New Abu Dhabi space centre will teach Emiratis to make satellites

Technical space centre will train students to design and build satellites and conduct research on space

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Abu Dhabi will establish a centre for space technology and innovation to encourage Emiratis to study the science and inspire some of the UAE's future space missions.

On Tuesday, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the UAE Space Agency and Al Yah Satellite Communications signed an agreement to create the Khalifa University Space Technology and Innovation Centre.

The centre will be technical space hub in which students will learn about satellites and conducting research on space.

Students will help to support the UAE Space Agency's initiatives and learn to design, assemble and test small satellites at the YahSat Space Lab, which was established in 2017.

The space lab produced and successfully launched the UAE’s first imaging CubeSat in 2018.

Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said the new centre would support the country's ambition to expand its space sector and promote entrepreneurship.

"[This collaboration] aims to enhance the interest of youth in technology and innovation, and getting engaged in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths," Dr Al Falasi said.

"This year, we launched a national strategy for the space sector that will help our country gain insights matching the level of advanced countries in this vital sector.”

Dr Al Falasi is also Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises.

Dr Arif Al Hammadi, executive vice president of Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “As the UAE marches ahead with its ambitious plans for space missions, keeping pace with the technology advancements in this special industry has become not only essential for every institution in the country, but prudent as well."

Two Khalifa University research centres will support the new centre's activities.

The space robotics research module will be taught by research staff from the university's Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems.

Space power and energy storage research will be led by its Advanced Power and Energy Centre.

Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, said he was confident the collaboration would strengthen and support the country's space ambitions.

"The achievements gained by the national space sector is the translation of the government’s wise and long-term vision for developing the space sector, which further enhances the plans and agendas in support of the sector," Dr Al Ahbabi said.

“We believe that all outcomes of this collaboration will have a significant role in consolidating the entrepreneurial spirit among youth and increasing the number of trained staff in space sector.”