x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

UAE may cooperate with Argentina on satellite use

The countries plan to use satellites to exchange information and images on soil quality and agriculture issues.

The Argentinian foreign minister, Hector Timerman, in Dubai yesterday. Duncan Chard for the National
The Argentinian foreign minister, Hector Timerman, in Dubai yesterday. Duncan Chard for the National

DUBAI // Emirati satellites are being considered by Argentina for the exchange of information and images, said Argentina’s foreign minister on Saturday.

The agreement, signed by both countries last year for peaceful cooperation on space issues, has led to projects of collaboration and support for satellite and other joint missions.

“Last July, we received a delegation from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology in Buenos Aires and they visited our research centres,” said Hector Timerman, who is on a visit to the UAE.

“They were interested in the assay facilities and laboratories of Invap and the National Commission for Space Activities for future projects.”

Invap is an Argentine company that builds satellites and ground stations.

He said there were projects between the ground segments of the institution and the commission for the support of satellite missions by ground stations as well as possible international joint missions.

“In addition, Emirati satellites are being considered for the reception of information,” Mr Timerman said. “We’re also thinking of participating in the Dubai Air Show. Argentina is the only country in Latin America that launched a satellite together with Nasa and it’s a satellite that studies the conditions of the seas, their salinisation, fisheries and agriculture.”

Different images are collected by both countries’ satellites, for instance on the salinity of the water, to see whether there is any red tide, whether there is enough water for crops and the movement of the sand in desertification.

The UAE can download the images from Argentina’s satellites, and this helps in sharing of information and knowledge between the countries.

The satellites are low-orbit, about 700 kilometres up, and orbit the Earth two to three times a day.

Another project under discussion involves the navigation of tracking satellites. The UAE’s stations are being considered for a project involving many stations in different parts of the world to track satellites.

Considered the most advanced country in nuclear and space technology in Latin America, Argentina also signed an agreement with the UAE on the peaceful use of nuclear energy last year.

“We are now presiding over the group of nuclear providers,” said Mr Timerman, who visited Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, on Saturday.

“We are also exchanging information with the UAE and we think we can help the Gulf in many aspects. I think the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the future will be very important to every country.”

One of these uses is water desalination. “We’ve been working on nuclear energy for the past 40 years,” he said. “That can be done through a nuclear reactor and we are working on it. We’ll be finished very soon and we’ll be operating with countries in the region.”

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and Qatar are some of the other countries that have been working with Argentina.

“The technology that you can find in Argentina is among the best in the world and the good thing about Argentina is that it has proven to the world that we have never worked on nuclear weapons,” said Mr Timerman.

“We have people coming from the UAE to our country to visit our laboratories and to start working with our people to see their needs. Nuclear energy is very safe, it doesn’t damage the environment and it’s not the only way to obtain energy but it’s one more way that we cannot leave out of the equation when we have to understand the future needs of energy in the world.”

Some of the work plan includes training and the use of nuclear medicine.

cmalek@thenational.ae