The UAE Space Agency has signed a landmark agreement with Nasa opening up the prospect of moon missions in the future
Fly me to the moon: lunar travel looms as UAE signs Nasa deal
The UAE will play a part in future missions to the moon after the country's space agency strengthened ties with Nasa.
The UAE Space Agency signed a partnership with its American counterpart that outlines co-operation between the two nations in a number of fields related to space exploration.
The Implementing Arrangement (IA) reaffirms a framework agreement signed between the two bodies in June 2016, which set out partnerships in human and robotic exploration of the surface of the moon, research and flight activities in low-Earth orbit and research projects.
The agreement was signed by Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills and chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and James Bridenstine, administrator at Nasa, during a ceremony held at the 69th International Astronautical Congress, in Berlin, Germany.
The new IA opens up the prospect of UAE astronauts taking advantage of Nasa training and allows for further use of the International Space Station, as well as for the UAE Space Agency to contribute to future lunar exploration.
“The signing of this agreement reflects the UAE Space Agency’s commitment to further strengthening partnerships with the most important space agencies around the world, with a shared aspiration to launch space exploration projects that benefit humanity in its entirety,” said Dr Al Falasi.
“It is also in line with the UAE’s objectives of bolstering its presence within the global space sector.”
Mr Bridenstine welcomed the partnership with the UAE, as the space agency looks towards launching missions to the moon once more.
“As Nasa builds co-operation for the return of humans to the moon for long-term exploration and utilisation, we welcome the opportunity to expand our partnership with the UAE Space Agency as it builds its significant capabilities on Earth, in low-Earth orbit, and beyond,” Mr Bridenstine said.
The IA also outlines opportunities for ground-based research projects at the UAE’s Mars Scientific City in collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, a landmark research and development facility that aims to simulate conditions on the Red Planet and is set to launch in 2020.
As part of the agreement, and in collaboration with MBRSC, the UAE Space Agency and Nasa will explore the feasibility of conducting field studies and research in space biology, physical sciences and human research at the City.
Nasa has said it plans to return to the moon by 2023.
The move was launched as the agency prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first time humans landed on the moon in 2019.