DUBAI, 14th February, 2024 (WAM) -- The UAE Space Agency organised the Future of Space Forum on 14th February, on the sidelines of its participation in the 11th World Governments Summit (WGS).

The summit took place in Dubai from 12th to 14th February under the theme “Shaping Future Governments”. This supports the Agency’s vision to highlight the role of the space sector in shaping the future.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency, said, “In a world shaped by unprecedented geopolitical shifts, space is emerging as a vital field for collaboration and innovation.”

Al Amiri added, “Today, there is an urgent need to establish efficient international governance that guarantees the sustainability and safety of space activities. Space is more than just an arena for technological competition, as it constitutes a platform for international cooperation to support the sustainability of human civilization.”

Al Amiri continued, “The UAE has made great strides in space exploration by transforming ambitious ideas into successful space projects that support scientific and development goals. We have utilised new opportunities to enhance our country’s position as a global hub for space innovation and investment in space technology and scientific research.”

Al Amiri noted, “The current challenges represent an opportunity to build a mutual future based on innovation, sustainability, shared responsibility, and working with international partners to ensure the safety and sustainability of the space environment for generations to come.”

Salem Butti Al Qubaisi, Director-General of UAE Space Agency, said, “Bringing together leading space experts, the Future of Space Forum reflects a significant milestone in our vision to discuss current challenges and shape the future of this vital sector.”

Al Qubaisi added, “By organising this forum and similar events, the UAE Space Agency is committed to offering key contributions to support international efforts, the global scientific community, and knowledge exchange in space. The forum focuses on innovation in space technology, space exploration, space security, and the sustainability of space activities to develop innovative solutions and identify new opportunities for growth and development.”

The forum featured a session titled, “Beyond the Sphere of Fiction: The New Frontiers of Science”, with the participation of Atsushi SAIKI, Chief Revenue Officer of iSpace in Japan, Karim Michel Sabbagh, Managing Director of Space42, Dr. Ray Johnson, CEO of TII, and Neil Morisetti, Vice Dean for Public Policy at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences in UCL in the UK. In this session, participants discussed how to transform ideas into tangible space innovations and achievements in space flights, planetary exploration, and the development of international space stations, which in the past were merely ideas.

In the session, “The Potential of the Space Sector in the Middle East", participants discussed the developments in the sector in the Middle East, including current gaps and opportunities. They also discussed achievements such as the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), developing advanced satellites, among others. The session will be attended by Salem Al Qubaisi, Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al-Aseeri, CEO of the National Space Science Agency in Bahrain, Dr. Sherif Mohamed Sedky, CEO of the Egyptian Space Agency, and Dr. Shareef AlRomaithi, CEO of Madari Space.

Furthermore, in “Designing a Mission to the Asteroid Belt”, Mohsen Al Awadhi, Programme Director of the Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt (EMA) and Amer Al Ghafri, Assistant Director-General of Aerospace Space Engineering Sector at Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre provided an overview of the design and management of space missions, the innovative solutions and highly advanced technology used in the missions, and the major risks and high costs associated with sending missions to space.

The session also discussed the UAE’s vision in designing space missions to reflect national ambitions and its commitment to innovation and sustainable development, through projects such as the Emirates Mars Mission, in addition to its focus on scientific research and developing local technological capabilities in cooperation with international partners.

Additionally, the session shed light on the future of space mission design and the fundamental changes that have taken place as a result of Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, autonomous systems, and costs. They also explored developing scientific and engineering skills to be able to work efficiently as this opens horizons for new and innovative applications in space exploration. The session was moderated by Hoor AlMazmi, EMA Science Team Lead.

In a session entitled “24 Hours in the International Space Station”, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori presented a comprehensive overview of life and work in space. They shared their experiences and the challenges they faced during their missions, astronauts’ daily routines, and glimpses of the most inspiring moments they witnessed in space.

The Forum concluded with “The Ripple Effect of Space Exploration on the Next Generation” by Dr. James Green, retired Chief Scientist at NASA. Through this session, Green highlighted the importance of motivating youth and inspiring them to participate in science and technology, and encouraging them to contribute to the future of space exploration.

In her closing remarks, Aartie Holla-Maini, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), stressed the importance of international cooperation to achieve joint scientific progress, knowledge exchange, and innovations that enable humanity to face global challenges and ensure the preservation of resources for future generations.

Holla-Maini discussed space exploration, developing space applications, and promoting education and scientific research in this vital field to open new horizons for human progress. She also addressed the importance of enhancing international law to ensure peaceful use of space, and adopting an integrated approach that reflects responsibility and transparency.

The Future of Space Forum is a unique platform that brings together experts, scientists, policymakers, and decision-makers to exchange ideas and future visions, and offer diverse insights into the realm of space exploration.

The 11th WGS was held from 12th to 14th February 2024, under the theme “Shaping Future Governments”. The summit was attended by heads of state and government officials, more than 85 international and regional organisations, 140 governments, and an elite group of leaders and experts, in the presence of more than 4,000 participants.