Space Races to Dubai Air Show
The addition of the Space Pavilion at Dubai Air Show 2019 comes as the UAE increases its focus on space and prepares for a Mission to Mars.
Celebrity astronauts promoting space here include Hazzaa Al Mansoori, who became the first Emirati astronaut to reach space on Sept. 25 this year, and Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Col. Al Worden, USAF-Ret, who returns after the success of his appearance in 2017.
This year, the UAE space industry partnered with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan and Kuwait to form the Arab Space Cooperation Group with the shared goal of advancing the region’s space industry.
Al Mansoori stayed at the International Space Station for eight days, studying the effects of microgravity compared with gravity on Earth. Previously he flew the UAE Air Force’s F-16 Block 60 and was one of the first Arab pilots to take part in the Dubai Airshow’s celebrations on the 50th anniversary of the UAE Armed Forces.
The Middle East’s investment in space is not limited to the UAE, with Saudi Arabia announcing the establishment of a national space agency led by His Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first Arab astronaut into space in 1985 who assisted in the deployment of the Arab Satellite Communications Organization with NASA. The University of Kuwait has also been involved in specific projects directly with NASA, and the KISR (Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research) has alluded to the potential of a home-grown agency.
The Dubai Airshow’s focus on the space sector includes an exhibition area and two dedicated conferences produced in collaboration with the UAE Space Agency: Women in Space and Tech Talks. The two conferences will focus on promoting global collaboration to deliver economical access to space, future missions and projects within the GCC Gulf region while providing a global outlook into investment and innovation. Other conversations will focus on the New Space economy and the redefining of business models to boost space mission success and drive down costs, along with discussions on developing the next generation of space talents through STEM education projects.
Over 40 influential speakers will share insights during two days of content, including H.E Dr. Ahmed Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, minister of state for higher education and advanced skills, chairman, UAE Space Agency; Simonetta Di Pippo, director, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs; Jean-Yves Le Gall, president, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES); Leanne Caret, CEO, Defense, Space & Security, Boeing; and Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Col. Al Worden, one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon.
“This is an exciting year for the space industry in the UAE. As a nation, we are proud to have made historic advancements in the space industry propelling the nation forward,” said H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency. “As we progress toward a knowledge-based economy, we are eager to develop new partnerships with different aerospace entities and showcase our initiatives to interested parties from around the world at the Dubai Airshow’s Space Pavilion.”
Women in Space will take place on Monday during the Dubai Airshow. Women in Space also includes an Astronaut Fireside Chat, where Claudie Haigneré, former astronaut, Centre National d'Études Spatiales and the European Space Agency, will be interviewed by Robert Lightfoot, vice president of strategy & business development, Lockheed Martin and former acting administrator of NASA.
The Tech Talks will take place on Tuesday, with speakers focusing on global collaboration for space exploration from international space agencies including Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Glavkosmos, Saudi Space Commission and the UK Space Agency.