Meet Omran Sharaf: The man behind UAE’s Hope Probe
Omran Sharaf has been elected as the Director of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The UAE — an established space power — has been chosen to lead the United Nations committee working to promote the peaceful use of outer space.

The decision comes as no surprise given the country’s sustained focus on space. The UAE continues to invest in its people and resources when it comes to outer space.

The vision to go to Mars was laid back in 2006, with the UAE establishing a knowledge transfer programme to achieve the feat. Once accomplished, the UAE will be among the first nations in the world to study and send manned missions to the Red Planet in future.

Currently, the UAE’s elevation to the chair of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, with Omran Sharaf — the Emirati engineer who led the successful Mars mission — serving as the committee’s director for 2022 and next year, is an acknowledgement of the nation’s innovation and ambition.

The committee, in operation since 1959, is one of the largest at the UN. With 100 member states, it plays a key role in peaceful uses of space, encouraging international cooperation and recommending laws and policies that support space exploration.

Notable contributions to the space sector

Hailing UAE’e election to the chair of the august body, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said he was proud of Omran Sharaf. “The UAE continues to make notable contributions to the space sector and we wish Omran every success in his new role,” he said.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai expressed his happiness over the UAE’s achievement and remarked that the country’s youth have reached space, leading global issues and running international institutions.

Thanks to the leadership’s vision, the UAE has indeed come a long way to become a top global votary on space safety for all mankind.

With a vision to strengthen space and science diplomacy, the UAE aims to encourage peaceful access to space for all countries, and ensure member states’ compliance with international legal frameworks.

As a leading voice that encourages knowledge transfer programmes among member states — in line with international law — the UAE will continue to ensure that it upholds those values during its tenure as the chair of the space committee.

The country’s quest to benefit humans while making life easier here on earth, continues.