In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, ground crew check on the re-entry capsule of Shenzhou 11 spacecraft after it landed in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. A pair of Chinese astronauts returned Friday from a monthlong stay aboard the country's space station, China's sixth and longest crewed mission and a sign of the growing ambitions of its rapidly advancing space program. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP)
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, ground crew check on the re-entry capsule of Shenzhou 11 spacecraft after it landed in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Friday, Nov. 18, 20Show more

Welcome to the second space race

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We are living in the second great age of space exploration.

The first was born from the ashes of the Second World War and was fuelled by the fight for supremacy between capitalism and communism, the defining struggle of the last century.

It ended with American footprints on the Moon and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, unable to keep up the pace, both economically and technologically.

This second space race, like our world today, is more complex and multifaceted than the first. It is driven by many factors and many, many more players.

Some are familiar faces. Nasa, the United States government agency behind both the Apollo Moon missions and the space shuttle, still explores our solar system, but its budget is a fraction of the glory days of the 1960s and it is currently unable to send a human into orbit.

Russia retains its ageing Soyuz rockets as a kind of flying taxi service to the International Space Station, due to celebrate its 30th birthday next year. Its grander visions of rockets carrying the red star to other worlds decay and rust in corners of the cosmodromes in far-flung former satellite states of the USSR.

Other nations still see space exploration as an expression of national pride and ambition.

China, the world’s second largest economic power, entered the age of manned space flight in 2003 with its Shenzhou programme. China expects to begin the construction of its first space station next year and talks of putting men (and women) on the Moon within 15 years.

India also uses space technology to demonstrate its rising influence. While the world’s seventh largest economic power has not yet committed itself to manned space flight, its rockets have lifted dozens of satellites into orbit, creating a commercial space programme worth tens of millions of dollars.

It would be fair to say that the space ambitions of China and India have not greatly seized the imagination of the world beyond those two countries. Yet there is a palpable sense of excitement about space and its potential once more.

When Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the Moon in July 1969, the United Arab Emirates existed only as a vision of its founders, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed.

Forty six years later, the UAE is planning to become the first Muslim nation to send a mission to Mars, placing a research satellite in orbit around the Red Planet.

The orbiting spacecraft has been named Hope, or Al Amal in Arabic, and it is intended to reach Mars in 2021, the 50th anniversary of the UAE.

Hope is an appropriate name, representing both the spirit of space exploration and the country’s optimism for the future. The announcement of the UAE’s Mission to Mars made headlines around the world, as did the announcement in February by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, that the UAE was proposing to build a city on Mars by 2117.

It was not that the source of these announcements was unexpected or that the ambitions were seen as improbable. Rather, the home of the world’s tallest building and a country that has opened its arms to the potential of everything from 1,000-km/h hyperloop trains to 3-D printed buildings and passenger taxi drones is where most people would expect to find the future.

This openness to ideas and technologies - no matter how seemingly far-fetched - is what characterises the new space age. Increasingly its successes come from private capital, either operating alone or in partnership with governments, hard-pressed to convince their taxpayers and voters that venturing beyond our world is better than solving the problems they face on it.

Not that the government sector has not enjoyed its share of the glamour. The world celebrated the European Space Agency’s successful Rosetta mission when it placed the lander Philae on the surface of a comet in November 2014.

The cheers were even louder when Nasa successfully woke up its New Horizons spacecraft after an eight-year and 4.8-billion-kilometre journey to Pluto. Meanwhile, Cassini-Huygens, another unmanned probe that is a collaboration between Nasa, the ESA and the Italian Space Agency, will end its 20-year grand tour of our solar system with a controlled crash into Saturn in September.

Mankind remains in low Earth orbit, though. The colonisation of Mars is a tantalising prospect, even if the date for mankind’s first steps on the Red Planet seem a movable feast.

It is the Moon that seems closer on the horizon. The Lunar XPRIZE, sponsored by Google, offers US$20 million for the first successful privately-funded landing on the Moon, using an unmanned rover that must travel 500 metres and broadcast high-quality images. The four remaining teams must blast off by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, US space policy vacillates with regime change and the fortunes of the economy. President Barack Obama abandoned a pledge by George W Bush to return to the Moon by 2020, to concentrate on the Orion spacecraft, essentially a bigger version of the Apollo capsule that will allow the US to send its first astronauts into space since the ending of the shuttle programme in around 2023.

Under the Trump administration, the policy as outlined by vice president Mike Pence last month is now to send US astronauts back to the Moon and, in his words: “Boots on the surface of Mars.” The specifics of both missions, though, remain unclear.

What both President Trump and President Obama have recognised is that the exploration of space is now better achieved in partnership with the private sector. Boeing and Lockheed Martin together form the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which offers three launch vehicles and is currently working on Vulcan, a heavy rocket expected to make its first flight in 2017.

Boeing and the ULA are also working on the Space Launch System, a heavy lift rocket intended to replace the space shuttle for manned flight and with a capability of carrying spacecraft with the potential to reach the Moon and even Mars. Boeing is also developing the CST-100 Starliner, a crewed capsule designed to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and which is scheduled to launch for the first time in 2018.

Where the public imagination has been truly captured though, is when private enterprise declares its own objectives in space. These are the new lords of the universe, or at least the solar system, with ambitions as vast as their fortunes and quite possibly their egos.

