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United Nations to open Outer Space Affairs project office in Abu Dhabi

United Nations to open Outer Space Affairs project office in Abu Dhabi

The UAE has already embarked on an ambitious space exploration strategy

The United Nations for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the UAE Space Agency reached an agreement on Sunday to set up a project office in Abu Dhabi.

The UNOOSA office plans to focus on two main areas: enhancing the role of the space sector in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and applying sustainability standards in space activities nationally, regionally and globally, reported official news agency WAM.

The agreement is also in line with the UAE’s goals to establish sustainable and diversified economic growth across all sectors, including the burgeoning space sector and its various activities, in a manner consistent with the principles set by the United Nations Committee of Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

“The UAE Space Agency is pleased to collaborate with UNOOSA in the effort to ensure sustainable development in outer space so that all of humanity can continue to benefit from its uses for peaceful purposes and socioeconomic benefit now and in the long term,” said by Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency.

“Through this agreement, UNOOSA and the UAE take a big step towards establishing a new international hub for space sustainability. With space technology accelerating sustainable development around the world and global investment in the space environment increasing, now is the time to strengthen global dialogue on space sustainability issues,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the UNOOSA.

According to the UNOOSA, more than 80 countries have launched satellites since 1957, of which over 2,500 are currently operational.

The UN space entity’s Access to Space 4 All Initiative aims for more countries to have access to space and space data to help with global sustainable development goals.

“Governments, private sector and academia’s support and investment in space activities need to be reinforced more than ever. This office will further highlight the UAE’s role in developing policies and programmes in the space sector. And, with its steadfast commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and significant achievements in the space sector, the UAE the perfect partner for this ambitious plan,” added Di Pippo.

The UAE has made considerable strides within the field of space exploration over recent years including an ambitious Emirates Mars Mission that will commence soon.

The UAE’s Mars Hope Probe is scheduled to launch to the red planet on July 15, 2020.

Read: Emirates Mars Mission confirms launch date for Hope probe

The first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, the probe is expected to enter Mars’ orbit in February 2021.

In September last year, Hazzaa Al Mansoori became the first Emirati in space when he commenced his eight-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Read also: UAE leads its pursuit of a strong astronaut core

The second edition of the UAE Astronaut Programme to choose the next two Emirati astronauts, conducted by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), is currently underway.

Read: Registration deadline for UAE Astronaut Programme extended to May 1

The Arab Space Cooperation Group meanwhile is a collaboration of 14 Arab countries working on their inaugural project, the 813 Satellite.

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