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The agreements were signed by Salem Humaid AlMarri and Philippe Baptiste, in the presence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Catherine Colonna. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Three agreements were signed on Tuesday between the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and France’s National Center for Space Studies (CNES) during the state visit of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to France.

One of the three agreements was a memorandum of understanding (MoU), seeking to strengthen cooperation between UAE and France in the field of lunar exploration. There were also two letters of intents, seeking to establish a joint working group to oversee new Earth observation missions, and another one outlining prospects for future collaboration on manned space missions and conducting new experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The agreements were signed by Salem Humaid AlMarri, the MBRSC director-general, and Philippe Baptiste, the CEO of CNES. The signing was held in the presence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Catherine Colonna, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Strategic importance

AlMarri said: “The strategic importance of the agreements lies in the fact that they include a wide range of space mission aspects, which will enable us to achieve various goals. Cooperation in the field of lunar exploration and human space missions opens up new opportunities and provides valuable data that contribute to the ultimate goal of humans being able to prosper outside the planet Earth in the future.”

He added: “As for cooperation on Earth observation initiatives, the aim is to achieve common global goals to combat climate change and preserve the environment,” he added. AlMarri noted the recent agreements “come as an extension of the cooperation that brings the UAE together with France in the field of space exploration”.

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Rashid Rover

In a statement, MBRSC said: “It is worth noting that the MBRSC and CNES each have their own programmes for Earth observation, and they have previously worked on developing satellites for various purposes and they also pay special attention to monitoring the environment and climate change. The two centres are currently cooperating on the development of the Rashid Rover, which will be the first Arab mission to the surface of the Moon, landing in an unexplored area and providing valuable scientific data to the global scientific community.”