UAE Has No Plans To Develop Own Launch Pads For Spaceflights - Space Agency

UAE Has No Plans to Develop Own Launch Pads for Spaceflights - Space Agency

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not planning to construct its own launch pad for spaceflights even though the country has been actively developing its space activities in the recent years, the director general of UAE Space Agency, Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, told Sputnik

MASDAR CITY (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 09th October, 2019) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is not planning to construct its own launch pad for spaceflights even though the country has been actively developing its space activities in the recent years, the director general of UAE Space Agency, Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, told Sputnik.

"No, we don't. Why? Because it is a commodity today. If you look at the launching economy or launching businesses, they are not doing a lot of profit. Because space is hard. There are some incidents. Space is very risky, very costly, takes a lot of time, requires very high skills," Al Ahbabi said when asked whether Abu Dhabi plans to venture into developing its own launch pad.

At the same time, as the first UAE astronaut, Hazzaa Ali Al Mansoori, has recently returned from his mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the country is yet to decide whether it is going to send a another astronaut to space in the near future, according to the executive.

"We are focusing now on Hazzaa Ali Al Mansoori's mission. His science experiments, his return to the country. We have not decided what is the next step ... In the next few months or probably next year, we will learn more and we will see what is the next step. We are learning from this flight; it was the first flight for Hazzaa, but also for us in the space sector.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Research Center is the one managing the human spaceflight program, and they will take the outcome of this mission and it will impact the decision when it comes to the next flight," Al Ahbabi said when asked whether the UAE will follow up Al Mansoori's mission with a new manned spaceflight.

Al Mansoori's eight-day tenure as the first UAE astronaut on the ISS was mainly devoted to conducting scientific experiments, according to the space agency's director general.

"Sixteen science experiments were chosen for Hazzaa to be done. Some of the experiments [were organized by] the UAE universities and organizations, some of the experiments [were performed] on his body as the first astronaut from this part of the world [Middle East]. Because we know that people are different in terms of DNA, and space has some effects on the DNA level," Al Ahbabi noted.

Al Mansoori traveled to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft on September 25. He successfully returned to Earth aboard Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft on October 3.

Abu Dhabi's expansion into the space industry also includes the establishment of the first Arab space collaboration group comprising 11 nations, which was announced in March. As a first venture of the UAE-led initiative, the group plans to build a satellite designed by Arab scientists.

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