The United Arab Emirates Space Agency, the body in charge for the realization of UAE's first unmanned mission to Mars by 2021, has proclaimed a space partnership with France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French government agency responsible for shaping and performing its space policy.
Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, UAE Space Agency's chairman, confirmed after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries this Thursday, "This agreement is the first of its kind between the UAE and a foreign nation to partner in space activities." He added that working with the friendly country such as France in space exploration will help to solidify both countries' connection to each other. The workforce from their space agency will also benefit from the expertise and experience learned from the CNES people.
Dr. Mohammad Nasser Al Ahbabi, the director general of UAE Space Agency, told that together with his associates, they were very enthusiastic to be cooperating with CNES, known for its worldwide networks with the US and other countries of space powers. He noted that even though UAE has been managing satellites and some space activities for decades, their strategic partnership with France's CNES will be a golden opportunity so that both agencies can collaborate on mutual cooperation, public outreach programs and scientific missions on space.
Michel Miraillet, UAE French ambassador, said "We already have numerous partnerships in various fields. With this memorandum, it's a new step in our relationship."
The MoU agreement includes an extensive framework for partnership between the UAE, the UAE Space Agency, France and CNES in space activities, including implementation and conception of joint projects and studies, the exchange of scientific information and data, an exchange of specialists and training of personnel between the two agencies, ground station operations support, as well as government activities related to space policy, human development and public outreach.
Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of CNES also known as the National Centre of Space Studies of France, said "We are extremely satisfied and proud of this memorandum. This cooperation within the aerospacial field, which is longstanding, is a sign that the strong desire of our two countries to work together is now real. This confirms the commitment of the CNES to become a partner of the UAESA."
The UAE established its space agency last July and announced plans to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021, to coincide with the country's 50th anniversary.
Photo: Curtis Palmer | Flickr