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UAE Leads The Way



The 'Arab Space Cooperation Group' includes partnership between the UAE and 10 other Arab countries.

The UAE has launched a regional space collaboration programme that aims to empower the Arab world in the global space industry.

The 'Arab Space Cooperation Group' includes partnership between the UAE and 10 other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan and Kuwait.

The programme will involve exchange of knowledge and working on joint projects, ultimately boosting the Arab space industry.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the group during the inaugural day of the Global Space Congress, which is being held in Abu Dhabi until March 21. Representatives from the 10 countries joined Sheikh Mohammed on stage for a group photo.

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"During the opening of the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi, we attended the launch of the first Arab space coordination group that includes 11 countries. The group's first project will be a satellite built by Arab scientists in the UAE. I personally believe in Arab talents," Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

The satellite will be called '813' and has been given that name to highlight an important year in the Arab history.

"We called the new satellite "813" in reference to the date that marked the beginning of prosperity for the House of Wisdom in Baghdad under the reign of Al Ma'mun. Resembling our region, the House embraced scientists, translated notable texts and produced scientific capabilities," Sheikh Mohammed said in a tweet.

The satellite will be built by engineers and scientists from all 11 countries in the group. It will aim to tackle climate and environmental issues in the Arab world and other parts of the globe, according to Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director-general of the UAE Space Agency.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the event, Dr Al Ahbabi said: "It will help the environmental agencies, urban planning and monitor the atmosphere for CO2. A total 11 countries are involved, this means that we have opened the doors for cooperation and we are serious about it. It's great to bring Arabs together, work together, share knowledge and design the future together. Space is all about cooperation.

He said that the satellite will be built and launched in three years of time.

The significance of 813

The first satellite to be built by the Arab space coordination group including 11 countries in the UAE will be named 813. According to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the name denotes a special year for the Arab world.

"We called the new satellite "813" in reference to the date that marked the beginning of prosperity for the House of Wisdom in Baghdad under the reign of Al Ma'mun," he said.

House of Wisdom was a centre of learning in the medieval world. Started as a library, it became the home of ancient and modern wisdom during the Islamic Golden Age, preserving important works of scholarship from across Europe and the Middle East.

The prosperity of the House reached its peak from the year 813, when Al Ma'mun came into power.

- sarwat@khaleejtimes.com

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