UAE decides to start space program

Gulf state seeks to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2021.

September 7, 2014 18:45
1 minute read.

Mars as seen from Hubble telescope. (photo credit: REUTERS)

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan signed a law establishing the UAE Space Agency, the Abu Dhabi based government-owned daily The National reported Sunday.

The Gulf state announced in July that its goal will be to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2021. The law states that the agency would have its headquarters in Abu Dhabi with a branch in Dubai.

Vice President and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum chaired a meeting in July that called on all government institutions to provide maximum support to the new program.

The unmanned mission is to be launched in time for the country’s 50th year of independence.

“We aim for the UAE to be among the top countries in aerospace by 2021,” Sheikh Khalifa said, according to the report.

“We have a great belief in the talents of our young people and the strongest determination, the greatest ambitions and a clear plan to reach our targets,” he added.

UAE has a population of more than 5.6 million, according to the CIA World Factbook. OPEC member UAE, a key Western ally, is a major oil exporter and a regional financial, trade and tourism hub.

The country has used its formidable foreign currency reserves to back the military rulers of Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood opposition.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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