x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Arab world's launch into space marred by 'lack of confidence'

Institute chief seeks Arab federation for astro industry.

A lack of confidence and a weak culture of research and development is holding back the Arab world's launch into the space industry, a leader in the field says.

Ahmed Al Mansoori, the director general of the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (Eiast), wants a committee set up to promote research and development and get other Arab countries on board.

Mr Al Mansoori told the Arab Conference on Astronomy and Space Sciences in Oman yesterday that the need for a Gulf federation was urgent to get the Middle East involved in developing a space industry for future generations.

He said the region should have a vision with clear objectives of what type of work needed to be done. "Providing our youth with the right skills, imparting practical skills and driving their involvement in space research globally are imperative in boosting their confidence and involvement," Mr Al Mansoori said.

He said the Arab world was perceived as nothing more than an end user of space technology.

"As a result, knowledge transfer, training and empowerment are not prioritised," Mr Al Mansoori said.

"Eiast is addressing this gap by focusing on knowledge transfer and empowering our human resources through their active involvement in all projects.

"More than the ability to buy a satellite or set up a telescope, what really matters is that our youth must be able to build these projects, which in turn will enhance their confidence in their abilities to become active participants in space research."

Eiast, a department of the Dubai Government, was created to promote scientific innovation and advanced technology in the UAE.

It was involved in the launch of Dubai Sat 1 and is working on the current preparations for Dubai Sat 2.

eharnan@thenational.ae