Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi reappointed as UAE Space Agency chief

He replaces Sarah Al Amiri, who was appointed in a cabinet reshuffle in 2020

Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of Education, is chairman of the UAE Space Agency again after previously serving in the role from 2017 to 2020. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Powered by automated translation

Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of Education, has been reappointed as chairman of the UAE Space Agency, the organisation that helps develop the nation's space policies and funds projects.

He replaces Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, who served as chairwoman of the agency, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle in 2020.

The UAE Space Agency held an event for its staff at Emirates Towers to welcome Dr Al Falasi into the role, a video that was posted on the agency's X account on Friday showed.

"Though I left this sector, I always continued to follow its achievements," Dr Al Falasi said at the event.

"Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri worked tirelessly alongside you all. We now have a robust team at the UAE Space Agency.

"Initially, we had only one project, but now we have diverse portfolio. The remarkable thing about the UAE government is that we complement each other by, passing the torch from one to another."

Dr Al Falasi previously served as chairman of the agency from 2017 to 2020.

Some of the milestone missions that were undertaken by the UAE during his tenure included sending the first Emirati to space, developing the first domestically built satellite and launching a mission to Mars.

He has an impressive portfolio in other government roles, including serving as chairman of the General Authority of Sports since 2021 and Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs in 2021.

From 2016 to 2020, he also served as the Minister of State for Higher Education.

Ms Al Amiri, who became the youngest woman to lead a space agency, congratulated Dr Al Falasi on his reappointment.

"Dr Ahmad has been an indispensable part of the space sector's dedicated team," she said.

"I had the privilege of working with him previously on the Emirates Mars Mission, and today he continues his journey.

"I give my heartfelt thanks for all you have done and gratitude for the pivotal transformations you've consistently undertaken since the establishment of the UAE Space Agency."

Ms Al Amiri also played a crucial role in the UAE's space programme, helping to lead the development of the Hope project – the Arab world's first mission to the Red Planet.

During her tenure, the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt was also announced, which is the UAE's most ambitious mission yet.

It involves launching the MBR Explorer spacecraft by 2028, with the goal of studying seven asteroids and attempting a landing on the last one.

Ms Al Amiri was dedicated to helping the UAE build a private space sector, so that the national economy would get a further boost from space activities.

It is hoped that the mission to the asteroid belt would be developed mostly by the private sector.

UAE space missions – in pictures

Updated: March 23, 2024, 7:41 AM