NASA and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a pact to cooperate in space exploration at a meeting in Abu Dhabi.
The pact will enable the two to share scientific data, research facilities, spacecraft and aeronautics research. In addition to sharing , the collaboration will also focus on one of NASA’s key pursuits for the foreseeable future — exploration of Mars.
“NASA is leading an ambitious journey to Mars that includes partnerships with the private sector and many international partners,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
“I am confident this new framework agreement with the UAE Space Agency will help advance this journey, as well as other endeavors 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.”
Additionally, the two countries will aim to collaborate on the creation and implementation of education and public outreach programs and joint workshops, with the goal of facilitating the exchange of scientists, engineers, and views and experiences on relevant regulatory frameworks and standards.
“The United Arab Emirates and the United States of America are long-standing allies and have deep economic, cultural and diplomatic ties,” said UAE Space Agency Chairman Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi. “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.”
Although the UAE’s space agency was only created in 2014, the country has had a small presence in space and plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2020 — “the first by an Arab, Islamic country.” However, it has not disclosed a budget or a timeline for such a mission.
Bolden has spent the last few days in the Middle East in talks with representatives from Israel, Jordan and the UAE to talk about the possibility of cooperation on NASA’s Mars mission.