 in what is described as the Arab world’s first mission to another planet.
The UAE Space Agency has been created to coordinate the country’s growing space technology sector as well supervise the mission. The investment into the programme has already exceeded Dh20 billion, including acquisitions of satellite and TV broadcast company, Al Yah Satellite Communications, mobile satellite communication company, Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications, and Earth mapping system, Dubai Sat.
The Mars probe will take a journey of nine months and more than 92 million kilometre to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the nation.
“The UAE Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity,” President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said.
“The UAE’s purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration and to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country’s development plans.”
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: “Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients. Our region is a region of civilisation. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilise.
“We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward.”