US, UAE agree deal to move forward on space co-operation
Early discussions focus on policy, regulation, sustainability
The US and the UAE have agreed to work toward greater civil and national-security space co-operation after officials from the two countries met in Washington this week, the US State Department has announced.
Initial discussions focused on space policy and regulatory developments, long-term sustainability of space activities, space security, space exploration, bilateral space science co-operation, weather monitoring, the use of satellite-based applications, and exchanges of best practices, a statement said.
Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said: "They agreed on developing a strategic approach that would focus on building mutual confidence and understanding of space systems on which both countries rely for economic, environmental, security and social well-being."
The move comes months after the UAE announced it had entered the space race with a project to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021.
A new UAE Space Agency has been created to co-ordinate the country's growing space technology sector and to supervise the mission.
The probe will take nine months to make the more than 60m-km journey to Mars and will mark the UAE out as one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet.
The project aims to develop Emirati human capital and boost the space technology industry as a sustainable driver of the UAE's increasingly diversified economy.
Areas of future conversations and collaboration between the US and the UAE may focus on important uses of satellite-based data and value-added applications such as: land and sea resource management; space situational awareness; earth observation; climate-change research; meteorology; positioning, navigation and timing; satellite communications; early warning; Earth observation; space weather monitoring and opportunities for early discussions on new systems and future space-related missions.
Additionally, discussions may explore opportunities for fair and open global trade and commerce for commercial space systems, ground-based capabilities, and managing the space environment to contribute to space flight safety by reducing the risks of collisions and damage by space debris.
Relevant agencies from the US and UAE will consult periodically to continue discussions on current and future space co-operation.