UAE launches $816 mln fund to support space sector: President

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The United Arab Emirates has established an $186 million (AED 3 billion) fund to support the space sector, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed announced on Sunday.

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The Space Fund aims to support the establishment of new companies in the sector, to develop the capabilities of the industry in terms of technological development, as well as encourage new national strategic and research projects.

The UAE government also announced the launch of the ‘Sirb’ national project for radar satellites, including an advanced radar satellite constellation. In a first for the UAE, the project aims to provide continuous, around the clock data from space in all weather conditions.

The ‘Sirb’ constellation of SDAR satellites will support advanced imaging applications, including environmental monitoring and analysis, and will be able to capture images day and night without being affected by cloud or fog. This will open up new areas for practical applications such as: the detection of oil spills, tracking and detecting ships, monitoring and detecting crop yields, border control, mapping and developing urban areas, monitoring road traffic, as well as search and rescue planning and management.

“The project will contribute [to the] UAE’s efforts to develop solutions to climate change, environmental sustainability and improved disaster management,” a statement by the UAE Space Agency (carried by the UAE media office), said.

“The platform will contribute to monitoring the changes that occur on the planet due to climate change and help find innovative solutions for environmental sustainability.”

The move makes it the first country in the Middle East to develop a constellation of Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellites.

With plans to explore Venus within seven years and land on an asteroid, in addition to launching a spacecraft into Martian orbit, the UAE already has the Middle East’s most ambitious space program.

The country established a Space Agency in 2014, sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station five years later, and plans to send an unmanned spaceship to the moon in 2024.

With Bloomberg

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