Everything You Need to Know About Abu Dhabi’s First Pan-Arab Space Organization
By Muhammed Aladdin
With the Global Space Conference in Abu Dhabi unfolding, 11 Arab countries came together by signing a new charter that would establish the first pan-Arab Space Organization. It is the first body of its kind that would seek to develop the region’s flourishing space sector.
The second edition of the UAE’s Global Space Conference was the largest gathering of global space industry leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.
11 years ago, the UAE proposed the establishment of an Arab Space Organization, submitting plans to the region’s governments and pushing for the idea at the Global Space Forum a year later in 2009.
Back then, Abu Dhabi envisioned a joint civilian project that would bring scientists from all across the region to participate in research. In addition, the agency would monitor security, as well as environmental changes, through equatorial satellites. The organization would have reduced the cost Arab countries would have to pay to put satellites into orbit using foreign space foundations.
After the proposal, little to no effort was exerted by fellow Arab nations to consolidate the idea, and as a result, the blueprint fell apart. At that time, the Arab Spring had each country focusing on its inner challenges and Arab cooperation in space was simply put to the sidelines.
In 2014, a presidential decree saw the inauguration of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, and by then, the Emirates had already put a satellite in space and established an Earth Observation Center in Abu Dhabi.
A decade later, Arab countries would come together and agree that the time has come for joint cooperation in space, and for the first time in over a decade, the UAE’s original vision came to fruition.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced the inauguration of the new space foundation. He also revealed that their first project is a satellite named 813 that would monitor the effect of climate change on the region.
The Sheikh added that the satellite is named after the year on which the Baghdad-based House of Wisdom, as well as the School of Astronomy, were established.
“The House brought together scientists, translated knowledge, and became a place for the region to unleash its scientific energy,” he tweeted.
The UAE had brought countries of the Arab world to work together on this project because, at the end of the day, we share history, culture, language, and civilization.
“Our region is a civilization. Our youth are builders of civilizations. We must all believe in this principle,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed concluded.