Dubai: A UAE National Space Programme has been launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The programme, which will be executed by young Emirati cadres, was announced on Wednesday during a visit by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC).
The programme includes reaching Mars in 2021 and building first settlement on the Red Planet in 2117.
In a series of tweets, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed said: “We very pleased to launch the UAE National Space Programme which will be implemented by ambitious Emirati cadres”.
Mohammed bin Rashid & Mohamed bin Zayed view plans & projects during a tour of Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai— أخبار محمد بن زايد (@MBZNews) April 12, 2017
محمد بن زايد: نشعر بالفخر والاعتزاز في رؤية كوكبة من شباب الوطن يؤدون دورا محوريا في رسم ملامح مستقبل وطن طموح وارتياد آفاق العلم والمعرفة— أخبار محمد بن زايد (@MBZNews) April 12, 2017
“The UAE is making a new national leading achievement every day on all levels thanks to the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the vision of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid. We are very proud of Emirati youth playing a pivotal role in shaping an ambitious future for their own country and pursuing higher educations in the field of science and knowledge,” Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed tweeted.
The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) is set to launch the Hope spacecraft in July 2020 on a seven-month journey to the Red Planet.
Project Space is held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Shaikh Hamdan is the chairman of MBRSC, organiser of Project Space.
According to the mission’s project manager, Omran Sharaf, the preliminary design review for the project had been completed and they are set for the critical design review phase.
Following the July 2020 launch, UAE's Hope spacecraft should enter into the Martian orbit by early 2021 — the year of the UAE’s 50th independence anniversary — to study the planet’s atmosphere in unprecedented detail.
It will also mark the first time for an Arab or Muslim country to send a spacecraft to Mars.
Sharaf earlier told Gulf News that the mission’s aim is not restricted to scientific discovery alone.
“His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] mentioned on several occasions that this mission is not about reaching Mars," said Sharaf.
"It’s beyond that…It’s about taking the whole [Arab] region and making them [Arabs] active in generating knowledge.”