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UAE establishes $817m fund to support space sector

Outer Space, Universe, Space WAM
The Emirates Mars Mission ‘Hope Probe’ circled Mars’ orbit from December 2021 to February 2022

The UAE on Sunday launched a three billion UAE dirham ($816.84 million) fund to support its space programme and a new initiative to develop radar satellites, the Gulf country’s president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said on Twitter.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed, meanwhile, said the fund aims to supporting the establishment of national companies in the space sector and boost national strategic and research projects. ($1 = 3.6727 UAE dirham)

Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “A long-term plan and programme for the development of the Emirates’ space sector is in place to create economic opportunities, new jobs and help to fund global partnerships and new leaders in technology, space sciences and engineering here in the UAE.

“We are planning for a bright future filled with new challenges and openings for our young people – and this fund is precisely targeted at building opportunities for international co-operation in building Emirati enterprises.”

The fund’s first investment will be in the development and launch of a constellation of advanced imaging satellites for the Emirates, using the SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology. The constellation is to be named Sirb after the Arabic term for a flock of birds, and will address the critical need for better environmental and land usage monitoring, data collection and analysis to meet today’s global challenges.