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Dubai, United Arab Emirates:– In a move to help further consolidate the UAE’s grand aerospace ambitions and take civil aviation to newer heights, Dubai Air Navigation Services (dans) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for exploring satellite technology enablers following the ICAO’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs) framework for the modernization and enhancement of the Aerospace Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Infrastructure.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of dans, said “This MoU endorses the UAE as the leading country for the advancements in aerospace and air traffic management domains. In the long run, this deal goes towards achieving the vision of making Dubai ‘The World Airport’. The rise of the UAE, in particular Dubai, as an ever-advancing global aviation hub connecting East and West is all about our ambitions for and in the future of air travel. I am certain that this agreement is a significant step towards enhancing our aeronautical infrastructure and contributing to the elevation of global standards, as well as strengthening our technical efficacy and air traffic management resilience. So, a well-thought-out plan and a number of initiatives will be carried out across the whole "value chain" of aviation.
Commenting on the partnership, H.E. Hamad Obaid AlMansoori, Chairman, MBRSC, stated, “The potential for innovative space applications is enormous, and we remain committed to transforming the UAE's space sector and developing national capabilities. We have demonstrated that space technology and research can generate a wide range of economic benefits and fuel growth in a variety of industries, including aviation. We hope with the signing of the MOU with dans, we will be able to further contribute and accelerate progress in aerospace and air traffic management capability by leveraging and benefiting from our satellite operations in terms of technology and real-time knowledge.”
With His Highness Sheikh Ahmed overseeing the partnership progressing, senior officials from both organizations got together to ink a deal. Details about the agreement were unveiled at the MoU signing in Dubai by His Excellency Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Director-General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and Seconded CEO of dans, and His Excellency Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director-General of MBRSC, in the presence of His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman of MBRSC and Ibrahim Ahli, Deputy CEO of dans. Also present were dans and MBRSC executives and number of executives from both entities.
dans is the sole ANSP for four airports, including DXB, the world’s top airport for international travelers which had handled over 1.115 billion passengers on more than 7.47 million flights since its start in 1960. MBRSC is the government organization behind space satellite projects like the Emirates Mars Mission, Emirates Lunar Mission and the UAE astronaut programme. dans has been in the forefront and took several innovative projects in the air traffic navigation domain. In March 2022, Dubai acquired an advanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) system, TopSky, to further enhance the capacity, safety and efficiency of air navigation services at the DXB.
The latest collaboration is designed for exploring the satellite technology enablers following the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBUs) framework for the modernization and enhancement of the Aerospace Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Infrastructure. Both organizations will work jointly to upgrade the horizons of cooperation between them through the exchange of practical experiences and the development of human resources to facilitate the MoU’s implementation. They will also cooperate in all fields, activities and systems for data linkage to serve the general interest of the UAE, one of the world’s most vibrant economies and knowledge and technology hubs.
According to the 18-Article MoU, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre and Dubai Air Navigation Services expressed to cooperate and exchange data and information in the Satellite Technology domain for the Next-Generation of aviation in the region. They are keen to set up an organizational framework for cooperation between them.
They also agreed to work together to upgrade their horizons of cooperation through the exchange of practical experiences and the development of human resources to facilitate the implementation of the MoU. They will also cooperate in all fields, activities and systems for data linkage to serve the UAE’s general interest. Both organizations will study the possibility of technical cooperation between them. The MoU will remain valid for five years and will be renewed by both parties after mutual agreement.
The UAE has emerged as one of the leading space powers in West Asia. The UAE became only the fifth nation – after the US, Russia, China and India – to reach Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, and only the second to succeed on the first attempt after India. Founded in 2006, MBRSC started developing their capabilities in the field of space and has undertaken the tasks of building, developing, and operating several Earth observation satellites, providing imaging services, analyzing and studying them, as well as producing relevant data for scientific communities and research centres around the world.
In 2006, MBRSC was entrusted with the development of the UAE’s first satellite and a team of Emirati engineers was deployed to South Korea as part of a knowledge transfer programme. Working with South Korean experts, the MBRSC satellite engineers designed and manufactured the country’s first nanosatellite, Nayif-1 as well as its first two observation satellites, DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, which were launched in 2009 and 2013, respectively.
In October 2018, the launch of the first 100 per cent UAE-designed and manufactured Earth observation satellite, the highly sophisticated KhalifaSat, was celebrated as a historical milestone. KhalifaSat cemented the country’s position amongst the world’s leading space technology manufacturers and its role in actively contributing valuable satellite imaging data to human progress. It has revealed its plan to develop the new satellite MBZ-SAT, which is expected to be launched in 2024 and to be the latest in the field of high-resolution imaging from outer space. MBRSC provides high-resolution satellite images for government and commercial use in various applications.
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