The most visible is Elon Musk, best known for the Tesla range of electric cars but who has also created a thriving commercial rocket business called SpaceX.

Musk’s ambitions go much deeper into space. He claims to be ready to send two private citizens round the Moon next year in his (untested) Dragon 2 capsule. Beyond that he speaks of missions to Mars in 10 years, using another (untested and indeed unbuilt) spaceship he has called the Heart of Gold in tribute to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Other high-profile names include Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic suborbital space plane has been delayed after the prototype crashed in 2014, along with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Horizon is in competition with SpaceX and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who is supporting Breakthrough Starshot, an ambitious programme to send tiny “nano-spaceships” to distant star systems using light-beam propulsion.

Add in Microsoft’s Paul Allen, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google and you have a who’s who of capitalism in the information age.

These are men unused to failure, even with stakes this high. Can they succeed? At least this new space race is not for the domination of competing ideologies but a quest for knowledge. And in this race, we can all be winners.

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000

Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Transmission: six-speed manual
Power: 325bhp
Torque: 370Nm
Speed: 0-100km/h 3.9 seconds
Price: Dh230,000
On sale: now


Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

Voy! Voy! Voy!

Director: Omar Hilal
Stars: Muhammad Farrag, Bayoumi Fouad, Nelly Karim
Rating: 4/5

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

UK - UAE Trade

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and the UAE in 2022 was £21.6 billion (Dh98 billion). 

This is an increase of 63.0 per cent or £8.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of 2021.


The UAE was the UK’s 19th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022 accounting for 1.3 per cent of total UK trade.

The flights: South African Airways flies from Dubai International Airport with a stop in Johannesburg, with prices starting from around Dh4,000 return. Emirates can get you there with a stop in Lusaka from around Dh4,600 return.
The details: Visas are available for 247 Zambian kwacha or US$20 (Dh73) per person on arrival at Livingstone Airport. Single entry into Victoria Falls for international visitors costs 371 kwacha or $30 (Dh110). Microlight flights are available through Batoka Sky, with 15-minute flights costing 2,265 kwacha (Dh680).
Accommodation: The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Hotel by Anantara is an ideal place to stay, within walking distance of the falls and right on the Zambezi River. Rooms here start from 6,635 kwacha (Dh2,398) per night, including breakfast, taxes and Wi-Fi. Water arrivals cost from 587 kwacha (Dh212) per person.


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Moral education needed in a 'rapidly changing world'

Moral education lessons for young people is needed in a rapidly changing world, the head of the programme said.

Alanood Al Kaabi, head of programmes at the Education Affairs Office of the Crown Price Court - Abu Dhabi, said: "The Crown Price Court is fully behind this initiative and have already seen the curriculum succeed in empowering young people and providing them with the necessary tools to succeed in building the future of the nation at all levels.

"Moral education touches on every aspect and subject that children engage in.

"It is not just limited to science or maths but it is involved in all subjects and it is helping children to adapt to integral moral practises.

"The moral education programme has been designed to develop children holistically in a world being rapidly transformed by technology and globalisation."


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The five pillars of Islam

Director: Moe Alatawi

Starring: Ra’ed Alshammari, Adwa Fahd, Muhand Alsaleh

Rating: 3/5

The biog

Name: Younis Al Balooshi

Nationality: Emirati

Education: Doctorate degree in forensic medicine at the University of Bonn

Hobbies: Drawing and reading books about graphic design

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

How to wear a kandura


  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
  • Wear 100 per cent cotton under the kandura as most fabrics are polyester


  • Wear hamdania for work, always wear a ghutra and agal 
  • Buy a kandura only based on how it feels; ask questions about the fabric and understand what you are buying

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now


Name: Telr
Based: Dubai, UAE
Launch year: 2014
Number of employees: 65
Sector: FinTech and payments
Funding: nearly $30 million so far

Company profile

Company name: Nestrom

Started: 2017

Co-founders: Yousef Wadi, Kanaan Manasrah and Shadi Shalabi

Based: Jordan

Sector: Technology

Initial investment: Close to $100,000

Investors: Propeller, 500 Startups, Wamda Capital, Agrimatico, Techstars and some angel investors


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


Director: Ali Abbasi

Starring: Sebastian Stan, Maria Bakalova, Jeremy Strong

Rating: 3/5

Formula 4 Italian Championship 2023 calendar

April 21-23: Imola
May 5-7: Misano
May 26-28: SPA-Francorchamps
June 23-25: Monza
July 21-23: Paul Ricard
Sept 29-Oct 1: Mugello
Oct 13-15: Vallelunga

List of alleged parties

May 15 2020: PM and Carrie attend 'work meeting' with at
least 17 staff members

May 20 2020: PM and Carrie attend 'bring your own booze'

Nov 27 2020: PM gives speech at leaving do for his staff

Dec 10 2020: Staff party held by then-education secretary
Gavin Williamson

Dec 13 2020: PM and Carrie throw a flat party

Dec 14 2020: London mayor candidate Shaun Bailey holds staff party at Conservative
Party headquarters

Dec 15 2020: PM takes part in a staff quiz

Dec 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party

What is Dungeons & Dragons?

Dungeons & Dragons began as an interactive game which would be set up on a table in 1974. One player takes on the role of dungeon master, who directs the game, while the other players each portray a character, determining its species, occupation and moral and ethical outlook. They can choose the character’s abilities, such as strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. In layman’s terms, the winner is the one who amasses the highest score.