UAE Space Agency signs letter of intent with NASA

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(Abu Dhabi) – The UAE Space Agency has signed a letter of intent with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, that covers cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space and the UAE’s recently launched astronaut programme.

The agreement was signed at the Farnborough International Airshow, being held in the UK between 16th and 22nd July.

The document was signed by Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, and James Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator. Several officials and representatives from the two sides were also present for the signing ceremony at the biannual air show.

The signing comes as the national space sector enters a new phase of activities, with the UAE Astronaut Programme having recently announced the selection of nine candidates who will undergo a period of assessment and training. Following the selection of the final team of astronauts, the first Emirati astronaut is scheduled to launch and arrive at the International Space Station in April 2019.

Speaking at Farnborough, Dr. Al Ahbabi said, “This agreement strengthens our ongoing mutual collaboration and contributes to the strategic objectives of the UAE Space Agency. The formation of close partnerships with leading space agencies and organisations around the world continues to contribute to the strengthening of our international standing within the global space sector.

“This agreement is particularly important due to NASA’s wide-reaching expertise in manned space missions. NASA has a record number of successful manned spaceflights that have brought significant contributions to humankind’s development, and our agreement with NASA will enhance our national capabilities in this advanced field.”

A high-level delegation from the UAE Space Agency participated in the Farnborough International Airshow and met senior leaders from the global space sector. The agency also took part in the Space Zone exhibition, during which agency officials observed and discussed the latest industry developments with counterparts from other international organisations.